Reading through Romans
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory. You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.
A reading from Romans: Romans 11:11-16 (NLT)
Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.
I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles have, so I might save some of them. For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! And since Abraham and the other patriarchs were holy, their descendants will also be holy — just as the entire batch of dough is holy because the portion given as an offering is holy. For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.
Reflection: Romans 11:11-16 (John Stott, The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World)
The plan of God for Jews and Gentiles: (Romans 9–11)
The dominant theme [of these three chapters] is Jewish unbelief, together with the problems which it raised…. Each chapter handles a different aspect of God’s relation to Israel, past, present and future:
- Israel’s fall (9: 1– 33): God’s purpose of election
- Israel’s fault (10: 1– 21): God’s dismay over her disobedience
- Israel’s future (11: 1– 32): God’s long-term design
- Doxology (11: 33– 36): God’s wisdom and generosity
Israel’s future: God’s long-term design (11:1–32)
The future prospect (11:11-32)
Israel’s fall, which in the first paragraph he has proved to be not total, is not final either. On the contrary, far from their being on a downward spiral, the spiral is upwards. They have not stumbled so as to fall beyond recovery, but rather to rise, and in that rise both to experience, and to cause Gentiles to experience, greater blessings than would have been the case if they had not fallen in the first place. Such is God’s merciful providence.
A chain of blessing (11–16)
It is essential to grasp Paul’s sequence of thought in this paragraph, since it recurs with modifications throughout the chapter. It is like a chain with three links.
First, already through Israel’s fall salvation has come to the Gentiles…. The Jews had rejected the gospel and the Gentiles had accepted it…. God thus overruled the sin of Israel for the salvation of the Gentiles.
Second, this Gentile salvation will make Israel envious and so lead to her restoration or ‘fullness’…. When Israel sees the blessings of salvation being enjoyed by believing Gentiles (their reconciliation to God and to each other, their forgiveness, their love, joy and peace through the Spirit), they will covet these blessings for themselves and, it is implied, will repent and believe in Jesus in order to secure them. Thus provoked to envy, they will be led to conversion.
Third, Israel’s fullness will bring yet much greater riches to the world…. As for the Gentiles… the blessing which they will receive through Israel’s fullness is called much greater riches, i.e. ‘the reconciliation of the world’, surely because Christ ‘has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility’ both between them and God and between them and the Jews.
Thus the blessing ricochets from Israel to the Gentiles, from the Gentiles back to Israel, and from Israel to the Gentiles again.
Return Back to Me, My Love Israel
Christ, as a light illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen