Did the Lost Sheep of Israel Speak Greek?
To the people of the Jewish Messiah in 1st century Israel who were awaiting the coming of the Anointed One, He was known as Yeshua, a very popular name in His time. A name with a very important meaning.
With thousands of years of history as His backdrop, Yahweh God had finally sent His Messiah to the children of Abraham to whom He had been promised. But just as that history had recorded, Messiah wasn't coming only for Israel, but to bless all peoples.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
I will curse those who treat you with contempt,
and all the peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.
He would come first for Israel, yes, but He was also coming for the Gentiles. As the Lord Jesus Himself said in His conversation with a non-Jew He had gone miles out of His way to meet:
22 "You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews.
23 But an hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship Him."
So what does all of this have to do with the Israelites speaking Greek?
Because the Greek Empire had conquered most of the region over 300 years prior to the coming of The Christ, many Jews had become fluent in Greek, as archaeologists are finding out today. Gravestones from that era inscribed in Greek and even Greek graffiti have been found in the Holy Land, indicating not only that use of the language was widespread, but that the Jewry of the time was much more literate than earlier thought.
But that facility with Greek is also what enabled the first disciples of the Jewish Messiah to take His Gospel to the four corners of the earth. Alexander's conquest of much of the known world, an empire which itself had been foretold by the prophet Daniel, resulted in the establishment of Greek as the lingua franca. And this is what led to God's usage of Greek to reach as many with His Good News as possible.
As Yeshua's apostles and disciples took His Message to the ends of the earth, making disciples of all nations just as He had commanded, Israel's Messiah became known far and wide as Iesous in Greek, then Iesus in Latin until many hundreds of years later when "Iesus" became the English "Jesus."
Had the Lord intended to reach only the Jews with His Gospel, then He would have had His disciples write the New Testament in Aramaic, which most Jews of His day could speak. Instead, He inspired them to write it in the one tongue that would guarantee that the message went far and wide as quickly as possible.
This is all perfectly in keeping with these immortal words from the Gospel of John (italics mine):
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Jesus is Lord!
What Languages Did Jesus Speak?
Did Messiah Come Only for the Lost Sheep of Israel? (Lost Sheep Series)
Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (Lost Sheep Series)
The Chosen People Chosen to Bless All People (Lost Sheep Series)
at May 07, 2018
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