Friday after Whit-Sunday
Scripture: St. John 15:1-25 (NKJV)
15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another.
18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.'”
Our Lord Jesus is the true vine. The vine must be pruned by the Father so that it may bear more fruit. In this our Lord speaks of His death on the holy cross. On the cross He takes upon Himself our sin, and the sin of the whole world, so that every sin that He bears may be pruned away by our heavenly Father. All of our sins have been burned away on the altar of the holy cross.
Those who cling to the true vine in faith are grafted into the true vine. They become the vine’s branches. Those who do not have faith wither and die in unbelief. They are cast into the eternal fires of Hell.
The faithful bear the fruit of the true vine; they do His works, obey His Law, hear His Word, and receive His Sacraments. The branches love the true vine, and the true vine loves the branches. Therefore, the vinedresser does not cut them off; He does not prune them away.
This love is shown in that our Lord Jesus, the true vine, lays down His life. There is no greater example of love than to give your life for someone else. Love by its very nature is about sacrifice. Love is never self-serving. It does not think only about what it is getting out of the relationship. Our Lord manifests this love as He lays down His life for the world which rejects Him.
We pray: O God, who taught the hearts of Thy faithful people by sending to them the light of Thy Holy Spirit, bring us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort; through Jesus Christ. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.