It’s not what I don’t understand about the Bible that bothers me; it’s what I do understand that bothers me. — Mark Twain
The disciples were born in the Old Covenant and they died in the New Covenant, which means that they lived in a completely unique time in history. Their relationship with Jesus was not exactly equivalent to our relationship with Him either. They walked with Him in person, before He was crucified and resurrected. Then they experienced Him afterwards as He was zipping through walls and showing up at random places wherever He wanted. Finally, after Pentecost, they experienced Him as we do through His Spirit that comes into every believer.
Those must have been amazing days, probably confusing too. We have a definite advantage looking back at it all through the Bible. It’s a lot easier to understand it now—but just because we can understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t going to bother us!
You see, the Bible teaches us that there is an irreversible, supernatural transformation that takes place the moment that we put our trust in Christ. We are radically changed for all of eternity and that radical, irreversible transformation can never be lost. We are now children of God, we are in Christ, and we are in union with Him.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
But that also means that our days of self-centered, independent living are over! Jesus is the vine. We are the branches that grow off of that vine. We can produce true fruit only if we stay connected with Him in an intimate, dependent relationship.
I have to admit, that bothers me sometimes. My pride and self-righteousness don’t care for it one bit! How about you? Are you okay with the fact that apart from Jesus “you can do nothing?”
Jesus, in all honesty, there are plenty of times that I wish I could bear fruit for You by myself. It just seems like it would be so much easier… and then I could take credit for it! But I believe what You said. I understand and I believe it’s far better to remain in You through intimate dependency so that You can bear true fruit through me. So I give it all up one more time. You are the vine. I am the branch. Live through me as You wish, because on my own, I know that I can do nothing that really counts. Amen.
Listen to Pete, Jill & Stuart Briscoe on the Telling the Truth broadcast at OnePlace.com