KINGDOM AND GARDEN
Read: John 15:1-8
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 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.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. 6 If 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.7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (NIV John 15:1-8)
Study: Israelites often saw themselves as part of a vineyard God tended. A golden sculpture of a vine over the porch of the Jerusalem Temple reinforced the image. Jesus used that image, but applied it differently. When his followers stayed united to him like branches to a vine, Jesus said, their lives would bear the kind of fruit God sought. As Christ-followers, we do not commit to an impersonal set of ideas, but to the person of Jesus. If you imagine a story in which one branch from a vine or tree decided that it didn’t need the vine, and could “go it alone,” you realize that branch would soon wither and die. How does your personal Bible reading and prayer reinforce your connection to Jesus? In what ways do other Christians help keep you “in Jesus”?
Pray: Lord Jesus, keep me connected to you today. Let me be a branch through which your divine love can flow freely to bless the lives of other people around me. Amen.