Devotional Reading: 1 John 4:16b-21; Highlighted Text – John 15:1-17
Key Verse – “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
As others, I can appreciate a good glass of wine. And we are familiar with the famous Bible scene when Jesus turned water into wine. My little girl loves to eat grapes. When her curiosity asked where grapes came from, it was an interesting delight in explaining it to her, as well as, considering how it relates to producing wine. Even more interesting is the vine symbolism that Jesus illustrates to His disciples as they walk through a vineyard as He is just a few hours away from the Cross. Whether it be grapes, wine or whatever delicacy you enjoy, do you consider the process it had to go through to be produced? When was the last time you thought about the root cause of something? Whether it be a condition, an action or attitude. Whatever is produced came from a source. Think about this as we move forward in today’s lesson.
Jesus, the Vine (John 15:1-3)
Have you ever endured what seemed to be a spiritually dead season during your Christian walk? You felt as though you were empty and could not really explain your drought? This is what happens when rotten fruit mingles with good fruit. In this passage, Jesus explains the connection of the vine and its branches, demonstrating the relationship between Himself and the disciples. He goes on to explain how God the Father is the “husbandman” the one who cultivates the vineyard. The husbandman is the one who takes care of pruning and repositioning branches so that they can continue to grow and bear fruit.
Point to ponder: What in your life needs pruning right now so that you can grow spiritually?
Conditions for Fruit-Bearing (John 15:4-8)
A branch can not produce fruit or grow if it is not properly connected to the vine and being taken care of by the cultivator. In order for Christians to continue to grow spiritually, we must be connected to Jesus, God the Son who is connected to God the Father. This connection is maintained by a continuous prayer life, praise and worship to God, reading the Word and discipleship, which allows us to mature and lay aside those dead weights.
Point to ponder: Are you doing what it takes to stay connected to the vine?
Abiding in Love (John 15:9-11)
God is love. We can not say that we love God or that we are connected to Jesus and we do not produce the fruit of love. God loves us so much that He sacrificed His son, Jesus. Are we willing to make sacrifices in order to produce more love in our lives towards one another?
Point to ponder: Are you being obedient to God’s commandments?
I Am a Friend of God (John 15:12-17)
Jesus starts this passage off by unambiguously stating his commandment of loving one another to the disciples. There is no greater love than one that has sacrificed. He tells the disciples that He considers them friends. This means that He does not consider everyone a friend. Just as we have conditions by which we consider others our friends, so does Jesus. In order to be Jesus friend, we must obey His commandments. This is made easy to do when we recognize and appreciate the sacrifice that He made for us, when we do the work to stay connected to Him and allow Him to prune us of the barriers that try to disconnect our relationship with Him.
Point to Ponder: God has chosen you to be in a relationship with Him. Do you value it?
As you study on your own or with others today, identify what Jesus considers to be fruit bearing Christians. Discuss ways that you can be fruit producing believers that please God. What are some of the benefits of producing good fruit? How will your branch help other branches around you? Is your branch damaging other branches around you?
Father God, we thank you for your son, Jesus who allowed His vines to be crushed so that He could produce the best fruit; productive Believers. God, I give your Holy Spirit permission to examine my life and identify any part of me that is not producing love and not evangelizing others. Forgive me Father for the sins that have caused me not to be productive and those that I have failed to do in order to stay productive in your eyesight. God prune me this week, so that I can have another testimony of how your love has manifested in my life.
In Jesus name, Amen.