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Photo by J. Luca on UnSplash. Used by permission.

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5).

Since he did much of his teaching in small villages and agricultural areas, Jesus often taught using agricultural analogies. Grapes were a likely subject; grapes are the most planted fruit all over the world (Source: Newsweek). Grapes grown for wine were very prevalent in the Roman, Greek and Palestinian cultures that Jesus lived in, and had been for millennia. They would not have had to walk far to come across a vineyard.

In these verses in John 15 he compares his followers to branches of a grape vine, himself to the main vine. Since the purpose of a grape branch is to bear grapes, it must be connected to the life-giving vine. Jesus intends for us each to abide in him and promises that he will abide in us, collectively. And then Jesus makes the startling assertion: “Apart from me you can do nothing.” If a branch is not connected to the vine, not only will it produce no grapes, it will simply wither up and die.  When a branch is connected to the vine, it receives life-giving, fruit-producing nutrients.

Every follower of Jesus desires to do something for him.  That is in our nature. Jesus turns this around. Jesus says we should focus, not on what we do for him (as if he needed our help) but on abiding in him. To abide in Jesus is not an intellectual activity.  Some people think that all we have to do to abide in Jesus is to believe the right doctrines or behave the right way. That’s not what Jesus was talking about. To abide in Jesus is to have an ongoing, living relationship with him.  We stay connected to him, we feed on him, and we let him be our sufficiency.  Jesus has provided his Spirit to abide in and among us, for just this purpose (John 14:17).

Prayer: “Come, Holy Spirit, and nurture that life-giving connection to Jesus Christ. For apart from Jesus, I can do nothing.”   



Joan Koole 4 months ago

Thanks Mark, Grapes are one in my favorite fruits
Good visual reminder

Rev.  Mark  Broadus Rev. Mark Broadus 4 months ago

Thanks, Joan. Grapes are good in so many ways. One of Jesus' favorites too! :)

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