I am the Vine, May 6, 2012

Title:I am the Vine, May 6, 2012

Abiding in Christ - I am the Vine


James Boyce a New Testament professor in St. Paul writes the following about John chapters 14-16:  




"In these chapters the resurrected Lord comforts and encourages both the Johannine community and hearers today with the promise that we and they are not abandoned or left alone, but can be confident of the Lord’s continuing presence with us in the world. These words thus belong to and help shape a distinctive Johannine eschatology that understands life and salvation not as some distant or "heavenly" hope, but as the promise of an abundant life here and now constituted in the presence through the Spirit of the resurrected and living Lord."

As the sermon recounts – "Jesus had told the disciples about the way that they could be in the company of Jesus forever—even when he would no longer be much with them—Jesus had used a simple illustration that night as he talked to his disciples.
“I am the true vine, you are the branches, 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…"

 It’s about the here and now. Boyce continues "In the imagery of the vine and branches of our lesson, this "dwelling place" or "home" is now developed in the beautiful imagery of the intimate relationship of the Father, Jesus, and Jesus’ followers…Because the Father has raised Jesus from the dead, this Word of God now become flesh among us has an abiding and lasting presence — now continues to dwell among us. In the imagery of the vine that presence is underscored as abiding, lasting, and permanent.  

Twice he promises, I AM the vine. Once it is in Jesus relationship to God  The second time it is about Jesus’ relationship to the disciples. In both cases the relationship is "bearing more fruit" and in the end the Father is honored.  Boyce writes. "And in that promise something happens. There is an event in which we "become" something new — we are transformed by a new reality in which we are empowered and commissioned as disciples  "  

The word "abide" means believe. But is not static or unchanging role for the disciples. -"Vines are pruned and cleansed. Branches that wither and die are removed. This points to a constantly changing community that is called to be up and doing. This is a relationship of purpose and power."  Vines tend to grow in any direction  With Jesus we tend to grow in a direction- towards righteousness. 

The readings for this Sunday are here and the bulletin here.

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