During the early days of the internet, one of my children was dealing with a serious illness. In search of support and encouragement, I decided to delve into the world of chat groups. Surprisingly, what I found was a black hole of despair, anger, bitterness, and worst of all, hopelessness. I had often wondered throughout our trial how people managed a crisis without Christ in their life. In these chat groups, I sadly discovered the answer: They don’t.
We need Jesus!
To understand why we need Jesus, let’s first see who the Bible says He is. He is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). He is the Light of the World (John 8:12). He is the door (John 10:9). He is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11). He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25-26). He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). And lastly, He is the Vine (John 15:5). Wow! That is exciting! He is ALL those things! How many times do we try to make one person or one relationship in our life be everything to us? It is humanly impossible for a single person to meet all our needs, yet Jesus, HE IS EVERYTHING!
Most importantly, each of these statements points us to one fundamental need. We need a relationship with Jesus because He is the only way to salvation. When sin broke the relationship between God and man, Jesus became the way to restore fellowship with the Father. John 14:3-6 says, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going. Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way? Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There is no eternal life; there is no heaven; there is no relationship with God the Father without Jesus. He is the way!
But that’s not all! Later on, in John 15:1-2, we see why we continue to need a relationship with Jesus. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” Eternal life is just the beginning. Although it is our final destination, we have the journey of life before we get there. While we are on this journey, we need to be fruitful! We are not meant to be dormant children of God.
A tree that bears fruit is a tree that is growing and producing in response to the nurturing that it receives. As Christians, we are to do the same. We are to grow and produce results as a response to having a continual presence (abiding) with Jesus. We are instructed in John 15:6 that not abiding in Christ and not bearing fruit has tragic results. “If anyone does not abide in me, he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” There is no doubt that we do NOT want to be a fruitless branch!
So how exactly do we become, a fruit-bearing Christian? John 15:4-5 tell us, not once, but TWICE that this fruit is impossible without Jesus. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” He leaves no room for argument here. He does not say that we can do less without Christ. No, Jesus simply tells us that we can do NOTHING without him!
We see quite clearly in these scriptures that we need Christ. We see that we need to abide in him. Perhaps now you may be wondering, “But how?” Jesus lays it out it out beautifully for us in John 15:10 “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” What are these commandments? According to Matthew 22:36-40, John 13:34-35, and John 15:12 they are to love the Lord our God and to love one another. I love the simplicity!
The results of not abiding in Christ and bearing fruit are rather intimidating; however, the opposite results are quite exciting! According to John 15:8, when we bear fruit — when we are disciples of Christ — we glorify our heavenly Father. What child doesn’t revel in the contest of proving their daddy is the best? As children of God, we can bring honor, praise, and admiration to our heavenly Father by the lives we live in Christ. What a privilege! But wait, there’s more! In verse 11 he tells us, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” It’s no mystery that life is often times hard. It brings many trials, many tears, and many heartaches. BUT in spite of it all, we can have not only have joy…..but FULL joy. How amazing and comforting is that?
What I did not find in the chat groups, I did find in Jesus: hope. I was not without hope, for I knew my eternal destination. I was not without joy for He gave me an abundance.
Spend some time in gratitude today for the fact that our eternity is sealed in Jesus and that all of our needs are met in relationship with Him.