Saturday, December 14, 2013

Adorning Our Tree – The Vine



I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John15:5)
This verse is a very well known phrase in the Christian world.  If you have been in the Church for even a short period of time, certainly the idea has been covered.  It is a simple concept that we can easily relate to.  We can identify with the importance of a branch being connect to the vine.  The life giving sap from the vine flows to the branches, without that connection the branch dries up and withers.  Or take it a little further, if we are connected to the wrong vine, we would bear fruit in accordance to that vine.  Unwanted fruit, for after all we will be known by our fruit. (Matthew 7:16-20)  The illustrations could go on and on, but I would like to draw your attention to why Jesus gave us the illustration.  Jesus did not exhaust the illustration because it is only used to explain in simple terms a bigger idea.  Reread the verse above again.  Did you notice Jesus also said “and I in Him?”  You mean Jesus wants to abide in us like we abide in Him? Yes, and in order to understand it fully we have to back up into the chapters of John to see what Jesus has been building from.

In John 13 Jesus spends His last meal with His closest friends, His disciples.  They are more like family, that was how the Passover was celebrated, with your family.  At the end of their time Jesus tells them He is going away and you will be there also (John 14:1-3).  This troubles the disciples, because it does not make sense that he would leave and that they would be there to. Follow the dialog between Jesus and Phillip.

“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Jesus continues…

“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also, from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

“Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip?

                                                                                                            (John 14:6-8)
This is a heart piercing question.  Do you know Me?
If you are perceptive to the writing of John in his gospel you will see an underlying theme.  Jesus only does what He sees the Father doing. (John 5:19)  Over and over Jesus is motivated by the Father and the Father’s work.  Jesus is not self sourced, He is sourced by God.  Even when asked to satisfy His hunger needs by turning stones into bread (self sourcing), Jesus declines the offer.  (Math. 4:3-4, This will be a later study, Adorning Our Tree- The Bread)  If inclined to read all the verses that Jesus comments on being sourced by God, then read some in John:
John 3:27; 4:34; 5:17-21,30; 6:29,38; 7:16; 8:28,42; 12:49; 14:10,31; 15:24; 17:4,7.  

If you were to camp out in John chapter 14, you would find Jesus describing this abiding relationship with God.  Abiding: meno in Greek, means to remain, to sojourn, continue to be present, to last, to remain as one.  Not to become another or different.  “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me…” (John 14:11)  Sounds familiar to the first verse we covered in this post.  he who abides in Me and I in him…” (John15:5) The reason Jesus told Philip “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), is because of that abiding relationship.  Jesus did only what the Father does. Jesus communicates the Word, which we know from the last post is God’s mind.  Jesus’ actions, speech, prayers, teaching, life, and death all communicate the Father.   The same abiding relationship that Jesus shares with the Father, He wants for us. “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” (John 14:20) Can you imagine the life like that? 


When you walk,

He walks. 
 
When He walks,

you walk

When He fills a need, you fill the need.  When you fill a need, He fills the need. 

When He is patient. When He is Gracious. When He looks on someone with compassion.

He gives

He blesses

He encourages

Speaks

Forgives

 Loves

Dies,

  to gain life..

..You?


When you think about the natural progress of sap moving from the vine to branch and the fact that the branch has no life at all apart from the vine, Jesus says so it is with us as well. 

Our representation of The Vine
 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. (John 15:4)

~Jeff Warner

To start this series at the beginning please click here.

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