Yesterday we began to talk about how Easter is about much more than the commercialization of it would like you to believe. It’s another one of those Holidays that’s used to sell greeting cards, many families once again will gather to eat either turkey or ham or some other kind of traditional Easter meal, and some even go out to restaurants for the Easter Brunch. Add to it the things geared towards our children, and that’s why Easter is kind of known as the Christmas of Spring. So, as we continue to take a look at what Easter is really about, and why it’s so important to us as Christians the hope is that we’ll take a moment during all the festivities to remember Who and what this Holiday is really about…and what it is that we should be celebrating.
Today, we look at John Chapters 15 and 16. In Chapter 15, we learn that we must abide in Christ if we’re to have any success in the Christian walk at all, and in Chapter 16 is where we find that we don’t have to do this walk alone…because of the promise of the Holy Spirit. Jesus made a statement in Chapter 15 that really sums up why it is so important that we abide in Christ…because He said; “Apart from me you can do nothing.”. That is quite a strong statement…isn’t it? In one breath Jesus states; “with God all things are possible”, and in another breath He says that apart from Him we can do nothing.
Have you ever stopped to meditate or think about that verse? I know I have. What Jesus is driving at is a point that He made during His famous Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus said. During our latest series at New Life Christian Center Pastor Cass Hill taught a little something about this verse that is relevant to where we’re going at the moment. He said that what Jesus was driving at here was that the poor in spirit are completely and totally dependent upon God as their source for everything. He makes the point again here in John 15 talking about how He is the vine, and we are the branches.
Have you ever seen a branch that’s partially connected to the vine? Just because it’s not fully connected to the vine doesn’t mean that it won’t grow, but it will never reach it’s full potential and yield the fruit it’s meant to bear if that branches isn’t reconnected to the vine does it? Did you know that if you want to bear fruit in the Christian life we need to be fully connected to our Vine? We may grow if we’re partially connected, but the only way that we really bear fruit is if we are completely connected to Christ.
In John 16 we learn that one of the most important reasons Jesus has to suffer the death, burial and resurrection is so that we would receive the promise of the Holy Spirit. Do you know what the Holy Spirit’s job is? It’s to help us to stay connected to the Vine. The Holy Spirit is that still small voice inside of you that if you listen to it…He will lead and guide you into…all truth. He is always going to point us in the direction of Christ, and when we stray from Him it’s the Holy Spirit who convicts us that we need to get back to being connected to Christ…to our Vine…to our Life Source…and to the One who is with us until the ends of the age.
In the picture of the vineyard, we must make sure we know who we are. We are the branches. Our only one job is holding on to Jesus, the vine. By doing so we will fulfill our solitary purpose: bearing fruit. Literally all the other work that takes place in the vineyard will be done by the gardener. That’s God. Not me. Not you. Our job is to allow Him to work through us by staying connected to the vine. Meditate today on who you are and what you’re called to do. Clinging. Remaining. Connecting. Holding on. Abiding. That’s all, nothing else. – YouVersion Commentary
As we read here, it is our job to stay connected to the Vine, and the way we do that is by yielding to the Holy Spirit. We do that by constantly reading and studying the Word of God. We do that by taking time to privately and corporate praise and worship Him. We do that by seeking Him in prayer. No one does it perfectly, and that’s why we need the Holy Spirit.
But, here’s the truth about the Holy Spirit. Without the death, burial, and resurrection there would be no Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself said that it was beneficial to us that He went away because His death, burial, and resurrection were precursors to the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit.
The fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit is another reason the Resurrection is so important to us as Christians. When you begin to think about all the things that we wouldn’t have because of the Resurrection, and specifically about not having the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us…it kind of takes away from all the commercialization of Easter. I don’t know about you, but it certainly does for me.
You know, I feel about the Holy Spirit the way I used to feel as a child as I was trying to hunt down my Easter basket, or opening an awesome gift on Christmas morning. There’s nothing like the Holy Spirit in all the world, and once you come to that kind of understanding…you think of Resurrection Sunday in a whole new light.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Corinthians 16:23-24)
Blessing & Grace to you
Bryan J. Kizer