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‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunesto make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.' (John 15:1-8) Dear Friend, good day to you and yours! I trust this finds you well and you are preparing for a great weekend leading up to a glorious Lord's Day when we will remember and celebrate Palm Sunday! Having just returned from our time in the Holy Land, the Bible has come alive for those of us on the trip. Many of you will remember that on Fridays I had been sharing a bit on Jesus' "I Am" sayings, and today we conclude those with this powerful declaration from our Lord: "I am the true vine."
Grapes were key to the Jewish people. We read about them in both the Old Testament and New Testament. Vineyards and the work associated with them were key in Jesus' teachings. But, this passage stresses the truth about our relationship with Him and God: Jesus is the vine, and God is the vine-grower, the owner, el jefe o el patrón. We as the branches are called to bear fruit and this comes only by our abiding in Jesus. To abide means to live in Him, as He lives in us. No other way will allow us to be fruitful. "Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing." Our faithfulness and fruitfulness depends on how we seek to live in Christ. Do we start, live, and end our day in constant prayer? That to me says we are abiding. Do we seek to make decisions guided by our thoughts centered on Christ? That to me says again, abiding. Do we seek to bring others to that same knowledge of love and forgiveness that Christ offers to all of us? That say abiding and it also says life.
We're about to end our Lenten Journey. We have walked many a mile and many a day with the Lord leading to His triumphant entry into Jerusalem this Sunday. Much is still to happen in Jesus' life in the coming week, and we know what Friday next holds. But, thank God, we know what Resurrection (Easter) Sunday also holds! Ours is a faith of victory and triumph, and nothing nor no one can defeat us as we seek to abide in the Lord. I pray that as we live this day with all its blessings and challenges we would be victorious in the Lord.
PRAYER: Loving God, bless and protect this dear reader as they live out this day. Abide in us as we seek to abide in You. Help us be faithful and fruitful. May the challenges and obstacles that we encounter be only temporary. This we pray in Christ Jesus' holy name, amen.
Have a great and blessed day in the Lord! Abide in the Lord as He will abide in you!