Friday, May 8, 2009

Daily - 5/8/09

John 15:1-8

1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.

2 He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.

3 You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.

4 Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.

5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.

6 Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.

7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.

8 By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
This is the Sunday gospel, so I'm cheating forward a day, but I just can't resist, because this is very close to the top on my list of favorites. This passage cuts to the very core of our faith. Interestingly, we began John 15 in the Friday morning bible study, so we spent a full hour talking about these eight verses.

A very crude image I use for this parable is to think about Christ as the electrical power grid. It goes everywhere, stretches into every home/office/whatever. If we are plugged in and the power switch, the light shines. If not, we've either turned off the switch or unplugged ourselves altogether.

So ... Christ is the vine. We are the branches. The father takes away any vine that does not bear fruit. Those that do bear fruit are pruned, so that they can produce more fruit.

Have you ever been pruned? Have you ever been through a difficult trial, come to the end of it, and seen the hand of God throughout, all the way to the lessons of faith you've learned? That's pruning. On a spiritual level, it's a fantastic process. However, on an earthly level ... it HURTS, and at times can fill us with extreme physical or emotional pain. That's just the way it is. As believers in Christ, we get pruned.

There's more to the lesson though, and it's very important. We are to remain in Christ, and we can't bear fruit without him. Let that sink in for a minute ... we can't do it without him. In fact, we can do nothing without him.

Keep reading. If we do not remain, we are thrown out like a branch and whither, and we will be thrown in the fire. If we do remain, ask for whatever we want, and it will be given to us. It can't get any clearer than that.

This raises the question, what does it mean to remain? Let's add two verses to find out:

9 As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.

10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.

There it is in black and white, directly from the Christ.