‘Last Supper Lessons’ Meditations: 20. Fruitfulness
Jn 15:5 “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
The focus in chapter 15 appears as ‘fruitfulness’ – the word ‘fruit’ appears 8 times! Of course it is not talking about apples or pears or pomegranates or any other of that sort of fruit, it is referring to the outworking of our lives that produces something of value, something that is good; the very concept of fruitfulness infers producing good. Perhaps an interesting question to provoke all of us would be, “what is the good your life is bringing into this world?”
At the very beginning “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Gen 1:28) Note He blessed them, He decreed good for them to enable them to have children, to multiply and grow in order to take control of the earth. God’s intent is that we have impact on our world for good – not merely the planet itself but also the people on it. I hesitate at this point (we may in a later study) to consider what the fruit is, for there is another emphasis in this verse we need to first consider.
The key to being ‘fruitful’, says Jesus, is abiding in me, being one with me, and this is so much the key if you want to bear fruit – and I want you to – that without me you will achieve nothing.
I wonder how often our lives and service is based on ‘my intellect’ or ‘my effort’ or ‘my trying’, whereas Jesus says that living as one with him means you will automatically ‘bear fruit’. So how do we ‘abide’ in him? Well imagine, he says, I’m a vine and you’re my branches. That’s a fact. Now set in your mind that truth – you ARE joined to me so keep you heart and mind focused on me every day, as you pray, as you listen, as you read. Abide, rest, remain, stay close to me. Now only the other day I heard a preacher speaking about the Holy Spirit and he said we should think on Him all the time – 24/7! Now that, I am afraid, is unrealistic preaching that leaves the listeners either feeling guilty that they do not do that, or they sit there thinking how unrealistic and ignore the rest of the sermon.
So I want to avoid that here. There are times for all of us when our minds are full of the complexities of life, may be the technicalities of our jobs, and so we have to be utterly focused on the issues of the job before us. When your mind has to be taken up with such things, Jesus understands you cannot focus on him at the same moment, but this is about general attitude that underpins how I think about my life. When I have time to pause, yet my awareness of my faith, my relationship with Jesus, IS there in the background – that is abiding and out of it will come fruit.