john 15.1-8, john, #78
Last words are important. Jesus' closest friend, John, does a masterful job immortalizing some of Jesus' last words. Lean a little closer now, Friend, and pay extra close attention to these words of our Lord: Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
By way of illustration, perhaps Jesus picked up a cluster of grapes, with twisting tendrils of vine and curling leaves, then talked about how pruning is necessary in order for the fruit to grow and flourish. But -- before there is even a thought of producing fruit, there must be life in that vine. "There can be no reproduction without proper connection."1
Why, with Jesus knowing his end was near, would he take time to talk about vines, branches and fruit? Jesus wanted them, he wanted us to know that we must stay closely connected to him for life and for strength.
Being a gardener myself, I have oft noted that as soon as I cut away branches from my rosebushes, toss them to the ground, their leaves seem to almost instantly dull. There is no further growth when cut off from the bush.
Believer, so it is with you and me. Jesus is life. When we first place our faith in him, we are grafted into that life, the Holy Spirit of God making our souls his home. Get this -> the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us... read that again because that is a mind-boggling truth! The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. 2.
Over and over again in the gospels we see Jesus inviting us to Come to him...3 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest ~ to Abide...4 Abide in Me, and I in you...
Note: God offers us the vine, Jesus - abundant and flourishing life - but he does not tie us with twine to him. (that's what a gardener does, right? Carefully ties the little shoots, and trains them the way they should go, the way they should grow in order to have their best life) Jesus invites us Come. Stay. Tarry awhile. Make your home with me. I came that you might have life . . . abundant life, Jesus said.6
How's your connection to Jesus? Do not deceive yourself; if you do not have some time to spend with him each day...if you do not discipline yourself to pray, your connection to him really does not mean very much. Give yourself five minutes in his Word, five minutes in prayer, five minutes to worship . . . you will walk away stronger, more assured that God is with you. Go ahead ... strengthen your connection today, because life is in the Vine.
1 - a great word by a brother I found on line https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j21O0HmTAK0
2 - Romans 8.11
3 - Matthew 11.29
4 - John 15.1-7, NKJV
5 - John 10.10
5/Prayer: Take a few minutes to pray ~ this is true abiding. The Holy Spirit is praying for you as well, you know! Ask God for wisdom and favor, that you will feel his presence in and around you. Tell God your needs and thank him for his blessings; open your heart to him - he loves you like no other.
5/Worship: Breakthrough, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rucL0AOznE