Monday, November 18, 2013

Jesus' Farewell in John 15-16-17

"Rise let us go from here"...... are the words Jesus spoke at the end of John 14. 
Rise, do not let the world drag you down....
let us go from here......
Remember friends, this world is not our own......

 I am the True Vine
 God's vineyard is a common Old Testament imagery for Israel. Read through Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Psalm and Ezekiel and you will find countless mention of the vineyard.
  I will sing for the one I love
    a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
    on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones
    and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
    and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
    but it yielded only bad fruit.
Isaiah 5:1-2
 God carefully cultivated His vineyard and in due time expected good fruits from it. Prophets after prophets warned the people of Israel about the impending doom of the fall and captivity. Israel was already captive of its own desires and selfish ambition and turned a deaf ear to the warnings. God's hand of protection was removed from them.

"I am the true vine and my father is the vinedresser." John 15:1

John here is not suggesting a replacement theology. WE are not the new vine, WE are not the new Israel.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the good fruits the vine will bear.
 What does this mean for us? Does it mean that we are good to go once we are "Christians"? In God's economy there is no fire insurance.

Jesus cam so that the Father may be glorified. We have a choice to to go along with the plan and glorify God through Jesus or be thrown into the fire.....

I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life...
NOBODY comes to the Father but through me.
 Can grape grow and live outside of the vine?
If we are the grapes we can only live if still attached to the vine.

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." John 15:7

Ladies, we have been faithful in reading and studying the word and I encourage you to on going. Never give up. The stakes are too high!

Any gardener knows that for a plant to flourish you have to prune it. I learned this year that in order for tomatoes to redden faster you need to prune all the leaves around the fruit.

 Pruning will be a constant in your Christian walk. It is necessary for growth and to produce better fruits.
Is it worth it?
 "You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:14-15

Jesus calls us friends.
Can you wrap your mind around this? The God who created everything calls us friends. Do not let this thought just pass by. Let this dwell in you. Let this be a constant light throughout the day.

The vine metaphor is one of a very close-knit relationship God has restored with us through his son. A very intimate relationship that will grow if we stick through the process.

Love is the glue that holds it all together.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:13

Spoken hours before being arrested...beaten...crucified.....
Here is where so much does not compute with me.

Jesus loves me
I love Jesus
We are one.

He died for each and every one of us and yet the world hates him.
When we choose to be of this world and live in this world and enjoy this world, we hate him.

I would NEVER say that I hate Jesus, yet I live in this world and I am attracted by many things in this world.

Life with Jesus seems too hard and costly at times. Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 4:9-13
For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. (Emphasis mine)
 We like to be popular and being a follower of Jesus is rarely popular. We raise children in opposite world, our marriages are in opposite world. Opposite, old fashioned, archaic......

Those choices do not make us popular but the truth is that once you know, you can never go back. Once you have tasted from the bread of life and drank from the living water you can never go back. This process takes time but it is well worth it. After all your life depends on it.

John 17 is Jesus' farewell. It is also called the High Priestly Prayer. It can be divided in three parts:
  • verses 1 through 8 Jesus prays for himself
  • verses 9 through 19 Jesus prays for his disciples
  • verses 20 through 26 Jesus is praying for you

Underline this passage, highlight it, write it down on a notecard.

Jesus is praying for you.

Meditate on this today, tomorrow.
 Make this prayer personal and insert your name where indicated

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for [insert your name] who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May [insert your name] also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given [insert your name] the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved [insert your name] even as you have loved me.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and [insert your name] know that you have sent me. I have made you known to [insert your name], and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in [insert your name] and that I myself may be in [insert your name].”