Author: Thomas Chen, Youth Minister, Chinese Church in Christ, San Jose
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:5-8, NIV)
As a teenager, I was never in the “in” crowd. I don’t like reminiscing on those years because I remember not feeling very significant. Peer pressure can affect a person greatly, causing one to feel less about oneself just because he/she is not like everyone else.
As followers of Christ, we inevitably face pressures from the world we live in. In today’s passage, the disciples were living in the midst of such pressures. This was a crucial moment for the disciples. As time came for the leaders of Israel to arrest Jesus, He challenges the disciples with an important decision. He has shown that He surpasses Israel in every aspect as the True Vine. Israel was a fruitless people who did not fulfill their role. Are they going to attach themselves to Israel like everyone else? Or are they going to attach themselves to Christ?
Jesus tells His disciples, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Jesus knows that soon the disciples’ faith will be shaken. So His message for them is very crucial: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”
Today we face the same decision. Will we go along with the values of the world in the midst of such pressures? Or will we abide in Jesus and commit to His eternal values?
The same disciples who fled when Jesus was crucified were the same ones who held onto their faith to the end. Because they decided to abide in Christ, we are here today because of their fruit. May we abide in Christ, the True Vine, so that we can bear fruit for His glory, and so prove to be His disciples.
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior