A WILD OLIVE SHOOT

Scripture Reading: Romans 11:11-24

“But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the same nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” (Romans 11:17,18)

Paul is using the imagery of a tree to describe how the Gentiles were grafted into the redemptive plan of God. The tree represents the true people of God. Some of the branches were broken off. These broken off branches refer to the Jews who did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Because of their unbelief, they were removed. By their transgression of rejecting the gospel, salvation has now come to the Gentiles, who are called “a wild olive shoot.” They are called this because they were grafted in among the faithful remnant of the Jewish believers. The Gentiles now partake of the rich root of the live tree — the history and heritage of the Old Testament.

Let me try to simplify my understanding of this passage in light of the Church. The rich root of the olive tree is the heritage of the redemptive work of God throughout the Old Testament. The branches that remained on the tree were the Jews who believed that Jesus is the Messiah. The will olive shoot that was grafted in is the Gentile who came to faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul then makes the point — “Do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root but the root supports you…So do not become proud, but stand in awe” (v. 18,20b). We Gentiles must always remember that our spiritual roots go back to the Jewish people.

Lord God, thank You for grafting me into the tree of Your redemptive work. Let me never forget that my spiritual heritage has its roots in the family of Abraham. Give me a heart for Jewish people and the opportunity to reach out to them.

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