“As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
Something very simple dawned on me afresh this morning.
We can get so caught up with bearing fruit that we forget what really matters.
I’ve been learning a lot these last few weeks and months. I’ve learnt again that it’s not about doing, but being. I’m constantly reminded of how this is all about remaining in him and him in us.
‘Being’ is solely about Jesus himself. He is the entire focus and purpose and reason for existence. Whatever we are doing must be a direct result of remaining, of being.
Yesterday I was sat with two people who’ve become brothers to me and to each other. Both were grinning their Jesus smiles. Our unity in Christ was being strengthened there and then simply because Christ has been revealed in each of us, and we all knew it in that moment as a fact. Regardless of anything else, there is one thing that marks our relationship. We each know Jesus has been revealed in us and in each other.
And this came to me today as I was thinking about yesterday. The fruit that the Father is looking for isn’t about the things we do or achieve.
Just as Jesus is the Vine, he is also the fruit. The fruit is there the whole time. When it shows as fruit, it is simply a manifestation of Life, of Jesus himself. The fruit of the True Vine is a tangible manifestation of Christ himself. He is the Vine, but he is the Life within the Vine. And he is the fruit within the Life within the Vine also.
Life that comes from a Living Father, who gives Life to a Living Son, who in turn gives Life to us, and we in turn, as branches of the True Vine, give Life to others.
And so, my conclusion is that the fruit that glorifies the Father is the manifestation of, the unveiling of Christ in others.
This unveiling can have a dramatic effect on people’s circumstances, their daily lives, and even their physical appearances. But that is not the fruit. People can and do change their circumstances, their daily lives and their physical appearances apart from Jesus all the time. So, that can’t be the fruit, can it?
The True Fruit already exists in the flow of Life through the Vine and through us as branches. And when Christ is incarnated in someone else, that is the visible manifestation of the fruit the Father has prepared for.
It is the Father’s delight to reveal his Son in us and in others. It is the Son’s delight to reveal our Father in us and in others.
Christ incarnate in a human being is the fruit of the Vine. That incarnation might have a thousand different influences on that person and their world. But what matters is that Christ is unveiled in them.
I might achieve hundreds of wonderful things. I might do much good. And don’t get me wrong, Jesus wants to do much good. But the Father has not revealed Christ in me, and Christ has not chosen me to be a branch of the True Vine simply to do a lot of good. He has chosen me to be a branch to bear fruit, and the fruit that the Father is looking for when he tends to the Vine and to me as a branch is the revealing of his Son in others.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not fulfilling my branchly purpose unless Christ is being revealed in others. Not simply to others, but in others.
As a branch, I’m to be a vessel of the Life of the Vine, and the resulting fruit that’s produced the incarnation of Christ within another human being.
That has a wonderful simplicity to it.
My two brothers who I sat with yesterday have shown me a lot. I’m very grateful. 🙂
Eat the Living Bread, drink the Living Water.