“Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” John 15:4
Throughout this week I have shared some of the lessons our Sunday School kids will be learning this month on our theme of “be the church”. Each lesson has its own purpose and is valuable in its own right, but at the very foundation of the church is Jesus. Without a focus on Jesus, how could we even begin to try to be his church?
To abide means to “accept or act in accordance with”. When I wonder what to do, how to address certain issues, what does God what me to be doing, I think the answer can often be found by abiding, or, acting in accordance with Jesus. What greater example is there of what the church should be than the example of Jesus himself? Perhaps some of you are familiar with the phrase that was extremely popular during my childhood, “W.W.J.D.” or, “What would Jesus do?” The phrase may now be cliché, but the sentiment is very true. Jesus, being both fully God and fully human, laid the groundwork for what his followers should do. If we abide in Jesus, we will be the church he wants us to be.
Oftentimes Jesus taught in parables and metaphors, with meanings that even the disciples didn’t understand right away. So after all this talk about vines and branches and pruning, Jesus didn’t leave this story up for debate. He followed up immediately with this commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Now that is a church I want to be a part of.