17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. 23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree (Romans 11)?
In a nutshell, Paul’s argument runs like this: through the shear “kindness” of God, “wild” (unnatural) branches were “grafted” into a tree which had a “rich root” to support them. Thus, there can be neither boasting, nor loathing by Gentiles—they cannot boast in themselves, nor should they harbor any degree of anti-Semitism. Those who embrace the Gospel should also embrace the Jews from which it grew. We who know Christ—of all people—we should be Jew-lovers, not haters. We should always pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122).
I immediately think of the Ten Boom Family of Holland, who during WWII harbored scores of oppressed Jews trying to escape Nazi tyranny. They selflessly shared their food and their home, gladly risking life and limb in the process, so that “the apple of God’s eye” might be preserved.
Lord, thank You for Your kindness towards us. Help us This Day to show kindness toward those offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the same offspring as our Savior Himself. Amen.