“I am the vine, you are the branches.”
These are simple words, and a simple concept. But like so many things that are simple, it can be difficult to express. Jesus says he is the vine, the vine through which all things come to be. Like the vine Jesus is the basis from which we all spring. It is through His grace and mercy that we are here, and that we raise from the dead on the last day.
Last week we spoke of being a Good Shepherd. We talked of how Peter, the very rock that Jesus would build his church upon, was not a good shepherd at first. Peter denied Christ three times on the day of His arrest. That is not the action of a Good Shepherd. But, with faith in Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit Peter did indeed become the rock that the church was built upon. He became the Good Shepherd.
So it is with us. With the help of Christ we also can become good shepherds. As Christ is the vine, and we the branches, it is through our faith in Him, and our prayers for both guidance and wisdom that we allow Christ to transform us. As we think upon this simple statement, let us consider the rose. Does a rose grow only through the nutrients it absorbs through the soil? No, it needs those nutrients, but without sunlight from the branches the vine will die. So it is with Christ. He gives us the Holy Spirit, as the vine gives the nutrients, and we give him our faith, as the branches give sunlight.
Wait you say, there’s something missing! Indeed there is. With the rose it’s the water, which flows both ways. Both from the branch, and from the vine. With our relation to Christ, it’s the love. Which also flows both ways. Christ showed his love for us by spreading his arms on the cross, and dying for our sins. How do we show our love of Christ? By our works.
It is through our works that we express both our love, and our faith in Christ. And what works should we do? Those same works that Christ did. Preaching and teaching the gospel, caring for those that society has pushed to the outskirts. Healing the sick, comforting the grieving. Living lives of simplicity and faith. These are the works that Christ asks us to do. He doesn’t demand anything outrageous, or difficult. Or does he?
You decide. Are the works Christ asks us to do more than you are willing to perform?