Sunday 25 June, 2017

Romans 11:11-24

11 Again, here is what I ask. The Israelites didn’t trip and fall once and for all time, did they? Not at all! Because Israel sinned, the Gentiles can be saved. That will make Israel jealous of them. 12 Israel’s sin brought riches to the world. Their loss brings riches to the Gentiles. So then 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 Gentiles. So I take pride in the work I do for God and others. 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, but tremble. 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!

Christianity has its roots in Judaism there is no doubt.  Paul reminds us that Christianity originated as a sect of Judaism and that we dare not become presumptuous or arrogant about the origins or practice of our faith, as if the Jews have no part in God’s plan of Salvation.  Clearly salvation came through Jesus, a Jew.  SO what of now if so many Jews continue to look for a Messiah who we know has already come.  We are not to ‘look down our noses at them’, we are not to pity them.  We need to recognise that we are grafted into their tree and be thankful as a result.

Religious arrogance has been a continuing problem for many over the years.  It has caused war and division all too often.  As Christians we are called to reach out with love to all, including all of differing faith contexts.  We are to do so without arrogance but with an appeal to Christ.  We are to reach out to people with gentleness and respect, love acceptance and forgiveness.

Father, help us to always reach out to others, of any context, including others of differing faiths with gentleness and respect.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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