And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. Romans 11:17b
Paul uses the metaphor of the grafting of the olive tree to explain the union of Jews and Gentiles in God’s family. In the Old Testament, the olive tree has often been used to symbolize Israel. This olive tree was cultivated and nurtured by God, but because of their disbelief and fruitlessness, God cut off the unfruitful branches and grafted in the wild olive’s branches – the gentiles, that we may partake in the riches of God’s kingdom and draw the rest of the tree into fruitfulness.
Though all who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God receive salvation through his sacrificial death, the heritage of this blessing comes to all people through Abraham and his descendants. This was promised by God as it says in Genesis 12:3 – “All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
Abraham is like the rootstock, he was rooted in God with an unwavering devotion. His offspring are like the natural branches growing from the roots and trunk of the tree. Those who believe in Jesus and receive salvation are like scions that are grafted into the tree.
Read Romans Chapter 11
That God has made away for all people to be part of his family is an incredible gift. What warnings does Paul give us in verses 17-24
Throughout the early chapters of the book of Acts we see the early Christian church struggle to comprehend the grafting in of non-hebrew people (gentiles) to the family of God.
Read Acts 10:1-11:18 of the encounter of Jesus’ disciple Peter with Cornelius and then the subsequent discussion of this when Peter returns to Jerusalem.
What message did Peter receive in his vision?
What was the connection between the vision and the visit to Cornelius?
What is the significance on v.18 of chapter 11?
An interesting aside – Peter saw the vision three times. What other occurrences are recorded in relation to Peter that happened three times? If you’re interested
Read this devotional from Mandy Farmer about being grafted into the family of God.
Being grafted into God’s family means that we are children of God. Paul speaks about this in his letter to the church in Rome.
Read Romans 8:14-17
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
These worship songs reflect on what it is to be a child of God and being adopted/grafted into God’s family.
Who You Say I Am – Hillsong Worship
Third Day – Children of God – with Lyrics
No Longer Slaves (Official Lyric Video) – Jonathan David and Melissa Helser | We Will Not Be Shaken
Use this benediction from Romans 11:33-36 (Message translation) as a prayer of thanksgiving.
Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.
Is there anyone around who can explain God?
Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?
Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?
Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.
Always glory! Always praise!