Our Daily Bread Devotional For January 13, 2023 : Topic – The Crowd
Bible in a Year:
I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for [my people’s] sake.
Today’s Scripture : Romans 9:1–5
The opening verses of Romans 9 remind us that Paul wasn’t setting out to write a theological treatise (although Romans is widely considered his greatest work theologically). But it’s difficult to miss his passion concerning his fellow Jews and their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. So deep was his distress (“great sorrow and unceasing anguish,” v. 2) that he declared himself willing to be “cursed and cut off from Christ” (v. 3). The Greek word anathema, translated “cursed” or more literally “accursed” (nkjv), refers to something that’s laid up or dedicated as an offering, a sacrifice. Being “cursed” would mean being cut off and separated from Jesus. Paul’s deep desire for his countrymen to share in the salvation brought through Christ led him to wish that he, like Jesus, could be made an offering for the sake of his people.
By: J.R. Hudberg
Message : “Men have been found to resist the most powerful monarchs and to refuse to bow down before them,” observed philosopher and author Hannah Arendt (1906–75). She added, “[B]ut few indeed have been found to resist the crowd, to stand up alone before misguided masses, to face their implacable frenzy without weapons.” As a Jew, Arendt witnessed this firsthand in her native Germany. There’s something terrifying about being rejected by the group.
The apostle Paul experienced such rejection. Trained as a Pharisee and rabbi, his life was turned upside down when he encountered the resurrected Jesus. Paul had been traveling to Damascus to persecute those who believed in Christ (Acts 9). After his conversion, the apostle found himself rejected by his own people. In his letter we know as 2 Corinthians, Paul reviewed some of the troubles he faced at their hands, among them “beatings” and “imprisonments” (6:5).
Rather than responding to such rejection with anger or bitterness, Paul longed for them to come to know Jesus too. He wrote, “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people” (Romans 9:2–3).
As God has welcomed us into His family, may He also enable us to invite even our adversaries into relationship with Him.
Reflect & Pray
How have you responded when you experienced exclusion? What makes rejection so hard?
Loving God, help me to point others to You and a place in Your kingdom despite personal hurt or disappointment.
Learn more about the life and ministry of Paul.