When Jesus sent out the apostles to preach and cure, he told them not to enter any Samaritan town. He told them, rather, to go only t the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Jesus showed a similar preference when a lady from Lebanon asked him to cure her daughter. That time he said he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. He said he could not give the children’s bread to dogs.
When I was teaching the Gospel of Matthew to the Seventh Grade I asked the students for their opinions after each chapter we studied. After the tenth Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, I asked them if it was right for Jesus to attend only to the Jews. Two thirds of the students, not afraid of saying they knew more than Jesus, said it was wrong for him not to go out to other people.
To understand why Jesus at that time did not go out to the Gentiles, we might check with that famous Chapter Three of the Book of Ecclesiastes.
There is an appointed time for everything: a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to scatter, and a time to gather; a time to embrace, and a time when the embracing must stop.”
It is not enough for us to do what God wants. We must do it at the time he wants it done. Apropos of that line about there being a time for embracing, and a time when embracing must stop, we have this poem of Robert Burns, the great Scot poet. 250 years ago he wrote:
John Anderson, my jo, John, we clamb the hill togither;
There were many a canty day we’ve had wi’ one anither.
But now, we maun go down, John; and hand in hand we’ll go,
And sleep togither at the foot, John Anderson, my jo.