May 31 - Vine and Branches

Friday, May 31, 2013

John 15:1-17

Jesus is the true vine and his Father is the vinedresser … in other words, God takes away the branches which bear no fruit and prunes the fruit-producing vines so they will bear more fruit.  Now, a branch which is unattached to the vine, will bear no fruit because it ceases to receive nourishment from the vine.

This passage is filled with powerfully strong metaphors; and a few strong, straightforward sentences.  The gist of the entirety of the passage is that 1) Jesus has chosen us (vs. 16); 2) he did so in order that we bear fruit and prove ourselves to be his disciples (vs. 8); 3) that our lives and the results of our actions always point to God (vs. 8); 4) that we be filled with joy (vs. 11); and 5) that we love each other (vs. 12-13, 17).

You might find more profound insights into these verses. Please take the time to read through for yourself and see what might leap off the pages for you.

Jesus has chosen us.  2 Peter 3:9 says, “He (the Lord) is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” You don’t have to do anything to earn the love of Jesus; it is already there for you.

Bear fruit.  In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul tells us what this fruit looks like: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  These are the attributes of a disciple; one who has chosen to be obedient to the Lord. These are the things people should see in us every day.

Glorify God.  The Lord in Isaiah 43:6-7 says, “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” We were created to glorify God.  That is our purpose.

Rejoice. There are many times that the New Testament speaks of living in joy.  Peter says, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8).  Joy is different than happiness. Joy is a way of life. It resides within us even when we are sad or depressed.  Joy is not dependent on others or on our moods; it comes from an unending source.  Jesus says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).

Love each other. I can not get too much of the verses from Matthew 22.  When an expert of the law asked Jesus which of the commandments were the greatest, Jesus replied by summing them up.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind ... the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).  Love God / Love Others. Fulfill the commandments.