I am covered with red raspberry juice as I bring inside three large quart containers of bright red fruit from the patch in the backyard. It seems the plentiful crop is ripening on the vine as I watch. We are blessed with the harvest and share it with others that they too may enjoy this joy of summer.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). The Apostle goes on to say as we bear much fruit we show ourselves to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
This message is about abiding or living in the vine or Christ Jesus. It is saying that the harvest of fruit or new disciples will be great in us and others as we stay grafted in the vine. This means that we receive our nutrition and life in Christ. Apart from this vine or knowledge and love there is no life. Perhaps you will live a good life here on earth, but not a bountiful eternal life with God in His light. Instead you will live eternal life in darkness away from God in agony.
So this lesson is simple, but not easy. Abiding always or continuously is something I don’t think we can do by ourselves. We need the power of the Holy Spirit to do this. We receive this power when we receive or accept Jesus Christ into our life as our Savior and Lord.
Jesus often talked about things we would understand like fruit. In Galatians, Paul tells us as God had inspired him that “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). As I look down on the red stains on my shirt I smile. It is a symbol of life in Christ Jesus. He wants us covered, immersed, transformed by this juice. What is this juice? It is the blood of Christ, shed for us on the cross. He bled bright red for us because we are separated from God by sin and can only be made whole and clean by the blood of the sacrifice of Christ. His blood washes us white as snow as Psalm 51:7 tells us. “He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, who He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5). By the Holy Spirit in His blood. This is the miracle of rebirth and harvest. Joel 3:13 and John 4:35 say that the fields are ripe for harvest. The earth is ripe for harvest Revelation 14 tells us. We who are washed in His blood are to go out and harvest the fruit of His salvation. We are to go and tell the “Good News” to others that they may know the truth that will set them free from sin and make them new, full of the fruit that is so luscious and beautiful.
I love this harvest season. My hands are red, not just in juice, but also His blood making me ripe. Yes, I am a sinner, but this symbol of Christ’s life and sacrifice make me/us new and ripening in His love and life. Enjoy the summer; stay abiding in the vine of life.