Romans 11:11-24 “Sibling Rivalry”

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Road construction season is always a hassle for drivers.  It seems like, no matter where you drive, there are always orange cones and signs that divert you, taking you on a roundabout way to get to your destination.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier to just go straight from point A to point B? Certainly, but only if the road were intact.

Paul describes Jesus as kind of like these detour signs.  While the ultimate destination, that being salvation, has not changed, Jesus’ seems to present (from the Jewish perspective) an alternative pathway to salvation.  It isn’t until we realize that faith in the Messiah was the right way all along to we realize that Jesus isn’t a “detour sign” but actually a warning sign that the pathway of “the Law” was never meant to be a road in the first place.  The question then becomes: do you drive full speed into the barrels or do you heed the sign and turn?

Questions to take home:

  1. Genesis is full of stories about brothers.  Cain & Abel, Ishmael & Isaac, Jacob & Esau, and the story of Joseph.  In each one, the older takes issue with the younger, often stumbling over the blessing they receive from God.  How do Israel and the Gentiles fit into this paradigm? Can you see the church… our church… fitting into this paradigm?
  2. Read Luke 15:11-32.  Based on Romans 11, who do you think the prodigal son represents?  Do does it clarify the language of “jealousy” that Paul uses to talk about the Jews who did not believe in Jesus?  Where do you think you fit into this parable? What about HCC?
  3. Read John 15:1-8.  How do Jesus’ words here speak into Paul’s teaching in Romans 11?  How does the image of grafting, or the language of adoption Paul uses in Romans 8:15 & 23, expand your view of our relationship with God in Jesus Christ?