The picture above is of the tree of forty fruits as painted by Sam Van Aken. Several full-grown versions will grace the Syracuse University campus and many other places in years to come. It is done by grafting branches of many fruit trees onto one stock.
It is a picture of what God promised would happen in His plan to redeem the world. Before the time of today’s reading in Exodus, God made many covenants with individuals, all of which had implications of including the rest of humanity.
In the Exodus reading, God sets up the super covenant with Israel, the one that requires much of four books to describe and explain, as well as the rest of the Bible to fulfill. If you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. ESV
The wonderful one-hundredth Psalm makes it clear that the covenant is for the whole world. Shout for joy to Adonai, all the earth! Serve Adonai with gladness. Enter his presence with joyful songs. CJB One Youtube version here.
Jesus reinforces that concept by sending his disciples out with detailed instructions about expanding the field of believers. In the Great Commission, he will instruct them to go even farther afield, “to make disciples of all nations.”
But, both Jesus and Paul add an edge to the Commission: suffering. This is the part few of us signed up for, but being a follower of Yeshua the Messiah will put us at odds with those who do not know him. One of the unfortunate characteristics of humans is that we tend to want to hurt those we don’t understand or don’t like. Christians will suffer.
With Paul, we should take joy in such suffering because it is what happens when we are following the Way.
One last point, there is no New Covenant. We have been grafted into the Covenant God made with Israel. We are the new branches of the old tree. God does not expect us to do all the things done by Israel. He does not expect us to do all the things Yeshua did (not being God).
I need to live as close as possible to the Way of Yeshua while remaining a 21st Century American.
Be righteous and do good.