Summary: To show that while gentiles have not suffered as God’s people, the Jews, have suffered, we cannot be arrogant or unbelieving and presume upon God but must come together with the Jews in humble faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1. The Sadness of the Broken off Branches and the Future Triumph (15,16,23,24,26,27)
What a storm we might have seen or experienced!
The images in this part of Romans speak so clearly to the sadness of the situation of those branches broken off from the Tree.
Have you seen trees whose branches have been damaged by a storm? Of course you have! You will have seen the Tsunami news recently on TV.
To find out what the broken branches mean in today’s passage from the book of Romans, let us look.
Are there any signs in these verses that the persons addressed are in need? Are they devastated? Let’s have a look…
In v.11 we see the words “stumbled,” “fallen,” “jealous,” “salvation.” These words all imply need of some help from God. God is never attributed with creating the sins of people but He is pronounced or declared as their Saviour, their Deliverer. Indeed “the Deliverer will come out of Zion.” (26) Which is exactly what we celebrate during Advent and Christmas.
Verse 15 has the words “cast away,” “reconciling” “life from the dead.” All, again, imply a need, that we are reminded throughout Scripture can only be met by God.
In v.17 we read “broken off” implies some in need of re-connection to the Olive Tree.
Verse 18 “the root supports you” implies we need help and support.
Verse 20 “broken off” branches, “unbelief,” “haughtiness”
Verse 21 speak of being “cut off” in “unbelief”
Anyone would think that the Jews were in some sort of trouble…well they all are, says Paul. They are devastated branches; like those blasted off a tree in a Tsunami. They will remain so as long as they do not trust wholly upon the Lord Jesus Christ!
And you Gentiles, as long as you look down your noses at the Jews and say “Hey, you were broken off the Olive Tree so that we could be grafted on to the tree…” you will be accounted guilty for your boasting! 20 “Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.”
Remember who supports who.
The root supports the branches. The branches do not hold up the root!
Now this idea of grafting.
What is the purpose of grafting olive branches onto an olive root? So I looked it up!
“Grafting is done for several purposes, but most commonly in the olive oil industry it is to get the hardy roots of one variety with the fecundity of another variety. The whole point of grafting is that each part of the grafted tree keeps its original character. The variety used for the root stock may be resistant to fungus or other pests but has a small or low yield olive. The graft may have weak roots but large fruit with high oil content. The resulting tree has the best of both varieties.
Fruit trees are commonly grafted for backyard use so that one tree yields several types of related fruits. A peach tree could be grafted with two different types of peaches and a nectarine. You would probably not see a grafted tree with unrelated species such as peaches, walnuts and avocados on it.” (http://www.oliveoilsource.com/scripts/dictionary.asp?p_do=item&p_id=486)
The Pain and the Warning
It is wonderful to know that God cares for us so much that He is prepared to suffer for us. This is implied in the grafting metaphor. He sent His Son to suffer and die. Imagine what the Father suffered as His only begotten Son suffered and died on the cross?
His ‘chosen people,’ the Jews, suffered in their long pilgrimage as recounted in the OT. God was with them in their suffering. And so we come to believers who live today, ourselves in fact…
In order to graft us on to the Olive Tree there was a cost. V 19: ‘Branches were broken off that I (Gentile believers, that’s us) might be grafted in.’
We are the latecomers to this event…yet all that was done was done to enable us to join with Christ.
We are told in Eph 2: “For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation…” (EPH 2:14)
Jews and Gentiles are joined together in Christ.
It must be a very special purpose of God. All one in Christ Jesus.
First of all, there is the breaking off of the Old branches (v.17) who are God’s chosen people, the Jews. This is in order that Gentiles may be grafted on says Paul. 17 “And if some of the branches were broken off…” He says, “and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree...”