Today’s Passage: Romans 11
“May It Never Be” Count: 10 (+2, verses 1 and 11)
In Romans, Paul is dealing with some big questions about the role of Judaism and Jewishness in the brave new world ushered in by Jesus’ resurrection. Romans 11’s big question is: has God turned his back on his chosen people?
To answer this question, Paul appeals to several Old Testament passages in which God selects a remnant of Israelites to preserve from among the disobedient majority. He additionally suggests that if his fellow Jews will repent and turn to Jesus Christ in faith, then he will reconcile them to God (15).
The big metaphor in this chapter is the Tree of Abraham (17-24); Paul talks about foreign “Gentile” branches being grafted onto the tree, and native branches branches being cut off, emphasizing that any branch can be cut off or grafted back on depending on its response to God’s grace, so there’s no room for arrogance. But what I really like in this chapter is verses 11-16. Here, Paul makes the point that if, when the Jews rejected God’s Messiah, he used their rejection to bring about something good, then how much better will it be if they also come to accept his grace through Jesus Christ? I think he makes the point rather elegantly, and it makes sense to me.
I also feel that it’s important to remember the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. There was a period in the Medieval era when we Christians forgot that our Messiah was Jewish, that Paul, our first major missionary, was Jewish, and that the majority of our scriptures’ authors were also Jewish. We misinterpreted passages and took them as an excuse for anti-Semitism. There’s no room for that when God has graciously grafted us into the Tree of Abraham. He didn’t save us so that we could hate Jews! If we hate Jews, we’re going to have to hate Jesus Christ himself.
For today’s chocolate, I have returned to Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups, this time with a glass of milk. Judging from the wrapper, it looks like they’re organic, fair-trade, and Rainforest Alliance certified, but I want to do a bit more research on their sourcing before I go back to their chocolate. And you can hold me to that! If you know more about Justin’s fair-trade practices, or have a peanut butter cup to recommend (or, you know, have thoughts to share on Romans 11!), please leave a comment.