Acts 11.19-26; Psalm 86; John 10.22-30
Most observers of the first generation of Christians saw this “way” as just another of the sects of Judaism. All of Jesus’ disciples were Jews, and, apart from his few forays into Samaritan territory, most of those Jesus encountered during his earthly life were Jewish. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel” [Matthew 15.24] Jesus himself declared, and admonished his disciples “Do not turn your steps to pagan territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” [Matthew 10.5-6]
Nevertheless, after the resurrection, he gives a fresh instruction: “Go, make disciples of all the nations.” [Matthew 28.19] And very early in the growth of the nascent church disciples began preaching to Gentiles, proclaiming the Good News of the Lord Jesus to them as well. For the subsequent history of the Church these new disciples were to be central, as Babylon and Egypt, Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia and men and women from the far reaches of the earth came to recognise themselves as sheep that belong to Christ Jesus, listening to His voice.