“Remain in me, as I also remain in you.”
The Old Testament speaks of Israel being a vine that God brought out of Egypt, planted in the soil, watered … and waited for the fruits of justice and righteousness to appear. It never came. (See Psalm 80:8; Isaiah 3:14-15; 5:1-7.)
In the New Testament, Israel is no longer the vine, but we fol-lowers of Jesus are not the vine either. We don’t have the vitality, the strength of life within us, to grow and be fruitful any more than Israel did.
But Jesus does. “I am the true vine,” he says. “I have the strength and fullness of life sufficient to produce the fruits of righteousness and justice that God loves to see.”
Jesus is the vine! This means that all we have to be are branches! That we can handle, can’t we? “All you have to do,” says Jesus, “is remain in me. Remain attached to me so that my truth, my love, my compassion, my life can flow into you. Then you will produce the fruit that God loves to see!”
“Remain in me” is such a gracious phrase. Staying connected to Jesus is what we must do to produce fruit for his kingdom, the fruit of life. We do that by listening to him, watching him, and living by the power of his Spirit working in us. So the fruit we produce is the fruit of the Spirit, the fruit of love, the fruit of full life (see Galatians 5:22-25; 1 Corinthians 13). And we remain in him because he remains in us.
Thank you, Father, for grafting me onto the true vine. May the life of Jesus flow into me and through me to others. Amen.
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