Reading: Romans 11: 1-2a and 29-32
Verse 29: God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.
Romans 11 deals with Israel, the people of God, and their rejection of Jesus as Messiah. Paul writes from the perspective of one who used to be a very devout Jew but is now a follower of Jesus Christ. He looks at the people he dearly loves, his fellow Jews, and is heartbroken that by and large they do not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Through his own personal encounter with Jesus and his subsequent faith journey, He knows Jesus intimately and he loves Jesus deeply. Because of this, Paul wants all people to know Jesus as Lord – especially the chosen people of God, his own countrymen, his fellow Jews.
In today’s passage, Paul emphatically declares that God has not rejected the Jews. Paul writes, “God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable”. The call of God upon the Jews is irrevocable. Since the beginning of time, God has been in relationship with this people. In the beginning He walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden. The conversation continued through Moses and Samuel and Elijah and… as God continued this relationship with His chosen people. The conversation continued with Jesus, who was born of the chosen people, born from the line of David.
Paul then turns the conversation to present reality. Because of the Jew’s rejection of Jesus (which Paul calls disobedience), the way was opened for the Gentiles to end their disobedience and to accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah. It was through God’s mercy that the relationship was extended beyond the chosen people. For Paul, God’s mercy is still present, waiting for the Jews to respond. God’s call to the chosen people is still in tact. But to Paul, the tables have now been turned. The people who were not chosen have accepted Jesus and through this merciful act of God, they now are called to minister to the Jews, “that they too may have mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you”. In other words, because of the mercy they have received others may now receive it.
Jesus commissioned all believers to go out and share the good news and to make disciples of all nations. Part of the good news for us is the mercy we receive from God. Paul saw the chosen people as one of many nations who needed to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. There continues to be many who need to experience God’s mercy and to hear the good news. Like Paul, who did all he could to share Jesus with others, may we too do all we can to help others know Jesus and God’s mercy.