“Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so”
(Traditional, Words by Anna B. Warner)
Most Christians assume Jesus had affection for anyone who accepted him; that he had a personal interest in each and every individual. I think they seriously misunderstand their main man. Jesus did not love gentiles (who he referred to as pagans). He told his disciples:
“Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6, NJB).
When discussing his own mission, he said:
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” (Matt. 15:24, NJB). He explicitly touted twice that his testimony was only for Jews!
He forbade his fellow Jews to pray like pagans:
“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:7–8, NJB).
Here is Jesus’ encounter with a Greek (i.e., non-Jewish) woman:
“He left that place and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not pass unrecognized. A woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him straight away and came and fell at his feet. Now the woman was pagan, by birth a Syrophonecian and she begged him to cast the devil out of her daughter and he said to her ‘the children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house dogs’. But she spoke up ‘Ah yes sir’ she replied ‘but the house dogs under the table can eat the children’s scraps’. And he said to her ‘for saying this, you may go home happy; the devil has gone out of your daughter’. So she went off to her home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone” (Mark 7:24–30, NJB).
This passage is worth careful consideration. Jesus was drawing an analogy. The children were the Jews, who were to be fed first. The dogs were the gentiles (when Jews wished to insult someone they often referred to them as dogs), whom he would rather not help. Jesus hesitated before healing the girl because her mother wasn’t Jewish.
Caesaria was the capital of Judea and Sepphoris the capital of Galilee, yet there is no record that Jesus ever preached in either, despite their size and importance, I think because they were populated almost entirely by gentiles.
He could have taken his mission outside Palestine; Egyptians, Greeks, Africans, and Romans might have benefited from his words of wisdom, yet he didn’t bother with them either, as they too were gentile territories.
Clearly, Jesus was xenophobic, which is not surprising if he was a sectarian Jewish insurrectionist trying to start a war. Preaching to gentiles was the last thing on his mind.
There are quotes portraying him as a preacher for all people. Interpolators have added these to give him universal appeal, yet they can’t compensate for his bigotry elsewhere.