Advent: Day Eight – Vine
“Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” —
Batu, a 12-year-old Mongolian nomad, sits on a motorcycle watching his family’s sheep graze contentedly in the afternoon sun. He ponders today’s news: his family group will pack up their six gers (portable traditional dwellings) tomorrow and move to a new location. With the weather growing colder and a few snow flurries beginning, it’s time.
He knows the vital importance of his family sticking together wherever they go. They simply wouldn’t make it through the winter without the support and companionship of one another. Batu loves the close connection he feels to his parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. Although they live in a remote region, there’s always something to do and someone to talk or play with. He can’t imagine life without them.
The night before Jesus died, He and His disciples had a life-defining conversation. Knowing the ways their trust in Him would be challenged following His return to heaven, Jesus wanted them to understand the importance of staying connected with Him and each other.
I am the vine; you are the branches. The disciples likely recognized from scripture Jesus’ familiar reference to the nation of Israel. Prophets had long lamented Israel’s repeated failure to find their source of life in God and bear fruit. Jesus knew His disciples—then and now—would fail, too.
Abide in Me. The Message translates this phrase, “Make yourself at home in Me.” The basis of abiding is belonging, with one another and to one another. Our ability to abide begins with and continues by the grace of Jesus, the Vine. Though we will undoubtedly struggle at times to remain connected to Him, His commitment to us will always endure.
Like Batu’s family depending on one another for connection and ultimate survival, we’re called to intimate reliance on Jesus. He’s the source of flourishing life, the provider of every nutrient we need to grow strong in Him and bear fruit for His Kingdom.
Where do you want to experience a deeper sense of abiding? Ask for God’s grace to draw you nearer and help you grow. What fruit do you see blossoming from your relationship with Jesus Thank God for it, and invite Him to show you how to help others find life in Him.
We are so thankful for our friends at Frontier Fellowship. They have created this Advent devotional series, and have graciously allowed us to share it with you. For more information about their ministry, visit them online here.