April 1, 2020 Wednesday Devotion
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine and 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." (John 15:4-5)
Now that the President's quarantine guidelines have been extended through the month of April, we have enough time to better understand what it is to remain in Jesus. Of course because our individual journeys are so diverse, this verse in full context likely means different things to different people. Perhaps that is precisely how it was for those listening to Jesus at that very moment. If you read Chapter 15 from the Gospel of John, you hear Jesus speak some classic quotes often repeated inside and outside of church:
- "This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you."
- "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."
- "You didn't choose me, I chose you."
- "This is my command: Love each other."
The people gathered around Jesus also heard these quotes. Once again, each one may have resonated differently in context of each person's life. However, while each quote sounds like a slogan on a bumper sticker, reading them in context of the entire chapter of this Gospel makes it clear that they testify to the endless love of Jesus.
Can remaining in Jesus nurture your soul during this time of quarantine? If you too are struggling with the state of the world, turn to the 6th Chapter of John and you'll see that in their distress and confusion many disciples deserted Jesus. However, there was one disciple who proclaimed the divinity of this man from Nazareth:
At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, "Are you also going to leave?" Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:66-69)
Spend some time with these two accounts written in John's Gospel. These devotions serve to prepare your hearts for Palm Sunday. As we enter into Jerusalem this weekend, consider the cost of your own discipleship.
To whom will you go?