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  • Paul Holcombe

Romans 11:17-22

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.



Han Solo once famously told Luke Skywalker, “Great kid, don’t get cocky.” Even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, the phrase still rings true. It is difficult to not get caught up in the moment and believe at least a little bit of our own hype. God chose a people, an olive tree. Some of those branches had chosen to break away. It is the sad reality for those that saw the mighty works of God and then rejected His way for their own.


The good news is Jesus grafted some other branches onto the tree. Those branches were wild, but Jesus put them on His tree anyway. Like that board with the tree in the school hallway, the tree looks neat and clean at the beginning of the school year. Time and students wear the tree down. The students will add their artwork to the board and the tree. The creator of that board will stop by and see all the subtractions and additions to the board and the tree. The board’s creator loves the tree just as much as the original. The tree is remarkably different, but still beautiful to the one who began the work on the tree so long ago. That is what it’s like for us to be grafted in.


There is also a friendly reminder from Jesus to members of the new tree (that’s us). Don’t get cocky. I have heard Christians say the Old Testament is boring, outdated, or irrelevant. One famous pastor stated that we should, “unhitch ourselves from the Old Testament.” That is getting cocky. What was Jesus’ Bible? The Old Testament. What is the Bible? It’s a declaration of an amazing King, and this King Jesus is on every page. New doesn’t mean better. New just means different. The root is old. In fact, the root is older than time itself. You will never see a new tree branch thriving on its own. It needs a root. That root is Jesus Christ. He made the tree, is growing the tree, and graciously pasted you on the board in the hallway. Make sure He gets the glory.

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