We’ve all seen the films where a character with super powers is reliant on a special object or circumstance, without which he or she becomes weak and powerless. – Iron Man and his armoured suit, Thor and his hammer…
I’m certainly not likening myself to a superhero, (missed opportunity I know!) but according to the verses below Christians are similarly dependent – on a person – Jesus Christ!
5 ‘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. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.John 15
Jesus tells us that we are part of him, like a branch is part of a plant, and that we can’t be fruitful apart from him! ” If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers”
It’s a pretty clear image isn’t it? If you’re a follower of Jesus did you ever realise that you were this dependent?
Do you act like it?
I know that personally whenever things are going well, I quickly begin to rely on my own abilities as being enough for day to day life. Perhaps I’m more reliant on God for his wisdom and help when it comes to the big things, but I know I often don’t act anything like a branch attached to the vine that is Jesus!
I like to think that I’m my own little plant, industriously growing fruit that I will later (humbly) present to my maker! But he tells us himself that this is not going to be enough. If we want to bear good fruit – loving obedience, useful service, spiritual growth etc. We need to remain ‘in him’ – attached, dependent, reliant!
But this dependence is not presented as a burden.
Although this passage is a strong reminder to us not to stray from the vine as we seek to grow and serve as Christians, it contains some great promises too, that should make us wonder why we would ever consider detaching ourselves from Jesus in the first place!
9 ‘As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love…11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Isn’t that staggering? If you are a Christian then Jesus loves you and I as much as he himself is loved, in all his glorious perfection, by God the Father!
He simply invites us to remain in that love, to enjoy it, to depend on its certainty in everything that we do, and to have joy in this undeserved, but freely offered relationship with God himself.
When I reflect on this, it doesn’t seem like a chore at all but a very appealing invitation! And a kind of dependence that brings peace and joy, not limitation or drudgery.
It’s stupid for us to try to continue on our own, when such deep and inexhaustible resources are offered to us in Christ Jesus. He is not asking us to jump through hoops to get his help – only to remain in him, to be close to him, to ask help, and to feed on his strength and wisdom and righteousness!
If you have time why not read the whole passage in the Gospel of John, chapter 15 – There’s lots more that I haven’t mentioned!