Roots and Branches
Loving Lord, what a true and faithful God You are. You always keep Your great promises to me.
Read Romans 11:11-24
 Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.  But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!  I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry  in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.  For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.  If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,  do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.  You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”  Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.  Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.  And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow might Paul's ministry to the Gentiles impact the Jews?
I once gave my brother a baby olive tree for his birthday. Sadly, by his next birthday it was a dead twig. That olive tree might have had a short life, but there are olive trees out there that are thousands of years old, still yielding weighty crops. The olive tree is an apt metaphor for Paul to develop. God’s plan for the rescue of his world still grows from the roots of his promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:2,3). We are still seeing the outworking of this plan. He has blessed the whole world through the nation of Israel and the intention is that the freedom from the law that the Gentiles enjoy through grace will eventually make the Jews jealous and bring them back to God (11:11,23,24). In the meantime, we must all be mindful of both the kindness and the sternness of the Lord (11:22). What do you have in place in your life to help you “continue in God’s kindness” (11:22)? Are you a part of a community of faith? What spiritual disciplines do you practice? To whom are you accountable in your life of faith?
Is there anything more you could do to nurture your growth in godliness? Thank God for including you among his people.
Lord Jesus, You sacrificed Your all for me and Your followers. Strengthen my hope so that I can share it with others.