Song: Mountain to Valley
Artist: Bread & Wine
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 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. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Jesus is at it again. Like yesterday, the command is simple: Remain. Abide.
He’s the vine, we’re the branches. It’s organic dependence. He’s the source of life. Anything of life that we have – it derives from Him. Stay connected, he says. Remain.
But Jesus doesn’t leave us there. He refuses to let us off the hook with some sort of navel-gazing discipleship. In the next few verses, Jesus teases out what “remaining” looks like. How do we remain? Do all that I command.
Discipleship is sinew and bone. Discipleship is flesh.
Disciples bear fruit.
Which brings me to tomatoes.
My mom loves tomatoes. A lot. In fact, she’s been known to smuggle home-grown tomatoes into a restaurant, discreetly produce them from her purse, and replace whatever imitation-tomato slice may have accompanied her meal – with the good stuff.
Good fruit. We like good fruit.
Jesus says when we bear fruit, good fruit, it brings glory to God. Apparently, He likes good fruit, too. The home-grown kind. No substitutes. Nothing artificial. The kind that grows in the soil of Jesus’ words – so full of His words that it changes the way we pray (v 7). Prayers so rooted in the words and will of Jesus that God grants them! Talk about fruitfulness!
It’s an interesting picture of true discipleship. The words of Jesus so saturating the disciple’s life that obedience to Jesus becomes the most natural thing in the world. And that kind of obedience produces fruit. Good fruit. Like home-grown tomatoes. And God loves tomatoes!