11 Again, here is what I ask. They didn’t trip and fall once and for all time, did they? Not at all! Because Israel sinned, those who aren’t Jews can be saved. That will make Israel jealous of them. 12 Israel’s sin brought riches to the world. Their loss brought riches to the non-Jews. What greater riches will come when all Israel turns to God! 13 I am talking to you who are not Jews. I am the apostle to the non-Jews. So I think the work I do for God and others is very important. 14 I hope somehow to stir up my own people to want what you have. Perhaps I can save some of them. 15 When they were not accepted, it became possible for the whole world to be brought back to God. So what will happen when they are accepted? It will be like life from the dead. 16 The first handful of dough that is offered is holy. This makes all of the dough holy. If the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 Some of the natural branches have been broken off. You are a wild olive branch. But you have been joined to the tree with the other branches. Now you enjoy the life-giving sap of the olive tree root. 18 So don’t think you are better than the other branches. Remember, you don’t give life to the root. The root gives life to you. 19 You will say, “Some branches were broken off so that I could be joined to the tree.” 20 That’s true. But they were broken off because they didn’t believe. You stand only because you do believe. So don’t be proud. Be afraid. 21 God didn’t spare the natural branches. He won’t spare you either. 22 Think about how kind God is! Also think about how firm he is! He was hard on those who stopped following him. But he is kind to you. So you must continue to live in his kindness. If you don’t, you also will be cut off. 23 If the people of Israel do not continue in their unbelief, they will again be joined to the tree. God is able to join them to the tree again. 24 After all, weren’t you cut from a wild olive tree? Weren’t you joined to an olive tree that was taken care of? And wasn’t that the opposite of how things should be done? How much more easily will the natural branches be joined to their own olive tree!
Paul is busy talking to a church made up of both Jews & Gentiles. He is using an example familiar to his readers – grafting olive trees. The root being the Jews & the grafted in branches being the Gentiles. He is reminding the Gentiles in the church that they are only there because of their faith in Jesus – they are not superior to the Jewish believers or unbelievers in any way. Both Jewish and Gentile believers are only in the church because of their faith in Jesus. Both can be pruned because of unbelief and both can be ‘grafted’ in through faith in Jesus.
For me this is a reminder that God’s Kingdom is for ALL – the only thing that counts is our personal faith in Jesus – no matter what our cultural background.
Written by Suzie Hodgson