Lenten Devotional // Day 32

Thursday, April 7
I AM the vine by Marilee Medley

John 15:1-17
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.
“As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you. You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last. As a result, whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you. I give you these commandments so that you can love each other.

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me." – John 15:4
At Jesus’ last supper with His disciples and dear friends, He knows exactly what is coming. His words are driven by the urgency of that knowledge – how important it is for His disciples to hear and to understand what they need to do. But very quickly after this, we see what happens.
“And all His disciples left Him and ran away.” Mark 14:50

Even as He speaks, He already knows they won’t obey. Within the day, one will betray Him. One will disown him. Most will abandon Him. So why give this instruction to remain in Him, when clearly they won’t?

Maybe it’s because we won’t, too. Just like the disciples, we’ll find ourselves away from Him, lost and alone. Vulnerable and scared. And just like the disciples, when we run away, we’ll need to know the way home. And no matter where we run to, the way home always starts in the same place: Remain in Him.

Jesus’ words are a map that we can follow over and over. Every time we scatter, every time we run, every time we make a wrong turn, this is the map that leads us home.

Remain in Me. Keep My commandments. Love one another. Bear fruit.

Question for Contemplation
What steps can I take to remain in Him?

Father, when you gave us Jesus, you gave us the incomparable gift of forgiveness. How we thank you for the love and grace that gives us, no matter how far away we roam, a way to return. Please give us the grace each day to remain in Him, to keep His commandments and to love one another, so that we may bear fruit.

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