Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In Romans 9:1-5 the apostle Paul speaks of his sorrow. Jesus, the savior of the world, has come. He has come from the people of Israel. He has come first to the lost sheep of Israel. And he has been rejected by them, out of hand. The very people who originally received the covenant promises of God walked away from the fulfillment of the covenant. This is terrible news!
Some popular teaching would hold that Paul, once a faithful Jew, has now become hostile to Judaism. He has departed and simply wants the Jews to be destroyed. This could not be farther from the attitude shown here. We see no self-preservation, no arrogance, no competition. All we see is sorrow. If it would save the people of Israel, Paul would happily give his life. He does, in fact, do that very thing. His life is ended in a Roman prison. He arrived in that Roman prison when he appealed for their protection from Jewish leaders who vowed to kill him. If only the Jews would believe! But they will not. The very people who brought us the Messiah have rejected him.
We observe that these statements are in a letter from Paul to Christians in Rome. There was a significant Jewish community in Rome, but, by the time of this letter, apparently also a strong Christian community, probably in the same part of the city. The Gospel, rejected by Jews, was made plain to people in the very center of the pagan religion of the time. The good news of salvation by grace through faith was brought to those who were not part of Israel. Christ’s people were in Rome and in every other place in the Roman world where the message had been taken.
Salvation is not restricted to the people of Israel. It is for everyone, everywhere. We pray that the people of Israel would hear and receive the Gospel as well. Jesus has given his life to release all who believe him from the bonds of sin and death. He has risen from the dead as the first of the general resurrection of all the dead. He promises to be with all who believe on him in this life and forever.
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