I haven’t been feeling very well this week. I’m usually that person who dodges the cold/flu that always seems to go around this time of the year, but clearly I’m not so lucky this time. The only thing I like about being ill is that it justifies me staying in my pyjamas and reading more than usual (so basically all day).
Yesterday I spent some time in John 15 – where Jesus talks about the vine and the branches. I read it a couple of times, and each time I discovered something new. I’m going to try my best to share my thoughts on it in today’s post but please do forgive me if I waffle slightly – I’m sniffling, coughing and basically having a massive pity party as I write my way through this.
I’ve decided to write out the whole chapter (as you do), just in case you were interested in reading it…
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up and thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you will bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last – and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.
So as I was reading this, I was imagining a garden in which stands the most beautiful green tree with big, long branches stretching out far and wide. There’s also gardener, who tends this tree regularly, throwing away any dead branches that have fallen off and started withering.
Within this scripture Jesus is telling us that God is the gardener, the tree is Jesus and we are the branches. The only way for the branches to produce fruit is for through the tree. The tree is the source of life.
Jesus is emphasising (repeating Himself over and over again) how important it is for us to remain in Him. If we don’t remain in Him we’re lifeless – as lifeless as a branch fallen from the tree to the ground.
How do we remain in Him? Jesus says we only need to do one thing – obey His command to “love each other as I have loved you”.
We can only begin to really love each other when we actually know what love is.
1 John 4:8 tells us that God himself is love.
Therefore, we can only know true love when we know God.
The Bible is filled with stories, all pointing toward God. Each story gives us another piece of the puzzle – slowly revealing who He is. The more we know who God is, the more we can understand how He loves us. In turn, we learn to love like Him.
Jesus is telling us that only when we do this, will we be able to live with the fullest joy. Only then will we be truly alive, living with purpose and meaning.
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