Devotion Text: John 15:9-17
What’s it all about?
As we get bogged down by the hustle and bustle of this life, what is the point? We trudge out of bed each morning to the same job that we might like, but we certainly don’t love. We interact with the same people that aren’t nearly as nice to us as they should be. Things don’t seem to get any better like we hoped they would be. If anything, things are getting worse around us and worse within us as we struggle with pain, sickness and sadness.
So we go to church, but what is that all about? Jesus died for me and that’s great, but it hasn’t paid down my student loans or credit card debt! God may have created the world, but my world is crashing down around me and he doesn’t seem to be doing anything about it!
So, what is the point!?
Jesus sets the table for us here in the gospel of John giving us the focus of our faith and the meaning of our life–love.
God’s love for us drives our life, giving us both purpose for our life and a guide for how we are to live. Since God loved us we seek to mirror that love through obedience to God and selflessness to our neighbors. That love drives our desire to share God’s love with those who do not know it and to proclaim it through word and song in worship.
God’s love is the point and purpose of this life and he inspires us to love one another.
Prayer: Risen Lord, thank you for your indescribable love to me. I did not deserve your perfect life and innocent death for me and I do not deserve your constant aid. Yet, you love me freely and completely. Help me to mirror that love to my friends, family and neighbors and use me as an instrument to share your love with them. Amen.
4th Sunday of Easter
Remain in the Vine!
Text: John 15:1-8
“I am the bread of life . . . I am the light of the world . . . I am the gate . . . I am the Good Shepherd (that’s next Sunday) . . . I am the resurrection and the life . . . I am the way, the truth, and the life.” This week we hear the last of Jesus’ seven dearly loved “I am” statements. Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.”
Of the seven “I am” statements, this might be one of the most challenging for us to understand. We don’t live in an agricultural society. Most of us have no clue about growing things like grapes on a vine. We go to the store and pick out the fruit that looks juiciest and ripest and we take it right home to eat. We never even think about the hard work put in, the care and attention given to the branches, or the importance of the vine that the branches grew on. All we care about is the product, the fruit.
Yet while farming isn’t in our DNA, this is a metaphor that is simple enough for us to understand what Jesus is saying. It comes down to one key phrase that comes up over and over again—eight times in eight verses. Jesus tells us: Remain in the Vine! Read the rest of this entry
Text: John 15:1-8
Comforting and famous words from Jesus today: I am the vine, you are the branches.
If you were to sum up the entire section in one phrase it could be this: Remain in me.
You and I left to ourselves have nothing to do with the true vine, Jesus Christ. We aren’t a part of the vine and we never could be. Sinful and imperfect branches have no business being a part of a holy and perfect vine. Yet graciously Jesus has grafted us in to be branches that are now a part of the vine. He has cleaned (or pruned) us of our sin by forgiving us through his life and death in our place.
So Jesus gives us this encouragement over and over and over: Remain in me.
As we remain a part of Christ we will remain branches attached to the vine. As we remain a part of Christ we will remain branches that produce good fruits of love. As we remain a part of Christ we will remain branches that will stay attached for all eternity!
What a blessing to be a branch attached to the vine, Jesus Christ.
So dear friends . . . Remain in him!
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, in your mercy you have adopted us into your family as living branches attached to you, the great vine. Keep us firm and steadfast in our faith that we might remain in you and bear much fruit to your glory and the glory of our heavenly Father. We pray in your name. Amen.
The Festival of Pentecost
Our Powerful God Uses Powerful Tools to Communicate a Powerful Truth
Text: John 15:26-27
When God speaks, powerful things happen. God spoke and there was light. God spoke and the ground ripped asunder and floodwaters covered the earth. God spoke and 100-year-old Abraham and his barren wife Sarah had a son. God spoke and an entire sea split in half for two million Israelites to pass through on dry ground. God spoke and a virgin conceived and gave birth. God spoke and the crippled stood up and the blind could see. God spoke and the winds and the waves obeyed. When God speaks, powerful things happen.
Yet these words only scratch the surface of the power our God has displayed in his words. It is astonishing that a universe could be stitched together in six days. It is astounding that a virgin named Mary could have a Son. It is amazing that a storm might obey one’s command to “Be still.” But yet there are other words that extend beyond the human brain’s power of cognition. Read the rest of this entry