Based on the last verse in John 14 some would say Jesus and the disciples have left the building. Surprisingly to me not everyone thinks this is so clear. Just a cursory glance forward to John 18:1 points out the tip of the iceberg. So, rather than run down that rabbit trail I’ll leave it for another day.
This is one of my favorite passages. It’s all about connections – abiding – and I could spend a week or a lifetime here. I believe teaching is all about relating new information to something the hearer already knows and building from there. That is what is so masterful about Jesus’ teachings in parables and allegory. He doesn’t just engage the listeners’ ears as in John 14, now He remakes his message in a movie they have all seen before.
It’s like this in the vineyard. There are vinedressers who tend the vines and branches with the goal of producing fruit. Now I can imagine Jesus is excited about this illustration and if he had a napkin he would be whipping out His Monte Blanc and sketching lines and arrows.
Here’s the point – the branch cannot produce fruit unless it is vitally connected to the true vine. The power flows through the vine and when it seems like you are not getting the amps, you need just ask. Jesus says: “you branch – Me vine.”
Got it? Let’s move on. You can tell this “abiding” process is working by these signs:
• There is a lot of fruit and it’s lasting
• The vine and branches are talking
• The Father will be glorified
• The branches will be full of joy
Let’s not fail to identify the “power” – the power is Love – it’s the sticky stuff that runs through the vine and makes the attachments hold strong. How do you maintain the Love? Like Jesus said, “Keep My commandments – prefer My ways – pick Me!”
So what’s the fruit? “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”(John 14:12)
Okay, it’s one thing to love Jesus and be out there for Him and carrying on His work of spreading the Good News. It’s entirely another thing to have to do it in community. This is the call to Body Life if I have ever heard it. Why should I be surprised – God is the original community! Father, Son and Holy Spirit – equal in essence – singular in purpose – distinguished in duties – united in mutual appreciation.
Jesus identifies the makeup of the community. Friends – not slaves; chosen; in the know; appointed; empowered and given access. You are in this together – all of you.
This is Jesus’ example – the greatest love is to lay down your life for your friends – this is how you do community – you love one another.
God is the original community – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – equal in essence – singular in purpose – distinguished in duties – united in mutual appreciation.
Remember – the sticky glue of abiding is Love.
About the World?
They will know we are Christians by our love – by our love.