Monday, November 9, 2009

Pruned to be Persecuted?

So each day I follow a Bible reading plan used by Vince Antonucci. Today’s reading is found in John 15. As I was reading the passage three things stuck out to me. Jesus is talking to his disciples, who are twelve men living life with Jesus. In John 14 Jesus drops a bomb on them … eventually he is going to leave them and after he is gone the counselor is going to come.

Then in chapter 15 he compares himself to a vine, and God as the gardener. Any good gardener knows that to get healthy plants that bear much fruit there must be pruning taking place. Jesus says in Vs. 2 “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” As the passage reads on Jesus talks about loving his disciples, and that true love is found when one lays his life down for the other. That is just what Jesus is going to do. Then Jesus says in Vs. 16 “You did not choose me, but I choose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.” Then the discussion takes a hard turn.

In the next part of this discussion Jesus then tells his disciples that they are going to get persecuted because they belong to Jesus. As they go out to teach and preach the good news in the coming days and years, they are going to face trials because of Jesus. At this point if I was one of the disciples I might want to raise my hand and be like the dead branch that gets cut off.

In essence what Jesus is saying to his disciples is this, I have picked you, loved you, taught you, and now once I leave God is going to prune you into something amazing, so that you can go out and be persecuted, maybe even killed in my name. What a tough calling. What a challenging calling. What a noble calling. Are we praying each day that God will prune us so that we will bear fruit that will last? Are we praying each day that God will prune us so that as we share Jesus name we might just be persecuted? What an honor that would be.
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