Advent 2 Thursday
“But I say that Jesus Christ was a servant of the circumcision for the sake of God’s truthfulness, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, but that the Gentiles praise God for the sake of his mercy, as it is written.”
Paul just stated that each should receive the other in God’s honor, according to Christ’s example. Paul eliminated all distinctions in Christ’s people: between saints and sinners; between the strong and the weak, between the rich and the poor. For they all have one thing, one set of possessions in Christ who brings about one heart, one courage, one mind, one mouth, and all possessions in common, be they spiritual or temporal, not matter how different they may be. Now Paul goes on and grounds this in powerful verses from Scripture. In this way, he eliminates all causes of disunity also by means of Scripture, placing himself between Jews and Gentiles as an umpire and mediator, as if he wanted to say:
“You Jews cannot reject the Gentiles even though they do not eat and drink with you according to your custom; for they have the same Christ you have, as Scripture proclaimed in advance. Likewise, you Gentiles cannot despise the Jews even though they eat and drink in their customary manner; for they have the same Christ promised to them in Scripture. Thus, since Scripture makes Christ common and gathers both Jews and Gentiles under him and since no one has anything outside of Christ and since everyone has everything in Christ–why do you want to argue, judge, and divide yourselves instead of receiving one another kindly, just as Christ received you? No one, after all, has any advantage before the other: why do you want to argue and divide over food, drink, clothes, days, places, gestures, and similar
things that do not matter because they are temporal things outside of Christ who do not advance this cause? Therefore, let those who want it be free in these matters. Yet if someone is weak in the faith and not free yet, put up with him and bear him until he becomes strong, considering that you do not lose anything by doing so because you have the whole Christ completely”…͞”Jesus Christ was a servant of the circumcision” means that he was a preacher, teacher, apostle, messenger sent by God to the Jewish people. For Jesus never preached to the Gentiles; he was never sent to them, but only to the Jews. Yet this was not due to their merit, but, as he says here, “for the sake of God’s truthfulness.” Which truth is he talking about? God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that Christ should be born from their offspring, Genesis 22:18; 26:4; 28:14. Now, so that God would be found truthful in his promising, Christ came according to that promise. And thus God’s truth is found: He keeps what he promises…This is why the Jews do not have Christ only out of the grace of the promise but also out of the truth of God that was to fulfill his promises. Yet the Gentiles have neither the grace of the promise nor the truth of the fulfillment, but the pure naked, unexpected, surprising mercy Christ gives them, without any promising, without any duty of fulfilling God’s truth. Yet since Scripture proclaimed that the Gentiles should obtain Christ without any promising, without any waiting and expecting, this same Scripture must also be fulfilled. Thus, no party has an advantage; rather, Christ is given to the Jews out of divine promise and truth, but to the Gentiles out of pure unexpected mercy…Now, since Christ has become common to all, Jews and Gentiles (although for different reasons), they should also become common to each other, receive one another, bear one another’s burdens, put up with each other’s frailties, without any distinction of outward persons, names, stations in life, and what other differences there might be.
St. Louis ed., 12:45-49