John 15 – Vines, Branches, and Gardeners

I remember a summer when my Mom and Grandma grew grapes in our backyard. The vines grew along a fence, tangling here, there, and everywhere. I was young enough I wasn’t much help, but I was only in it for the grape jelly, anyway.

I don’t remember much about how to care for them, but the vines fascinated me. The flow of one vine sprouting, spiraling, and flowing in every twisty direction made a maze of vines nearly impossible to follow.

In John 15, Jesus used the image of that tangle of vines to explain His relationship to His followers because they needed to understand three roles: God the Father’s, His own, and ours. If we’re going to follow Jesus, we need to understand where we fit in.

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John 14 – Parting Gifts

The time was drawing near for Jesus to return to His Father, and as the Passover celebration continued, Jesus (having taught His disciples about humility and love, and then predicted His betrayal) began to give His disciples some parting gifts to aid them in their journey, which would soon have to go on without His physical presence.

Some of these gifts can be found in the 14th chapter of the gospel of John, and I encourage you to go read all about them, now, since they can be yours, too, if you accept them.

I’d also be more than happy to tell you about them…

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John 11 – Life and Death

He waited four days.

Four days.

Why? Lazarus was his friend. Hadn’t they sent word? Didn’t He care? If He’d only shown up a few days earlier. He had healed everything from blindness to lameness. No sickness was beyond His power, was it? Surely not.

And yet, He waited.

As Lazarus got sicker, even His closest followers wondered when Jesus would make His way to Lazarus’ home. They were relieved when he said Lazarus had fallen asleep, then bewildered when Jesus explained Lazarus was truly dead.

None of this made any sense, as far as they were concerned.

It made sense to Jesus, though. He knew what they didn’t.

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John 10 – My sheep know my voice.

Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd in John 10. I guess that makes me one of His sheep.  I think I can live with that. After all, a good shepherd does a lot for the sheep. He protects, guides, and provides for his sheep; He even sacrifices Himself for His sheep.

We could sure use it, too. Every kind of trap laid by the enemy is waiting for us, every temptation to compromise, every lure to go astray, every bad choice we could make will likely look as good as possible if left to our own devices.

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