Grapes from Grape Vines
A few years ago I planted two Concord grapevines. In the spring the vines will blossom, then tiny clusters of grapes appear and just before it gets too hot in the summer, the clusters will mature. I go out and pick the clusters and bring them inside to Mary. She takes the ripe grapes, heats them with a little water, strains and presses them through some cheese cloth, and collects the juice. The result is better than Welches. We don’t even have to add sugar.
Now when I'm reaching in to collect those clusters, if I’m not wearing long sleeves, I get pricked and it draws blood. Interspersed with my grapevines are some thorny vines, and they’re dangerous. And I’ve never picked one grape off of them.
Jesus knew firsthand about sweet grapevines and thorns. Luke recorded His observations.
“For no good tree produces rotten fruit. Neither does a rotten tree produce good fruit. For each tree is known by its fruit. So of course you don't collect figs from a thorn bush or clusters of grapes from a thorny bramble. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good and the evil man out of his evil heart produces evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Why are you calling me Lord, Lord but you are not doing what I say.” - Luke 6:43-46
When I review Jesus’ teaching in His sermon, His commands are simple and clear. I need to love my enemies, bless those who speak against me, pray for those who persecute me, and even give and lend generously to them. I need to be forgiving and not judgmental, willing to give the shirt off my back to the one who demands it.
Now I’m well aware that this kind of advice is hardly savvy in the present world of politics in the U.S., but I can’t escape the fact that Jesus is telling me that if I want to be called His disciple and have a place in His Kingdom, these are His imperatives. This is what He is like, and I have no right to call Him my Lord if I’m not going to obey what He says. So as I face thorny issues today, I need to let Jesus produce some sweet grapes instead of prickly thorns in the way I respond.
LORD, move my brothers and sisters that are tracking Your life and Your words in these Devos as we work through the Gospel of Luke to meditate carefully on Your Son’s commands in this sermon. Help us to be listening and then obeying our Teacher so that when we are fully mature we will be just like Him.
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