I Am The Door

Daily Reading Plan: Matthew 27:20-23; Isaiah 53:5-6
 
Today is Wednesday of Holy Week. On this day Jesus is fully aware of the events unfolding around Him – as He is preparing to die. There was another man who also thought he knew what was going to happen in a few days – this man’s name was Barabbas, a convicted murderer, who was scheduled for crucifixion. This man, Barabbas, was the criminal who was supposed to be on that middle cross. When he saw Jesus being crucified for his sin – on the cross that was meant for him -- how gut-wrenching that must have been – an innocent man taking his punishment. But then, isn’t that what Jesus did for you – and for me? Let that visual bring you to your knees and bring you a fresh and intense gratitude for the gift that is Easter.

This week we are discussing how Jesus is the True Vine.

It is about time for a personal annual ritual. On a warm, springtime Saturday, I will walk out into the backyard and ask myself two questions:

1) Is that new shrub I planted and carefully watered last year already dead?
2) Is that crazy weed already back?

Why is it a struggle to keep the right things growing and the wrong things from growing in my yard? And for that matter, in my life? Are the right thoughts, attitudes, and desires the ones that are growing or dying? Jesus gave us wisdom on this:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper” (John 15:1 HCSB).
 
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:5-6 HCSB).
 
If we abide in Him, we grow and produce good fruit. If we don’t, the branch is cut away and we wither. Think about this for a second. Has God ever pruned something away from you? Have you ever made a bad decision that resulted in a bad outcome? I am going to assume the answer is “yes,” because (no offense) it’s a safe guess for everybody. I know I have made such decisions.

From my limited research, I learned that cuttings from vines, or even rotten fruit, can be repurposed as fertilizer in the ground to help the living vine grow. That which was rotten or withered, while not the desired result, can still be used for good.

The Vineyard Keeper (God) can still use our mistakes to help spread the good news of the True Vine (Jesus). The next time you hear somebody struggling with a situation that you’ve already been through, find a way to tell them how the Vineyard Keeper helped you through it.
Let’s do our part to help the True Vine’s influence grow. What was once a withered cutting can inspire a healthy, beautiful new branch for you and for others.

By Mark Stuart

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