A Wild Branch

Photo credit: lightstock.com Now, I speak to you who are not Jewish. As long as I am an apostle sent to people who are not Jewish, I bring honor to my ministry. Perhaps I can make my people jealous and save some of them. 

If Israel’s rejection means that the world has been brought back to God, what does Israel’s acceptance mean? It means that Israel has come back to life.

If the first handful of dough is holy, the whole batch of dough is holy. If the root is holy, the branches are holy. But some of the olive branches have been broken off, and you, a wild olive branch, have been grafted in their place. You get your nourishment from the roots of the olive tree.

So don’t brag about being better than the other branches. If you brag, remember that you don’t support the root, the root supports you. “Well,” you say, “Branches were cut off so that I could be grafted onto the tree.” That’s right! They were broken off because they didn’t believe, but you remain on the tree because you do believe. Don’t feel arrogant, but be afraid.

If God didn’t spare the natural branches, he won’t spare you, either. Look at how kind and how severe God can be. He is severe to those who fell, but kind to you if you continue to hold on to his kindness. Otherwise, you, too, will be cut off ⌊from the tree⌋.

If Jewish people do not continue in their unbelief, they will be grafted onto the tree again, because God is able to do that. In spite of the fact that you have been cut from a wild olive tree, you have been grafted onto a cultivated one. So wouldn’t it be easier for these natural branches to be grafted onto the olive tree they belong to? (‭Romans‬ ‭11:‭13-24‬ (GW)

Grafting a branch from one tree onto the bark or trunk of another takes skill. In order for the graft to take and produce, a compatibility must exist between the two. Nowadays, the rootstock of a wild olive tree is used to graft in a younger, more productive cutting.

Paul's illustration of the wild branch being grafted into the older root is used to show how God chose to change things in His kingdom. Because Israel was unfaithful and rejected their Messiah when He came, the kingdom of God was opened up to include the Gentiles (other nations).

Not only were Gentiles included, but they became the primary people of God's kingdom. Just as Israel was to be a light to the nations, now the church (Jews and Gentiles alike) is to carry the light of God's redemption message to the world.

Paul reminds us of two things—the church's heritage is embedded in Israel and things can be reversed again—Israel can be re-grafted into the olive tree. Why did God graft in the Gentiles? Because of Israel's unbelief and unfaithfulness.

This illustration helps us see God's purpose for those He chooses. He is the one who grafts, and He is the one who brings compatibility and unity (Eph 2:11-14). It's also a reminder of each believer's responsibility—to believe, to trust, and to be faithful to God and His purposes. ©Word-Strong_2016