The Vine and the branches

 




John 15 The Vine and the Branches

 

1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes a so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain 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.”

As followers of Christ, we are to always anchor everything that we do unto Him. The "branch" in these words by our Lord Jesus Christ could also represent our plans in life; there are plans that may show off good results at first but sooner, just fades off but plans that are anchored to the "branch"; the will of God bears fruits because it is directly connected to the source of its life. God, as a gardener, of course sees to it that His garden is productive, just as how a farmer cuts off every plant in his farm that bear no fruits, the Father also cuts off a branch that bears no fruits.

 Basically, a branch that isn't fruitful is a sick branch and therefore must be cut off before it affects the entire tree. God, as a gardener, also prunes a branch that bears fruits, this is not to punish it but to make it even more fruitful. Notice that in the two examples, the bible also uses 2 different words; cut off and prunes. By definition, the two has sharp meanings, the first one is to totally stop something but the second one is for developing. The first one is like a curse but the second one gives life. "He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit" One of the implications of this line that I love the most is how personal God is to us, that He is involve in every part of our life, removing those parts, relationships, hobbies, etc. that are not helpful for our Christian life.

The fact that our Lord Jesus Christ came to us as a mortal man is an evidence that God wanted to connect to us personally, He wanted us to know that knows all our hurting, disappointments, efforts because He also felt it first hand when He came and saved us from our sins. "You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you" This is about how you have received the gospel. Note that the sentence is in its past form meaning the action is already done simply because you received it and kept it into your heart and you were transformed. Exception to those who heard yet didn't receive. As a Christian, you must know that you can’t do it alone unless you are doing it for His glory. A man can always execute amazing things because we are created in His image and likeness but remember that this body is already fallen. You may be able to do amazing things yet you will get frustrated for some reason. You may execute plans but if those plans aren't in line to God's will, it will just soon rot because it isn’t connected to the vine, Jesus.

5“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. 6If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

The narrative in Chapter 15 by our Lord Jesus Christ, also talks about our final destination. Having those branches that we talked about, branches that simply doesn’t glorify God and being cut off from Him, by saying cut off, this means we are not just physically disconnected but also spiritually. This simply means that this renders as useless branches. In the Philippines we use dead branches as firewood, this means to say that in God's kingdom, a "dead branch" is also thrown to fire, in this case, hell. How about those plans that aren't hell worthy but isn’t beneficial yet to our Christian life? That is why we have the grace of God, since we were saved by grace, we now have a chance to reconnect to the vine once again and now be truly fruitful. When we were disconnected from God during the events in the garden of Eden, He have been making efforts to reconnect with us again, as you read the bible, you realized that it’s just a book that contains dozens of love story. Until such time that Jesus Christ came and make the reconnection in the personal level.

7” If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. "Ask whatever you wish for, and it will be done for you"

 let us break the misconception first, because most of the time we just read the last part of this verse, we always forget that there is a requirement for it to happen; "IF you remain in me" that is a condition, remain connected to the vine first. This means having a close relationship a really close one with Jesus Christ, to the point that everything that flows in you are just His glory, and you are so synced with His will THEN everything that flows in you are just His glory, and you are so synced with His will THEN everything will be given. The EVERYTHING here requires a very intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Would you ask for something expensive from a complete stranger out of nowhere, of course not! But if that someone is so close to us, we are very confident to ask for something. If you lend money from someone that, for example, you just added as friend in Facebook, he or she will reject and ask something like "are we even close? Or who are you?" Of course, you need to be related first. Same with Christian walk, the way we talked with God changes as we get closer with Him.

 The more we knew of His will, the more knew what to pray for and surely, He will be done for us Lastly, our close relationship with Jesus Christ is also our first proof that we are His disciples. Everything that God has ever done for us through our prayers will be our physical evidence that we are His.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Greater Love

9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

"We love because he first loved us" 1 John 4:19

This reminds us that everything that we enjoy in this Christian life is the effect of Jesus' love for us so that we can’t boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9 8

“For it is by grace(A) you have been saved, (B) through faith(C)—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, (D) so that no one can boast”

 Having Jesus as our true vine, makes Him as the source of our life, our talents, gifts, salvation, even achievements. Basically, nothing comes from us, when we have this kind of mentality, our actions can and if we remind connected with Him, by following His commands, we will remind in this kind of love. Whilst others find the source of love in other people that most of the time ended up in lust, we have a kind of love that first chose us, not the other way around.

 

12” My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

In the same manner that Jesus loved us unconditionally, we also do everything in love. Why our Lord Jesus Christ kept emphasizing love in this narrative? Because this is the marker that we are His disciples.

14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I 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. 16You 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. 17This is my command: Love each other.

 

15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (Revised Standard version)

When we first received the gift of salvation, we often hear the phrase that we are God’s servant, when I was yet a catholic, I served the church as an altar boy and during our acceptance ceremony, we stand in front of the altar, facing the priest while he is holding a fake sword, sort of a knight’s initiation rights, then we shout “Lord I am your servant. Surely, we are God’s servants in spreading the gospel BUT we can also see here in this narrative that Jesus wants an even deeper connection with us, we are HIS friends.

This implies a lot of things, first and foremost, to become one’s friend, one must have a connection with the person, constant talks, night outs, bonding, knowing each other’s secrets; Basically, that is real close friendship and our Lord Jesus Christ wants us to have that kind of relationship with HIM so that we can bear much fruits, fruits that will last.

Through constant communication with Jesus through prayer and meditating on His words, we also get to know the will of God.

Through this constant communication, we also slowly change our mindset. Our one’s carnal thinking will be transformed and having this transformation we now know the perfect will of God;

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

 

The Hatred of the World

Now that you have decided to follow Jesus, I have one big news; the world will hate you. You have read it right.

In many ways, since you have decided to be in the side of light, you are , technically, the enemy of darkness. Everything in the world right now is up against everything that you are, you now have the mind of Christ, not the carnal mind, given that; it opposes every world principle.

18If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. 19If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.

Look around, in the news, people now want laws that are anti God be passed so that their fleshly desires will be satisfied. Example, same sex marriage, SOGIE bill, abortion law, divorce law. Just like one quote that I saw; If it was a sin 100 years ago, it’s still a sin today. Don’t water down the gospel for this offended generation.

Almost everything right now in the world is antigospel. And if you are a follower of Christ, you are up to a lot of opposition.

20Remember the word that I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’a If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they kept My word, they will keep yours as well. 21But they will treat you like this because of My name, since they do not know the One who sent Me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.

Persecution; this will surely happen to us and is already happening now in other parts of the world. There are Christians now that are being imprisoned or even killed because of their faith. It doesn’t mean that you are now His follower the you are excuse from these events, Jesus, our Master, was killed for saving us, the apostles were killed for spreading the gospel.

SO why did our Lord Jesus Christ include this in this narrative?

We have to bear much fruit before those events happen so that we will be ready. This is not to scare us. We are now in the last days. Example; some of the Christians right now that are persecuted are ask to renounce their faith or they will be killed. What if this happens to us and we are not prepared, we are not that connected to the True Vine, most probably, we will easily surrender to our persecutors.

Or maybe, what if we are caught in a situation that involves the LGBT community. The world is turning upside down right now and Christians should get serious in serving the Lord Jesus Christ.

23Whoever hates Me hates My Father as well. 24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have seen and hated both Me and My Father. 25But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated Me without reason.’b

26When the Advocatec comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—He will testify about Me. 27And you also must testify, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

Everything is said, again this is not to scare us out of our faith. Jesus also left His disciples with a promise; The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, who will guide us and teach us on what to do. We can’t do it on our own, we need the Power of the Holy Spirit and to be filled by the Holy Spirit; this will maintain our connection with Jesus Christ our True vine.

 

 

 

 

 

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