Paul’s Prayer for the Jews
(1) My brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God is for the salvation of the Israelites. (2) For I can testify that they have a zeal for God, but their zeal is not based on the knowledge of God’s righteousness.
(3) Since the Israelites did not understand the righteousness of God and tried to earn their own righteousness, they refused to submit to God’s righteousness. (4) Jesus Christ is the fulfillment (culmination) of the law of Moses so that God’s righteousness is freely available to everyone who believes.
Confess and Believe
(5) Moses writes this about the righteousness that is based on the law of Moses in Leviticus 18:5, “The person who does these things will live by them.” (6) But God’s righteousness that is by faith is written about in Deuteronomy 30:12, which says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ”—meaning to bring Jesus down from heaven—(7) and in Deuteronomy 30:13, “Who will descend into the deep?”—meaning to raise Jesus from the dead. (8) But what does the law say? In Deuteronomy 30:14 it says, “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the message of faith that we proclaim: (9) If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved!
(10) For it is with your heart that you believe and are made right with God (declared righteous, justified), and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (11) As it is written in Isaiah 28:16, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (12) For there is no difference between Jews and non-Jews in God’s sight—the same Lord is Lord of all, and he abundantly blesses everyone who calls on him, (13) because as it is written in Joel 2:32, “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”
Jews Reject the Good News
(14) Therefore, some will ask me these questions: “How then can people call on Jesus Christ in whom they have not believed?” “And how can they believe in Jesus Christ of whom they have not heard?” “And how can they hear the gospel (good news) without someone preaching to them?” (15) “And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?” As it is written in Isaiah 52:7, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (16) But not all the Israelites accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ. For as it is written in Isaiah 53:1, “Lord, who has believed our message?” (17) Therefore, faith comes from hearing the gospel message, and the gospel message is heard through the word about Jesus Christ. (18) But I ask you: Did the Jews hear the message of Jesus Christ? Absolutely they did! As it says in Psalm 19:4, “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
(19) Again I ask: Did Israel not understand the message? No, they did not. Moses says in Deuteronomy 32:21, “I will make you jealous by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.” (20) And as it is written in Isaiah 65:1, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.” (21) But concerning Israel, Isaiah 65:2 says, “All day long, I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”