Summary: How Paul made the Jews jealous so as to provoke them to faith in Christ and warned the Gentiles not to be presumptuous now that they were believers in Jesus Christ.
ROMANS 11: 11-22 The Problems of Jealousy and Presumption
11 “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!
13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry,
14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.
15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
17 And if some of the branches were broken off, 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,
18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.
19 You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’
20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.
21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” (NKJV)
Suppose three apostles, John, Peter and Paul, had lived in Old Testament times. What do you suppose they would have said if they had been asked, as good Presbyterians, to form a committee and to summarise the gospel?
They may have come up with something like this:
“God so loved the Jews that He gave them an everlasting covenant to believe the Messiah, live by faith in Him and His Word, and to pass this message on to the Gentiles.” (They could call it Leviticus 27:35)
We touched on it last time: "jealousy and presumption."
In this passage, the Jews are being challenged by the Apostle Paul to avoid failure to enter into God’s Kingdom and he calls them to trust in Jesus Christ.
By this they have been provoked to jealousy and say: “How dare these Gentiles go into the kingdom before us for whom it has rightly been created?”
(Mt 21:28 "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ’Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’
21:29 He answered and said, ’I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.
21:30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ’I go, sir,’ but he did not go.
21:31 ‘Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said to Him, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.
21:32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.’ ”)
OK some relief…(if you have not heard or understood what I have already said please listen to this part.)
Jesus’ parables speak strongly about this jealousy for rightness or justice that the Jews had.
Take the one about the landowner-employer of Matthew 20, whose workers complained that they worked all day but got the same pay as those who came late and only worked part of the day.
This is a powerful parable of the kingdom and who belongs to it and why and how to enter the kingdom of God.
We read about this in Matthew 20: 1-16.
1. Those who arrived early for work agree what their pay, their reward, was to be: 1 denarius = one day’s wages for a manual labourer.
2. Those who arrived at 9am were promised a correct payment: “whatever is right…” (4.) No exact amount is mentioned. So the second group had no guarantee apart from the employer’s word, which they gladly accepted so the responsibility is partly theirs since they willingly bought into it.
3. At noon and at 3pm, two more groups come and the employer does the same thing with these ones who were available to work. He offered them the same deal as the second, 9am, group.
4. At about 5pm he offered work to some who had waited all day to be offered something to do, and they were offered the same as the previous three groups. (i.e. the 9am, noon and 3pm people).