Fifth week of Easter
Jesus said “Make your home in Me, as I make Mine in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am The Vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me, with Me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from Me you can do nothing.” John Chapter 15 (JB)
We begin this fifth week of Easter with Jesus describing Himself as the True Vine. We are to remain in Him so He may remain in us. Without Him and apart from Jesus we will wither and die – spiritually. He has come to bring us life –‘Life in all its fullness and abundance.’ John 10:10. Jesus’ Spirit, the promised Holy Spirit, is the water we need to keep us alive and nurture our souls as they grow deeper into Jesus and are part of Him as the Living and True Vine.
It can seem like our lives are anything but vibrant, abundant and alive. The trials of life with all its hurts and sorrows weigh us down and cause us to feel as if we’re separated from God – we sometimes feel that if God really loved us then we would not be going through difficulties. The reality is that God is especially close to us during these times and asks us to trust Him.
Being a follower of Jesus as a Christian does not make us exempt from heartache, unhappiness or the worst that life can throw at us. Faith in Jesus can only help to strengthen us in our suffering, knowing that Jesus Himself has walked the path of deep emotional, physical and mental hurt and knows what we are going through as well. After all, we were the very reason for His coming to earth as a man, to be born into the world. Jesus knows the ins and outs of life with all its joys and sorrows. He knew what it was like to be born into a family unit – to have friends and wider relations. He knew what it was like to grow up as the little boy of Nazareth, he knew the responsibilities placed upon Him as the young man taking over the family carpentry business from St Joseph and willingly embraced the ordinaries of human life by remaining hidden from the world for so many years. He knew what it was like to lose a loved one in death and He Himself experienced death which made His loved ones left behind suffer so terribly.
Jesus remained firmly rooted in the Love of His Father which kept Him focused upon the rescue mission which the Father had entrusted to Him – to tell the world about the Father’s Love and offer the invitation to enter into a restored relationship with the Father which we had lost through our sin. The fruit of Jesus’ faithfulness and rootedness in the Father was the Glory of the Resurrection. In this Easter season we too can rise to new life with Jesus if we choose to remain with Him and have fellowship with the Father in the Love of the Holy Spirit and allow ourselves to be grafted into the Vine.
Let us pray this week for all who are weighed down by suffering and feel apart from God. May the Holy Spirit draw them close to the Father and graft them into the True Vine who is Jesus Our Lord. Amen.