Make yourselves at HOME. . . . That’s our theme for this year. And as I mentioned last week, it’s taken from John 15 when Jesus is encouraging His dearest friends on the night before His crucifixion. This is a focused moment–an intimate time rich with symbolism and metaphors–as Jesus tries to describe a relationship that goes beyond the scope of words.
John 15:5-8 gives a framework for one way Jesus describes home:
“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.”
Today, I want to focus on the first line in which Jesus uses a gardening metaphor:
“I am the VINE, you are the BRANCHES”
Jesus wants His friends to know–He wants US to know–that making our HOME with Him gives life. Most importantly, it’s a life that comes from Jesus.
In nature, the vine always produces the branch, right? A vine grows and sprouts off to become branches that produce the fruit of the vine. It doesn’t go both ways; there are no lone branches out looking for a vine to hook on to. That’s silly!
But how often do we try to go it alone . . . tough it out . . . push through . . . move on without ever drawing support from our LIFELINE, Jesus?
- When we get a difficult phone call . . . who do we call? (sister, friend, husband)
- When we wake up in the night, fearful . . . how do we calm down? (food/drink, TV)
- When we’re worn out from too much busyness . . . how do we reset our focus? (exercise, new calendar app, better goals)
I’m not saying that any of those things are bad. They may be very good things to pursue in each of those cases. I am urging us not to miss an opportunity to go to Jesus first as our lifeline and allow Him to direct our next steps. Really! And how do I know He’s a sure lifeline?
Jesus chose YOU . . . He chose me . . . to produce life-giving fruit in His Name. He didn’t need to involve us at all, but He chose us.
Remember the story of Jesus’ first recorded miracle when He turned the water into wine? The life-giving Vine literally produced the fruit of the vine without the aid of time or fermentation process or even by using fruit! He brings fruitful living all by Himself AND He chooses to include us. Amazing. Grace.
Today, as we read these words of Jesus again, I’d like you to consider how attached you are to Jesus, drawing life from Him.
What kind of branch are you?
- Some branches are thick and sturdy from being fed by the vine for a long time.
- Other branches are small and soft because they’re new.
- Many fall somewhere in between . . . but all of us need the life of the vine.
The HOME Jesus describes comes by His choosing, by His life-giving purpose in each of our lives. I wonder what you think about that today. Do you need Jesus?
If you have a few minutes to reflect on that question, might I suggest this song as well:
Mind if I pray for us?
Life-giving Savior ~ yes, we need YOU. More than close friends and family, more than comfortable and easy lives, we need You to heal the ache in our hearts for Home. Stir us to life in ways we can’t possibly understand. And when that stirring brings uncomfortable growth, let us draw strength and purpose from Your Words of life and truth and hope. Amen.