We stepped forward into a new year of Bible Studies with our Tuesday Morning group this week. Women representing every decade of life and experience filled the coffee house, sharing great food, lively conversation and uplifting music. Imagine yourself sitting among us as I shared these words:
“Make yourselves at home . . .” That’s our hope for you today and every Tuesday Morning. But it goes beyond the lovely room, the encouraging music, the warm conversation. We long for you to make yourselves at home in a spiritual sense as well.
These words come from Jesus in John 15 as he prepares them for His crucifixion. Jesus has already graciously hosted them to a Passover feast. He made arrangements for the room, He served each one by washing their feet, and now he shares His deepest longing with His dearest friends:
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”
What a promise! That’s the kind of thing you expect to hear when tomorrow is going to be a bright new day . . .
Like a parent who says, “Just a few more miles on the road, then we can settle into the resort, kids. Tomorrow there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet for breakfast and then … it’s off to Disney Land!”
Or the coach with a pep talk: “Great first half – what teamwork! Stick with it and we’re sure to win this thing!”
But that’s not the bright tomorrow in store for this band of followers who’d given their energy and potential for the sake of the gospel.
I wonder what the disciples were thinking about this table talk when they realized that Jesus was gone. Could these have been some of their questions?
- How could they make themselves at home with Him now?
- Were they doomed to the tomb He was lying in?
- Was all that teamwork deadwood now?
- How could God bring fruit from this?
Jesus gave them the answer, “if . . . my words are at home in you.”
Because we are reading those words today, we know that John did in fact write them for us to fulfill the life-giving words of Jesus and produce fruit.
Jesus, the Word made flesh, wasn’t confined to a tomb, but breathed life through His Spirit to all who would believe in His resurrection. That Spirit counsels and convicts us of the True Words of Jesus.