In John 15, Jesus is with his disciples. He is teaching them. He is sharing with them. He is comforting them. Because the setting of John 15 has a dense weight, we are in an emotion filled environment. One we don’t fully understand until John 17. One that starts back in John 13 when we read, “Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father (John 13:1).”
Even to the disciples something about this night doesn’t seem right. The Passover dinner itself was filled with different words from the previous times they celebrated it with Jesus. Then there was a surprise that made the disciples uncomfortable. One even speaks out against having his feet washed by his teacher. And as the night continues, the disciples still find his teaching perplexing, hard to understand, and they ask him questions about what he is saying. Scripture just has Jesus continue to teach, through his example (in chapter 13), through telling the future (13), through promises (14), through analogies (15) and through prayer (17).
It is this night, with betrayal awaiting Jesus in the garden, that the disciples get a teaching about a vine and its branches and its gardener.
They get a teaching.
Or really, we get a teaching.
No really, we get an invitation.
An invitation along with a commandment. An invitation to Abide in Christ and a command to love one another.
A vine. Branches. Fruit.
The analogy of Jesus as the Vine and we as the branches brings such a vibrant picture to us. Jesus states plainly, if the branch does not remain in the vine, it does not bear fruit. If we, as ones who follow Christ, do not remain in the vine, we do not love.
For the next nine months, Little Rock Church is listening to the teaching of John 15 to lean into the very core of who we are as followers, allowing us to utilize language to evaluate what we do and where we are going. We have chosen the theme ABIDE & GO. Words that seem to be at odds. Abide–to remain and rest and Go—to bear fruit and serve.
ABIDE & GO. Both are expressions of our love for one another.
Christ invites us to ABIDE. Abide with him. May we live that out in our Sunday morning assembly, our House Church participation, and other Bible studies with love for one another. May we find ourselves in the midst of community being strengthened within the vine so that we may hold the fruit he has called us to bear. May we also listen to the command to love one another that has us GO. The obedience to “Go” does not only come from the command of loving one another but also from the Great Commission in Matthew 28. His love for us is now our motivation to love. His love moves. May we Go, as a church who serves in Baseline and Chicot Elementary, as ones who embrace Comunidad Cristiana Church, and as ones who are vigilant to see the next opportunity.
ABIDE & GO.