The Fifth Week of Easter

John 15:5  “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he is it that bears much fruit, for apart from ME you can do nothing.

Think of grapevines. The fruit hangs on the branches. The branches draw their life from the vine.
If a branch is broken off or cut away from the vine, it will not bear fruit. It will die.
Sin severed us from the tree of life, and left us fruitless and dead. But God has grafted us to the source of life – that is, to Jesus in his death and in his resurrection. We are joined to Christ in our, gift from the Holy Spirit, in baptismal faith. Jesus’ life flows through us, as the vine feeds the branches.
You and I are nourished with his word, with his body and blood.
Jesus death and life are ours. Jesus’ holiness and perfection are ours, too.
Apart from Jesus we are all dead wood, fit only to be thrown into eternal fire. Joined to Jesus we are alive, and abiding in him, we bear the fruit of life.
This is the work of Vine Jesus in us. The branch does not produce the fruit, the vine does. The branches are given to bear fruit and bring glory to the Vinedresser, the Father.
Even fruitful branches are pruned. As anyone who has cultivated grape vines knows, the gardener knows one gets fruit from the pruned branches. The Father cuts away whatever gets in the way.
That means loss for our sinful selves. Our idols need to be cleared away. God has better things for you.
Jesus said these words to his disciples in the upper room on the day he was to die for the sin of the world.
The promised branch of Jesse’s stem (Isaiah 11:1) was cut off and burned in the fire that he might be for you a lifegiving vine and that you in Him might bear fruit that lasts forever.
“Chief of sinners though I be, Jesus shed His blood for me. Died that I might live on high,
Lives that I might never die. As the branch is to the vine, I am His, and He is mine.”
(LSB  611)

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