John, The Love of God
We bought a bunch of grapes a few weeks ago. They were huge, spotless, firm and beautiful on the outside. AND they were on sale! I brought them home and after putting away the other groceries I washed them so we could eat them immediately. We love grapes! Good grapes are a great healthy snack! Unless…
I popped a whole grape into my mouth as I was washing them. Oh, the bitterness. I had to spit it out. The grape I ate had a sour taste as if many chemicals had been added. I tried another one from another part of the vine. It had the same earthy taste. Ugh. What a disappointment to see what you think will be great and then taste only bitterness. I won’t buy that brand again.
Sometimes it pays to buy organic, a product not chemically enhanced. More concern with flavor over appearance should be monitored carefully. Mm.
Is this what Jesus is talking about as He teaches his followers about being connected to the REAL Vine? Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches who bear the fruit. What kind of fruit are we bearing? “When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.” –Jesus
Why? Because it’s all about God! It’s not about us. It’s Who we are connected to that matters in the production of organic, nothing added to His Word, fruit. When we are intimately connected to Jesus, the Vine, all nourishment comes from Him. He lives in us and we live in Him. The “fruit” is a result of the glory of our Father with the work of His Holy Spirit growing and maturing us. Nothing more added. “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Gal 5) His “fruit” is sweet to the taste and beautiful to the touch. This fruit is a result of intimate love with the Vine.
Jesus reminds us how to love intimately once more in our growing and maturing. “Love like I have loved you”, Jesus tells us. “This is the best way to love.” It is this intimate, organic, child like, unconditional love that sweetens the taste of the fruit we bear.
“I put you in the world to bear fruit.” “Love one another.” This is not a suggestion for us but a command from The Vine we are connected to as branches. Loving others, like Jesus loves, is a work of the Holy Spirit in us when we stay connected to The Vine.
John 15, The Message
The Vine and the Branches
1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
9-10 “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.
11-15 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
16 “You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
17 “But remember the root command: Love one another.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help us to love like you love. Prune what does not belong. Produce the fruit in us that will give You glory, honor and praise.
In Jesus Name, Amen