Contained in the Gospel According to John are a series of “I AM” statements. In several places, Jesus gives good news to people by claiming that what they need – He is.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
In the hot, growing season in Florida we are acutely aware of how things grow and don’t grow. If a branch is connected to the trunk, the vine, or the roots of the plant, and there is plenty of water available, growth happens. But, if a branch gets torn loose by wind or rough treatment, that branch which has become partially or fully disconnected won’t thrive.
Jesus used that image to talk about life, joy, and abundance. As we stay connected to Jesus as the vine, our joy may be complete and our lives will produce abundant fruit.
In scripture reading, prayer, and meditation, let’s stay connected.
God, You are my source of power and nourishment. Keep me connected to Your love and grace, and help that love to flow through my works to those around, in Christ’s name I pray. Amen.