Outside Jesus, We Are Powerless
‘I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing,’ Jh 15v15(b).
FOR all times, Jesus is a good teacher. He used common things in the environment to drive home His point in His teachings. Here, we see Him as an agriculturist referring to Himself as the vine and His immediate disciples as the branches. But He was quick to add that His father was the vinedresser.
A visitor to Israel on pilgrimage would be delighted to see vine trees and the vine presses extensively put in place to draw out the vine from the trees. They had traditional and modern methods and these require rigorous approach in order to have the best from the vine trees.
However, Israel as a nation was once slaves in Egypt and there they laboured in the fields and such knowledge helped them in agriculture back home in the land of promise. It is not surprising today that Israel as a nation aside a pilgrimage sight centre is noted for its agricultural produce. It was this type of environment and people that Jesus poured out His heart in His teaching to say: ‘I am the vine and you are the branches’ and so for the branches to be fruitful and useful, it must stay connected to the vine. Anything outside this will not only make the branch to soon grow weary, but it will also die.
There is an implication: if the believer were not thereto connected like a branch to the source and fountain, which is the vine, he or she would be powerless and very soon would die off. So, the only way to remain fruitful and useful is to stay connected to the root (the vine). Jesus said: ‘…without me you can do nothing’. We need to be on guard against sin and unbelief, as it could make us powerless. We have some Bible passages to keep us on check. For example, Samson broken covenant striped him of his strength, (Judges 16v17), Israel could not stand before their enemies Lev. 26v37; Deut. 28v32; Josh. 7v12; Judges 1v21; 2v14, unbelief rendered the apostles helpless to contend with Satanic forces, Mk 9v18; Jn. 15v5.
I think it has become increasingly necessary to remind all believers that no matter how learned, rich, successful, and beautiful they may be, they need to be connected to the vine. Remember, the devil is fighting night and day to ensure that the branches wither and die. But it is left for the branches (believers) to tell the devil to stop the nonsense. They need to depend totally on the vine for their life because outside the vine they are powerless.
Yes, outside Jesus, believers are powerless. We, therefore, call upon Churchmen and women to draw their strength from the source of life, which is Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. Www.Ibrucentre.Org
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