Thursday, November 8, 2012

Nov 8: John 15

John 15
In this passage Jesus teaches his disciples using a vine as an analogy. A grapevine is a good plant to picture. We are the branches fed nutrients by the vine. As branches we are pruned by the gardener, who is God. The words "prune" and "clean" are translated from the same Greek word, which explains the jump in verses two and three. Notice that God prunes the branches so they will become more fruitful. This happens throughout our lives as we follow Jesus. God brings and takes away opportunities as well as hardship and abundance.

As Jesus expands on this teaching he hits at four important concepts:
  1. Remain in Jesus’ love by obeying his commands and Jesus’ words will remain in you.
  2. Ask for whatever you wish and it will given to you, provided it aligns with God's desires.
  3. This is to God’s glory and He makes you bear fruit that will last.
  4. The world will hate and persecute you for what God is doing in your life.
It would be nice if number four above wasn’t on the list, but Jesus knows the time of his death is near so he doesn’t hold anything back from his friends. It turns out that this really happened to the disciples. When many people began to follow Jesus the Jewish leadership persecuted them. Today in the United States the government doesn’t persecute Christians for their faith, but it's different in other countries.

Regardless of persecution Jesus tells us to obey his commands. When we are faithful to Jesus we bear fruit. Paul expanded on this fruit in Galatians 5:22-23. Read these two verses and then replace the words “the Spirit” with your name. How does that sound? What parts of that verse don’t work with your name? Focus on those fruits that don’t yet fit you and follow God’s lead to become more of whatever that is.

-Written for Verve by Mike Zimmerman