March 30, 2024

Jesus Unites Us

John 15:1-12

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. . . .

—  John 15:5

Are we really united to Jesus like branches to a vine? Yes, and amen! And does that mean we are also united with other people who are Christians? Yes, it does.

If we are united with Christ, we are like a branch of the holy vine of God. Yet there are other branches too, and the people represented by all those branches are loved by God just as we are—even if we might disagree with them in some ways or don’t understand why they believe as they do. Sadly, there are divisions in the worldwide church of Jesus Christ, and those can often be ugly and unnecessary. Do different Christians see things differently? Yes. Do they act differently? Yes. May we separate from them, when they are living branches in the vine of Christ? No. To do so would be arrogant and hurtful.

Sometimes, however, people come up with false teachings that deny the truth of Christ (as in 1 John 2:18-27). And if they insist on following those teachings, they can mislead others and cut themselves off from the vine of Christ. That is a terrible tragedy, and we need to know how tragic it is when something like that happens. Let’s do all we can to remain united with Christ and with the other branches of Christ’s church. Jesus says, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love. . . . Love each other as I have loved you.”

Forgive us, Lord, if we think that we are always right and that others should conform to our way. May we seek unity in you, the true vine. Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Kent Van Til was a missionary in Costa Rica. He taught theological ethics both there and in the USA. He is the author of four books. The most recent is a spiritual biography of his grandmother entitled, "A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant's Story." Kent likes to fish, hunt, make music, and entertain his grandchildren.

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