This week, in John 15, we come to the passage from which the title of our series appears - 'Abide in me, and I in you,' says Jesus to his disciples. The vine imagery used by Jesus is a reminder of Israel's failure to produce the fruit the Father desired. In the last of Jesus' 'I am...' statements, we hear that HE is the 'true vine'. Only in him can we 'bear fruit' which remains. However, for this take place, there is much cutting and pruning - no branch is spared the gracious, yet sometimes severe, tending of the vinedresser - the Father.
All of this takes place in the flow of the love of God, the joy and obedience of the Son and, most significant of all, the laying down of the life of the Son for his friends, so that our joy might be full, and that we might receive whatever we ask in his name and bear much fruit, all to the Father's glory.
There is no life apart of the vine - no life apart from our union with Christ. But in him, there is abundant and eternal life, love and joy, and the bearing of much fruit. This is what we have been created, chosen and appointed to be and to do as we abide in Christ. Only in him do we live and move and have our being.
Ray is Senior Pastor at Coromandel Baptist Church, South Australia. Before being appointed to this role in January 2012 and during his years of theological study at the Bible College of South Australia, Ray was Student Pastor at the church. Prior to this he was a high school...