A word from Jean at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church for Advent. And very timely for me.
December 8 The True Vine
“I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.”
Perhaps the reason I love this name of Jesus so much is the beautiful word picture it paints. It’s probable that when Jesus spoke these words to His disciples they had just left the upper room and were walking through a vineyard on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was the night of His betrayal. He was preparing His followers for life without His physical presence. How could they conceive that it would be better for them for Jesus to go away? What could be better than the flesh-and-blood nearness of their Master, hearing His voice, looking into His eyes, feeling the warmth of His touch, following in His footsteps as together they walked the dusty roads? How could they live apart from Him?
As Jesus had done with His disciples so often, He again chose to use something in the earthy physical realm to illustrate something in the spiritual realm. From this time forward, the sight of vines and branches heavy with clusters of grapes would hold new meaning. They would see what happened to the branches that were attached to the vine; they would bear fruit. As well, they would see what happened to the branches that were no longer attached to the vine; they would not bear fruit.
Jesus’ use of this simple metaphor has provided a profound truth for all those who would follow Him from that time forward. Just as the branch is completely dependent upon the vine to provide everything needed to produce its fruit; so are Jesus’ disciples completely dependent upon Him to provide everything needed to produce the fruit of lives that bring glory to His name.
Was it better for His disciples that Jesus would no longer be with them in the flesh? Yes, for though He would walk beside them no longer, through His Holy Spirit He would soon be within them. They would then experience the life of the True Vine flowing through them, infusing them with power and enabling them to live fruitfully for Him. Time and again in my own life I have experienced the dismal results of attempting life on my own, apart from Him. Thankfully however, because of His mercy and grace, He is using those times to teach me this timeless truth – apart from Him I cannot do a thing of eternal value!
Follower of Jesus, can you live apart from Him?
Heavenly Father, help me to stay, to remain, to abide in vital union with Jesus, the One True Vine, knowing that without Him I can do nothing. AMEN