You can’t more direct than this

Now, hang in there, I know it’s a bit of reading but it’s good.

John 15:1-17 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  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. 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you his so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

You are a part of something.  Jesus lays out the metaphor of the vine and its branches to illustrate just how connected we should be to him.  It’s a great metaphor because we all understand what happens to a part of any plant disconnected from the rest of the plant.  It dies.  Without roots, it withers.  Jesus makes it clear where those parts go, into flame.  Don’t flame out.  Jesus wants us to burn but not in this way.  He wants us to burn with his love.

One of my favorite verses is number thirteen, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  Being part of the vine as we all are makes us all friends, at least in some fashion.  We may not hang out and watch football together every Saturday but if we are of Jesus and of God that makes us all brothers and sisters.  So if we exhibit the love Jesus urges we will give up our life for each other.  That doesn’t mean die.  It means we will put aside our plans, our goals and yes, even our precious schedules for the good of one of our own.  We are all each other’s.  Think about that for a minute.  Try and remember it today.  That person in traffic, that person on the other end of the phone, that person you woke up with, they are your own.  You have a right, a responsibility, a command to take care of them, to love them.  Jesus can’t say it any more plainly than he does in seventeen, “This is my command: Love each other.”

So go, do, be good to each other.  As part of the vine, even if you feel you’re only a small branch, with Jesus in you and the strength of his love.  Be kind.

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