Monday, June 17, 2013

God First, Man Second: Am I Repeating Myself?

Do you ever wonder if Jesus repeated Himself all the time? Maybe the stories the disciples wrote down were the stories Jesus told the most. After all, these guys were teenagers. How much were they actually taking notes? How much were they paying attention?

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.
And if you do?
  • 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.
Sooooo, Jesus, if I am to understand correctly, this is all about You. If I want to accomplish anything significant at all, it will be with You, right?

I think we might be getting somewhere.

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