Okay, so God has thrown aside the Jewish people, right? It's Gentile time!
No, no, no! Paul says. God most definitely has not rejected the Jews. After all, they're his peeps. His main squeeze. His chosen crew.
Paul should know. He's one of them, after all.
He tells us the story of Elijah to demonstrate. When Elijah's whole community had turned against him and started worshipping other gods, God told him that it was cool. See, God still saved a few of those people for himself. A few that hadn't totally gone over to the dark side.
The same is true now, Paul says. Some Jews have been chosen for salvation because God is just oh-so-nice like that. It's true. As a whole, the Jews have stumbled a bit when it comes to believing in Jesus. But Paul is careful to note that doesn't mean they've fallen flat on their faces. No sireee.
Sure, they did trip over their own feet while they were supposed to be running the ball in for the touchdown. But God hasn't permanently benched them. He's just brought in the second team. Gentiles—start warming up. You're in.
Look, it's like this. Jesus came to bring God's message to the Jews. Now, because the Jews don't all believe in him, God has decided to spread his message out to non-Jews. Paul says that God did this to make the Jews jealous.
God is, apparently, a 14-year-old girl.
On the plus side, the Jewish people's loss is the world's gain! Now everyone gets a chance to be saved. Thanks, non-believers!
This next section Paul addresses especially to the Gentiles who won this special believing sweepstakes because the previous winners declined the prize.
Paul knows he's kind of known as "the apostle to the Gentiles" even though he's a Jew. But that's fine with him. Maybe his outreach to the Gentiles will make his fellow Jews jealous. Maybe that jealousy will lead them to salvation. And that would be awesome.
After all, the Jews are like a tree with holy roots. Each individual person is a branch on that tree. But some of the branches have died and fallen off. Oh, that's sad.
In their place, God grafted on some wild olive branches that didn't belong on the tree (the Gentiles).
They're growing and fitting in nicely though so it's all good.The one problem is that sometimes these new branches can get a bit cocky.But Paul reminds them not to get too full of themselves.
After all, they're not the ones supporting the tree. That's a job for the Jewish roots.Anyway, they only got a spot on the tree because some of the branches fell off. They should be grateful they're even on there.
Don't forget—God didn't go easy on the original branches. He may go a little crazy with the hedge clippers next time he hears the new branches gloating.
That's kind of God's deal. If he wants to chop off all the foreign branches and graft his favorite, most cherished branches back on, he can. He's God. He can do stuff like that.
So don't get cocky, Gentiles. Don't think you're smarter than you are.
Right now, the non-believers who are Jews are not your friends in Christ, but don't forget that God totally loves them. He goes way back with him. He's promised them things. And God's promises are always the no-take-back kind.
He will show them mercy because showing people mercy is one of God's favorite things.