Rom 11:16-18 “For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.” (Romans 11:16-18 NKJV)
When I was growing up, in South Florida, my mother did something I thought was rather strange and useless. She called it grafting, and today “grafting” has an entirely new meaning for me. We had hibiscus bushes behind our house, and each spring mother would start her procedure with them.
She began by placing some moss on the stalk of the bush and wrapping it in saran wrap. She would check the progress regularly, making sure the saran wrap had not fallen, that the moss was moist, and no bugs had gotten in her graft. After a certain amount of time, the graft would be complete. Eventually, when the time was right, she would cut the graft and from it a new plant would begin.
The same was possible to do if she wanted to add a graft to the existing plant. She would carefully follow the program and graft something into the hibiscus. The new shoot would thrive and grow out of the nourishment sent from the main stem of the bush.
In Romans 11:7-24 Paul compares the Gentiles to a wild olive shoot, grafted into an olive tree. The trunk of the olive tree symbolizes Abraham who was the father of the Hebrew nation. The dead wood represented the Jews, and as they chose to turn their hearts from the Gospel, they were pruned away. The newly grafted Gentiles “took” when we believed the Good News of Christ, as Paul spread it throughout the early Christian church.
As Christians, we need to be mindful of our Hebrew heritage. We also are from the seed of Abraham, father of our faith. We must be humble and mindful that the trunk of the tree conducts the nourishment into the new branches, but the nourishment comes from the root—that is God, the Father, Son and Hold Spirit.