The Gospel is the good news. That God became human and died so that we could be reunited to him. The Jews stumbled at Jesus. They couldn’t see the goodness in the Gospel message. But not all of the Jews rejected Jesus.
I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. Romans 11:1
Paul knew that God had not rejected his people. Why? Because Paul himself was a Jew and Jesus interceded in his life. God was working in Paul’s life. And Paul’s Jewishness actually benefitted the churches he planted.
6 And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6
There is a remnant of Jews that believed the Gospel message. They followed Jesus. Like Paul, this remnant was accepted because of grace. The greek word “Charis” means favor or kindness or grace. That means these Jews that follow Jesus are not accepted because of their Jewishness or the temple or circumcision, but because of God’s kindness or grace. So are we! We are not saved by our denomination or our christian friends, but by grace.
11 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. 12 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! Romans 11:11-12
Why do we know Jesus? Because God decided to allow his people to stumble. This message caught fire and has spread almost across the whole world. People in every continent know about Jesus. Why? So that Israel may be envious and seek God. And if they seek God, there will be spiritual fullness in the Church.
18 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. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Romans 11:18-21
Do not become arrogant of your acceptance by God through Jesus. But thank God that he has allowed us a way to restore our relationship with him.
God is working all things together for his glory. A time is coming when he will set things straight for Jews and Gentiles alike. The Roman church was made of Jews and Gentiles that need help understanding God’s relationship with the Jewish nation. Does God just cast away his people. If so, the Roman Church could be cast away quickly.
Rather, Paul states that God has a plan in place. And nothing is outside of his control, not even disobedience. To God be the glory.
Paul was using his personal life as proof that God had not rejected all of Israel. Our personal lives tell stories that tell us more about God. Think back about your story. What does your story tell us about God’s character?
Who are God’s people? This was such a difficult question as Paul was writing this letter. Was it someone that worshipped in the temple or circumcised. Or was it someone that decided to follow Jesus. What causes tension with the question, “Who are God’s people?” in the modern world?
Paul is suggesting that God has plans that are difficult for us to understand. As a parent, I have the same experience. My children can not see or understand all the facets of adulthood. What are ways that God asks us to trust that he has our best interest in mind?
Paul again has such a desire for his people, the nation of Israel. He sees that God is a God of enduring love. He wants the Church in Rome to understand the tension that lies with a God that appears to have rejected his people. Paul wants them and us to know that God will not turn his back on them or us. That he is faithful and good.