Romans 11:13-24 “ 13 I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry 14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people, Israel, to envy and therefore to save some of them. 15 For if their rejection brought reconciliation to the world, (the Gentiles) what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 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, 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.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”
The reasons why this subject it so important
The subject I’m referring to is the subject of our Jewish roots. For centuries the Church throughout most of the world has forgotten its roots and denied it Jewish inheritance.
1) The Bible tells us that we are of the same stock as the ‘seeds of Abraham’ … spiritually adopted in by faith and are part of what scripture calls ‘the Commonwealth of Israel’.
11Therefore remember that formerly you who are Gentiles in the flesh and called uncircumcised by the so-called circumcision (that done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.”
This wrong attitude has been mostly encouraged by a false doctrine that crept into the Church called ‘The Replacement Theology’. Replacement Theology – reduced to its simplest form – teaches that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. The term “Replacement Theology” is relatively new and unfamiliar to many people and among theologians, the older and more widely used term is “supersessionism.” That is….the Church “supersedes” Israel. It believes that God has set aside Israel and made the Church the “new Israel,” the new and improved people of God. This is supported by the fact that the Jews rejected Jesus the Messiah and crucified Him so forfeiting their place as Gods chosen people. Although this doctrine has became more popular in recent history, its origins actually go back centuries to Marcion (A.D. 160), who carried on a theological crusade to purge the Church of what he perceived to be dangerous Jewish errors and influences. However, there is now a growing return to the truth that God will never abandon Israel and that His Eternal purposes for this world are bound up with the prosperity and centrality of both Israel and Jerusalem, as Israel’s eternal city.
As we see End Time biblical prophecy being fulfilled and the belief that Jesus will return soon being preached more and more, plus the growing expectation once again amongst the Jews that their Messiah too will soon come, Christian attention is centring once again on our spiritual
connections and relationship with Israel. The Church’s destiny and full identity is inseparable from that of Israel’s. She also is part of the Bride. There is no such thing as a ‘Gentile Bride’.
The Gentile Church has not only been arrogant and exclusive but also guilty of much persecution of the Jewish people over centuries of history. Such persecution of ethnic minorities are called a ‘pogrom’ and these pogroms against our Jewish brothers and sisters have taken place throughout history by many nations and often being led by the Church itself. We as a Gentile Church have not shown the respect we should have done for the way many Orthodox Jews and Rabbis have preserved the Old Testament Scriptures copying them so carefully by hand before the time of the printing press. In fact it was the law that if a mistake was made in copying the sacred script, even if it was the very last letter of the long scroll they were working on, then all if it would have to be destroyed and the work begun again.
New Testament Evidence for Christianity’s Jewish Roots
1) Jesus came first as the Jewish Messiah or Christ. The Gospel of the Kingdom was given first to the Jews.
· Jesus was born as a Jew (Mary, Jesus mother, a young woman of Jewish descent)
· Followed Jewish customs. (Was circumcised on the 8thday. Visited the Temple to make the sacrifice according to the Jewish law, Observed the Sabbath and Feast days…Passover etc)
· Preached in the Synagogues (Jewish Churches), and to the Jewish public. He concentrated on His own people and wept over their rejection of Him.
Matt 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to. How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not!”
· All the 12 disciple were Jewish.
2) The Gospel message of Salvation was first preached to the Jews
· After the resurrection and Pentecost the Church was predominantly Jewish.
· The first coverts were all Jewish
· The leaders of the Jerusalem Church were all Jews
3) St Paul teaches in his letters that the Gospel was first to be given to the Jews
It was God’s plan.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
4) Jesus commanded the disciples to preach the Gospel but first starting in Jerusalem the Jewish capital
“Repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in Jesus name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
5) However, the Gospel was also for the whole world as John 3 v 16 reminds us
“ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son”
But it was to begin with the Jews for it was for them a fulfilment of their Jewish prophecies.
Then….. to the rest of the world.
6) The Great Commission by Jesus at His Ascension makes this clear.
Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you
And the book of the Acts of the Apostles records the advance of the Christian Faith from being a small Jewish Faith predominantly to becoming a world wide movement.
We owe so much to the Jews of both the Old and New Testament period and we should be so grateful to them and pray for them to find Jesus as their Messiah ….not to become part of Christianity and join us … but that we together with them shall become part of the new created community called the One New Man that God has yet to reveal.