Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Blogging Through Romans 11: 11-24
Romans 11: 11-24
“...remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root supports you” (v.18b)
In the early church there was a movement to expunge the Old Testament from the bible. The reasoning was that the older covenants no longer applied, and that God has moved divine favour from the Jews to the Gentiles, since the official Jewish establishment didn’t recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
Later, in history, many church folks tried to take Jesus’ Jewishness from him. They tried to prove that Jesus wasn’t really Jewish, even though the gospels are pretty clear that he was.
It looks like some Gentile Christians in Rome were trying to do the same thing. Paul was responding to a group of snooty Gentiles who looked down their noses at Jewish non-Christians.
Paul was having none of it. In this passage, he is saying, “If you’re a Christian, thank a Jew. You cannot understand Christianity without understanding Judaism. The Jews were the first ones God had chosen to be lights to the world.”
Since the beginning, Christians and Jews have had an uneasy relationship. We Christians often find it unsettling that Jews don’t recognize Jesus as a Messiah, and I wonder, if deep down, we worry that the Jews know something we don’t know.
But, Paul then reminds us that there is no distinction, in God’s eyes, between Jew and Gentile. We are sisters and brothers of Abraham. The Jews simply were first. And Jesus was the way we Gentiles were brought into covenant with God.