Connect: Abide in the vine
Read: John 15:1-17
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Jesus is the vine. The simplicity of this passage is that no branch can create fruit by itself. It must remain connected to the vine.
We are the branches. Each branch, whilst connected to the vine, has this amazing capacity to bear fruit. According to this chapter, a life well-lived is a fruitful life. It’s about each of us remaining in Jesus, being transformed in character and exercising our God-given gifts over the years of our lives, representing Jesus. But we’re also told that if we do not remain in Jesus, then we will not be fruitful.
So how do we remain in Jesus, the true vine?
The term ‘abide’ is used in this passage and has three connotations. Firstly, it’s about a two-way connection with Jesus as we connect with him and as he, by his Spirit, lives in us. Secondly, it’s about being dependent on Jesus. As the branch receives water, minerals, and nutrients from the vine, so we are aware of our dependence on Jesus. And thirdly, it’s about longevity. It’s about choosing to be connected to the true vine for the long haul.
Very practically, abiding in Jesus is about meditating on his words (v7), obediently following him (v10) and simply remaining in his love (v9-10). And it’s this theme of love that Jesus goes on to unpack as he love commands his disciples to “Love each other” (v17).
When you see a vine with its many branches and bunches of grapes, you see this analogy in action. It’s incredible how many branches can connect with the vine. In the same way, we as individual Christians are not lone branches but part of something much bigger. As Christians, we are connected to the one true vine, Jesus. As the disciples were called to love one another almost two thousand years ago, so we today, as his Church, are called to love one another.
Part of our role as parents, as we look to inspire faith in our children, is to make them aware that they are part of something much bigger. When we abide in Jesus, we become part of his Church, his family. A practical challenge is around how we can help our kids feel that they belong to the Church.
The good news for me from this passage of Scripture is that it is a reminder again that passing on the baton of faith is not ultimately our responsibility. The word for ‘gardener’ is better translated vinedresser – a person who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines. It is God who prunes us to be more fruitful. We do not have to concoct clever strategies and worry about processes. Our role as parents is ultimately about abiding in Jesus, belonging to his Church and partnering with God in helping our children know him.
As a family
Plan a picnic with a group of people from church. It might be another family, or some older grandparent figures. But take some time together to help your children know that they are part of God’s family – and that we’re all connected to the true vine. Abide in Jesus together!
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