Unlimited: Grafted In
May 29, 2023 246
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 (Romans 11:17–18a).
In the Old Testament, God used the image of an olive tree to represent God’s people, while the farmer represented God (Jer. 11:16–17.) God had planted the nation of Israel as a fruitful olive tree, and lovingly tended it. He warned the nation that he would cut them down if they broke his covenant with them and went off to worship other gods. Paul now uses this imagery to extend the lesson to the Gentiles as well.
The carefully cultivated olive tree represents the nation of Israel, prepared so that it may bear much fruit. The wild olive tree, with its small and dry fruit, represents the Gentiles.
They have been grafted in and are now part of God’s people too.
Some of the branches of the cultivated olive tree have been broken off. These are those among the Jewish people who have not believed in Jesus. As a result, now the Gentiles, represented by the wild olive shoot have been grafted in, into the rootstock, among the cultivated, natural branches. They now share the same “nourishing sap” from the source that nourished the Jewish people. They are now part of God’s people too.
The lesson here is that we should not consider ourselves to be superior to “other branches” of faith. This is challenging for us, because people will usually join a particular church because they consider it to be “better” than another.
Search your attitudes carefully. In what ways do you consider that your Christian group is better than other Christian groups? How does that impact your decisions and relationships? Is there anything here for which you need to repent?