This past Sunday, by God’s providence, God had us in John 15. I couldn’t think of a better passage of Scripture that reminds us of the great privilege and great refuge that we have to abide in Jesus. It’s here that we see: As we abide in Jesus, we embrace our identity in Jesus and live for Jesus.
We Embrace Who We Are in Jesus: v.1-3
In the first few verses, Jesus makes clear that we are to find our identity in Him. We see this in His first statement about being the true vine. The vine was a metaphor often used of Israel in the Old Testament. Here, Jesus is identifying with Israel, and by extension us. But He makes the statement that He is the true vine. The implication here, is that Jesus does what Israel cannot: bear fruit and be faithful. This first statement is loaded with gospel implication that speaks to our identity ultimately being found in Christ. Further, He addresses our sanctification in verse 2. He does so by addressing the pruning work of God in our lives; that God is actively reforming and refining us. Even today, amidst all that’s going on, God is using this situation to prune us. He may be revealing idols in our lives. He may be causing us to see that our hope hasn’t been fixed in Jesus and He is returning us to that. He may be unearthing other fears or insecurities that need to be addressed in us. What we need to remember is He is doing that for our God, so that we can return to the place where we find our identity in Jesus and in nothing else.
We Live Our Lives by Abiding in Jesus: v.4-11
Moving from our identity, Jesus addresses what it is to abide. When we abide we bear fruit, have empowered prayer, glorify God, keep Jesus’ commands and experience the joy of Jesus. It’s an incredibly rich reality of what is afforded to us as we abide in Jesus. But loved ones, what I want to encourage and exhort us toward, and I think they have a profound sense in all that is unfolding around us, and that’s verse 5. Jesus says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” The action, response or move of the Christian is not bearing fruit. It’s not the inverse of that and doing nothing either. The action for us is to abide. It’s for us to trust in Jesus. It’s for us to persevere in Jesus. It’s for us to surrender to Jesus. This is a great word of hope! We have the opportunity, privilege and gift to find refuge, hope, security, identity and life in Jesus. We do so by simply abiding in Him. I get that these are strange days. But I also get that what we need most is Jesus, and what He offers to us, is Himself. The best thing you and I can do is to abide in Him. Live your life by abiding in Jesus.