“I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” | John 15:5
Today we use technology and social media to stay connected with friends and family and businesses and arts and sports and culture, sometimes even turning our bedrooms and washrooms into “connection centres.” It is as if we are constantly plugged into a network of gadgets bringing the world to our fingertips. While it is true that for some this has turned into an obsession and addiction, most people reason that they are wired just to stay connected.
In the Gospel of John Jesus uses the image of a vine and branches to teach about the significance of being connected. He uses the word “remain” which can be translated as “abide” or “dwell” to describe how and why we are to be connected to him.
‘Remain‘ is not an overbearing word at all. It simply means hanging out and sticking together and being connected with. Simply being connected to Jesus has transformative power for us, calming our anxieties and giving shape to the decisions we make in life. So, Jesus is saying let our connection shape your life.
What happens when the branches don’t remain connected to the vine? The answer is obvious. When the branches don’t remain connected to the vine it doesn’t get the nutrients and will eventually dry up, slowly wither and eventually die. Being disconnected from Jesus causes our relationship with God, self and others to suffer and not flourish.
In other words, remaining connected with Jesus changes us. It changes the way we approach God. It changes the way we view self. It changes the way we are present to our families. It changes the way we welcome our neighbours. It changes the way we deal with conflicts. It changes the way we make decisions. It changes the way we treat our bodies. It changes the way we value things. It changes the way we pace ourselves. It changes the way we rest. It changes the way we engage work. it changes the way we care for creation. It challenges our motives, confronts our sin and eventually changes us from the inside out.
Simply put: Jesus. Changes. Everything.
Remember, Jesus doesn’t say if we obey him and love him then we can connect ourselves to him. He says, if we are connected to him, then we will obey him and love him and will be fruitful.
Apart from him we can do nothing.