Jesus is in his last days on the planet. He’s giving final instructions to his disciples.
Today’s topic? Gardening:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 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.
“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. 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. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I 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. You 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. This is my command: Love each other.”
Let’s look at our 2 BIG Questions:
1. Who exactly is Jesus?
He’s the “true vine.” The Father is the gardener. We’re the branches. The Holy Spirit is like the life-giving sap that runs from the vine to the branches.
2. What exactly does he want us to do?
Remain in him. If we stay connected to the vine, we’ll live and grow fruit. If we don’t, we die. It’s that simple.
So, what “fruit” does the Spirit help us grow? A cornucopia of fabulous stuff:
What’s first on the list? LOVE. As Jesus says: “Remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love.” If we do, he says we’ll have the second fruit on the list: JOY.
And what does Jesus command? He says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Just to make sure we don’t miss the point, he closes with this: “My command is this: Love each other.”
Want an awesome garden? Remain in Jesus and his love and spread that love to others.
There’s no other way to live.
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com /Gayane)