Karl Barth preaches on the Jewishness of Jesus

Christ belonged to the people of Israel. That people’s blood was, in his veins, the blood of the Son of God. That people’s character he has accepted by taking on being human, not for the sake of that people or of the superiority of its blood and its race, but for the truth, i.e. for the proof of the truthfulness, the faithfulness, of God. … Jesus Christ has been a Jew. He has himself once said of himself: To the lost sheep from the house of Israel and to them alone is he sent (Matt 15:24; cf. 10:5–6). For us who are not Israel, that means a closed door. 

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If it is now, after all, open, if Christ now after all also belongs to us, and we, to him, that must surely say once again in a special sense: “Christ has welcomed us to the praise of God.” We are reminded that that is the case by the existence of the Jewish people right up to this day. …

The Jew reminds us that it is something special, new and wonderful, if we are now, despite all that, “no longer guests and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household” (Eph 2:19). … The Jew, in his so puzzlingly strange, and equally puzzlingly indestructible, existence in the midst of all other peoples, is the living proof that God is free to choose whom he will, that he does not owe it to us to choose us, too, that it is grace, when he does also choose us. … Jesus Christ was a Jew. But by his bearing and taking away, in the sin of the Jews, the sin of the whole world and our sin, too [cf. John 1:29], salvation has come from the Jews to us also.

This article is from Christian History magazine #121 Faith in the Foxholes. Read it in context here!

By Karl Barth

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #121 in 2017]

Karl Barth, sermon on Romans 15:5–13, December 10, 1933. Translated by John Michael Owen. Reprinted by permission of Colloquium.
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