This letter is written to those who are not Jewish..
“I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud and start bragging. Some of the Jews have hard hearts, but this will last only until the complete number of Gentiles comes to Christ.
26 And so all Israel will be saved. Do you remember what the prophets said about this? “A Deliverer will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel from all ungodliness. 27 And then I will keep my covenant with them and take away their sins.”
28 Many of the Jews are now enemies of the Good News. But this has been to your benefit, for God has given his gifts to you Gentiles. Yet the Jews are still his chosen people because of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 29 For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn.
30 Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the Jews refused his mercy, God was merciful to you instead. 31 And now, in the same way, the Jews are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you. But someday they, too, will share in God’s mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned all people in their own disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone.” Romans 11:25-32
I heard an interesting retelling of the story of the Prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), particularly the interpretation of the elder brother who had stayed at home. The suggestion was that the elder brother in this story are the Gentiles and the younger brother, the Jews.
We were left with the thought that the prodigal brother (the Jews) are about to return home. We know what the response of the Father will be, and we wait to see just how the brother (Gentile Church) who has stuck with Him (the Father), will react to this prodigal’s homecoming. How will you react?
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ 22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. 23 And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast, 24 for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, 26 and he asked one of the servants what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the calf we were fattening and has prepared a great feast. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
28 “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, 29 but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve worked hard for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the finest calf we have.’
31 “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you and I are very close, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’ ” Luke 15:20-31
Roman 11 passage ends with this.
33 “Oh, what a wonderful God we have! How great are his riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods! 34 For who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who knows enough to be his counselor? 35 And who could ever give him so much that he would have to pay it back? 36 For everything comes from him; everything exists by his power and is intended for his glory. To him be glory evermore. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36
Translation used NIV. ** Bold emphasis added.
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