FAITH IN FOCUS: SAP RISING
Jesus has just told his disciples that he is to undergo suffering and death and that he will be taken from them. He encourages them not to get downcast and says that he will remain with them. Then he says, “Come, let us go”. It’s time to carry on.
If we were one of the disciples our natural inclination would be to panic. What are we going to do without him? How will disciples be able to challenge the political and religious authorities with the message of Christ if he is nowhere to be found? How will we be able to bring his message to the world? So Jesus teaches them about the vine and the branches.We cannot be effective Christians if we rely only on our human effort. Our strengths may be outstanding but they’re not even close to the mark when it comes to communicating to the world who God is and what God wants for us.
That’s why part of Jesus’ reassurance to them was about sending a helper, the Holy Spirit. It is only in the power of the Holy Spirit that our lives can witness to God’s power and presence. Anything else is mere altruism, pure natural philanthropy.
It is our union with Christ that allows us to share in his continued mission on earth. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit if it is not attached to the trunk of the tree, so to we have to be united in Christ through the Holy Spirit. This is the way that Christ remains with us here on earth even though he has ascended to heaven. And, of course, we have to remember that we are not intended to be the vine, just the branches. It’s the vine that gives us the sap to produce fruit on our branches.
God is very close to us, closer than we could ever imagine. Our work will bear fruit if we realise our dependence on God and allow God to work through us. This naturally involves knowing God, talking to God and listening to what God has in mind for us.
All of this takes place if we let the Holy Spirit into our lives. When did you last have a word with him?