Jesus took an invisible-abstract idea and drew a picture of the intersection of a branch and grapevine. “I’m the vine and you’re the branches. Stay connected to me and you’ll produce barrels of grapes” (John 15:1-5–paraphrase). But Jesus said more. He told us how to live as a branch in a vine: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7, NASB).
It makes sense he would make following him so simple. He wants us to let his words live in us as he let his Father’s words live in him.
Because the words of the Bible express the mind of God, when we read, meditate and memorize them, we’re infusing our mind, soul and spirit with the thoughts of God. It occurred to me that the Word of God is a visible expression of the invisible God. When we hide his words in our mind, they become invisible again. Once within us, the invisible words of God are energized by the Holy Spirit to produce the life of Christ within us.
Before leaving the subject Jesus aid, “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” (John 15:10). Just as obedience brings a child within the protective love of his parents, so we live in God’s protective love when we obey him.
And so this abstract idea of abiding in Jesus is made concrete when we:
- Live in a state of relaxed reliance on him.
- Meditate on his word so it abides in us enabling us to abide in Jesus.
- Obey the commands of God so we abide in his love.
I think it’s profound that this is what Jesus taught his disciples on his way to Gethsemane, before his bloody prayers, his betrayal, his arrest, his six illegal trials, Peter’s denials, his repeated beatings and a scourging, the crown of thorns, carrying the cross before falling, nails driven into his wrists and feet, hoisted between the sky and earth, the mocking of his enemies, his seven last words. His death. And his resurrection. He wanted them to know what he had with the Father, they had with him.
Photo by: Aaron Burden