“I am speaking the truth in Christ–I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit– I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.” (Romans 9:1 – 2)
In the previous chapter, chapter eight, Paul is jubilant that nothing can separate a true believer from Jesus Christ and the Lord God. There is a “however”, however, that if one does not believe in Jesus Christ as sent by the Lord God, then one is outside of Christian faith. And Paul mourns with deep groaning.
“For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh.” (Verse 3)
Paul reminds himself and his readers that he is from Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish stock. It was to them that the Messiah would first come, and it was assumption that all Jews would recognize the Messiah. But that was not the case. Some did, and Paul rejoices in that & rejoices that the truth of the Messiah Jesus was made clear to him. But he mourns for those Jews for whom that was not clear, and may never be clear. I suspect (and some of the biblical commentators have voice this opinion also) that Paul is unsure at times whether his being sent to the Gentiles was a good thing. In his mind, it is possible he has left behind the offspring of his forebearers for the sake of others.
“They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.” (Verses 4 – 5)
It was from Hebrew/Israelite/Jewish stock that Jesus came from, and it was the prophecies amongst the called & chosen people that the clues to Jesus were made known. How could they have missed it? And what is Paul to do now??
We are fortunate, beloved reader, that our spiritual forebearers passed on to us Christian believes; whether it be actual family, friends, or people who simply evangelized to us – the clues and news of Jesus were made known to us, and we believed.
My grandmother on my father’s side came from Jewish stock. And when she came to faith, she felt the same burning that Paul did. She started to evangelize along with my grandfather/her husband, and their son/my father also joined in their work. So I stand in a proud tradition of bringing the good news to those around me – primarily through posts/blogs such as this. My role, as it has evolved, is not so much spreading the initial “good news” but nurturing believers who have come to faith and sustaining faith and spirituality in mature believers. But all roles are important. And we all wrestle with how to do it best.
I would ask therefore, beloved readers, that you keep in prayer me and others who spread and sustain faith. Shalom & Selah!