Many fruit cultivators use a practice known as “grafting,” in which they cut a part of one plant and attach it to a different plant where it can grow. The reason for this grafting process is that some plants have better roots than others. Therefore, they will take branches off of one type of tree and put them on another type of tree. The new tree part that is being grafted on is known as a “scion.” This scion retains many of its original characteristics. As a matter of fact, you can graft a grapefruit scion onto an orange tree and grow grapefruits on an orange tree. It is a very interesting design that God made in plants and one that gardeners have known and used for thousands of years.
This is why in Romans 11:13-25, Paul uses this picture to describe the work that God has done with the Gentiles. Originally, God came to Abraham and made a covenant with him. This promise of God passed on to Abraham’s children as they believed God like their father Abraham. However, eventually the time came when the children of Abraham no longer believed God (v.20), so He cut their branches off of the tree of His blessing and grafted in the new branches of the Gentiles. This grafting only took place based on God’s grace in response to the Gentiles faith, for had they not believed they would have died without life from the tree. Paul finally makes the point that the new Gentile believers need not scorn the Jewish branches that have been separated from the tree. Rather, try to restore them to the faith that their father Abraham had so that they may be grafted back into the tree (v.23).
Food for Thought: Read Romans 11:13-25. What is the process by which a tree branch is attached to a different tree? How does this relate to we Christians?