When I was younger, I remember hearing pastors and speakers who did not appear to be using notes. I was amazed. Then I realized they fall into two main categories. The first are the speakers who have one sermon they preach while travelling for a year. If I had a single sermon to preach, I could probably memorize it as well.
The second category were those preachers who just rambled and said whatever came to mind. I could do that too, but that's doesn't seem quite as amazing.
There do seem to be times when Jesus begins to repeat Himself. I found just such a spot when reading John 15 the other day. I imagine Jesus, while preparing this message, saying to Himself, "I really want the guys to get this. Maybe if I say it over and over..."
John 15 is where Jesus identifies Himself as the vine and His followers as the branches. It's a pretty simple word picture. Even someone who is not a gardener can understand that the branch will not survive unless it is connected to the vine. I have not once picked up sticks in my yard and wondered why they weren't growing fruit. Not. Once.
But Jesus seems to emphasize the point.
- I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.
- Remain in me, and I will remain in you.
- Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches
Jesus wants us to stay connected. And if we don't?
- For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
- For apart from me you can do nothing.
- Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.
- Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.
- Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.
- But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!
- You are my true disciples.
- This brings great glory to my Father.
I think we might be getting somewhere.