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The True Vine

What part of “nothing” do we not understand? Jesus says that He is the Vine and we are the branches (John 15:1-5). He also says that because of that, without Him we are nothing. The branch apart from vine is useless; it is dead and does not even make good firewood. Now Christ is at work in His people to accomplish His purposes (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:28,29). He also works through His church as a whole to produce results in the world (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:5-7; 2 Corinthians 3:5,6). Now that does not mean we can simply be passive; we need to be involved in actively doing what is right (1 Timothy 4:7,8; Hebrews 5:11-14; Titus 2:11-14). But the real issue is, what are we trusting in, our own capabilities or God’s power?


The Way, the Truth and the Life

Some call it “pie in the sky by and by.” But God calls us to a hope beyond this world. Paul says that if there is no resurrection, Christians are of all men most to be pitied (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). And we are called to live in light of that eternity (1 Peter 2:11; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Romans 13:11-14). But what does this look like and how do we get there? Now Jesus says that He is the way to God (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5). And we come to Him by putting our faith in Him (John 14:1,2; Romans 4:4,5; Ephesians 2:8,9). Now the implication of this is that this life is a prelude to eternity (1 John 5:11-13; John 3:16; 10:27-30). But what does this look like?


The Resurrection and the Life

“Life is tough; then you die.” “There is nothing sure except death and taxes.” Death has for a long time been considered the great enemy of mankind. And the question is, what can be done about it? We can say, we are just animals and to die is natural. But if this is true, why do we so hate and fear it? We can claim that science will one day cure death. But is mere continuation a good thing? Is simply continuing with all our failings, struggles, and vices in a world plagued with the same anything other than prolonged misery? We long, not just for the conquest of death, but a new kind of life.


The Good Shepherd

Christ is our protection. This not the only aspect of His being our Shepherd, but it is an obvious one. But why do we need protection? We are told there are thieves and wolves to be protected from (John 10:10; Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29-30). We are also told that there are those who claim to be shepherds who are only hired hands and will flee when confronted (John 10:12,13; 2 Timothy 4:10; Philippians 2:20,21). But Christ is our true Shepherd, who gave His life for us (John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:24,25; Acts 20:28). He has said if we are His, He will protect us and bring us through to glory (John 10:27-30; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Romans 8:31-39). What does it mean that He is our Shepherd?


Light of the World

Light is something we almost take for granted. It is around us every day, and by it we see everything. It is also vital for life. Without light there would be no heat, and earth would be a frozen wasteland. It is light that gives the energy for plants to grow, providing food for other living things. Light is the first particular thing God is said to have created (Genesis 1:3; Psalms 74:16; Isaiah 45:7). But in Scripture there is a spiritual understanding of light beyond the physical (1 Corinthians 4:6). It is used as a symbol of God’s presence (Exodus 13:21,22; 25:31-40; Acts 9:3). This symbolism was shown at the Feast of Tabernacles, where Jesus proclaimed Himself the Light of the World (John 8:12), thereby affirming that He was the ultimate source of spiritual light (Isaiah 9:2; John 1:4,5; Luke 1:78,79). This statement was probably a response to the question whether any prophet could come out of Galilee (John 7:52; compare Matthew 4:14-16). In what ways is Jesus light?


The Bread of Life

Food is one of the most basic needs of life. And bread is in many ways a symbol for that need. In many cultures it was the main thing that food consisted in. And it is used as a picture of God’s provision. God supplies our physical needs (Philippians 4:19; Matthew 6:11; Luke12:24). This is illustrated in God’s miracles of provision (John 6:1-14; Exodus 16:8-21; 2 Kings 4:42-44). But these are meant to encourage people to see beyond the physical to God’s spiritual provision (John 6:26,27; Deuteronomy 8:3; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). How then do we make this transition?


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