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Part of the FBCS 2010 Read Through the Bible Project: Enter the Story. Join the Song.

Staying Connected.

John 15:1-16:4   2 Chronicles 23   Psalm 80

“I am the vine, you are the branches” (John 15:5). In today’s readings, Jehoiada takes action to bring Israel back into covenant with the Lord (2 Chronicles 23:16), the psalmist speaks of Israel as a vine planted and tended by God (Psalm 80), and Jesus identifies himself as the “true vine” (John 15:1). And his followers? “You are the branches.” In these ways, the texts come together to give us the opportunity to reflect upon what it means to stay connected with God in Jesus . . .

“Abide in me” (John 15:4). To “abide” is to remain or stay. It is the same word used by Jesus when, in the garden, he instructs his disciples to “stay” with him, watching and praying (Matthew 26:38). Here,  it is an instruction to stay “in” him as he “stays in” us . . . and with the image of the vine, branches, and fruit, he makes it clear that this staying is a life or death matter, because “apart from me you can do nothing” (v.5). And how is it that we are to go about staying connected? Well. It should come as no surprise that it is through prayer (v.7) and obedience (v.9,10). Again. And still. And the evidence of this abiding? This staying connected?

“Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit” (John 15:5. See also Galatians 5:22-23). And those who do not stay connected “can do nothing.” So how is it with us? Are we bearing fruit? Or are our lives stuck in a “do nothing” state? And, if it is the latter, what can we do to bring about a change? Re-connect and stay connected through prayer and obedience. In other words, follow the model of Jesus, who stayed connected to the Father by keeping his commandments. May we learn the lesson of the fruitful vine: stay connected. Amen. 

“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”
     — John 15:10

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