My daily readings took me to John 15 this morning, and as we are in the middle of this Corona Virus pandemic, the words of verse7, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”, jumped out of the page at me. Surely, went my initial thought, through my, and your, relationship with Jesus, we only have to ask, and this pandemic will disappear at a stroke. But we can’t take this verse out of context. Jesus was teaching His disciples about how important it is to remain connected to Him, as a branch is connected to a vine. And Jesus’ illustration clearly shows that unless a branch has a connection to the life-giving vine, it will wither and die. Unless we stay connected to Him we too will wither and die in our spiritual lives. And the result of staying connected to Him, is that we will produce “much fruit”.
What is fruit? I always add a chopped up apple to my morning bowl of porridge (yes – I hear the howl of protests from my truly Scottish friends – I add granulated sweetener as well – the ultimate sin!). A few days ago I found that an apple that looked good on the outside; in fact it was rotten inside, full of a brown gunge that showed what will eventually happen to an apple when it is disconnected from the tree that bore it. And so it is with us – we can disconnect from the vine that is Jesus, and keep going for a while before the rottenness in our souls is discovered.
But Jesus wants us to bear healthy fruit continually. Fruit is something that is good to eat. It contains nourishment. And seeds that can be replanted. So we must use the fruit we produce in our lives to nourish ourselves and others and plant the seeds of the Gospel whenever we get the opportunity. The fruit we bear is eternal fruit, not the fruit we find in the world; worldly fruit may look good on the outside but holds emptiness and corruption within.
So what about verse 7? Through it Jesus is saying to me that there is a higher, Heavenly, purpose at work here. As I remain close to Him, and obey His Word, any request that I have will align with His will and purposes for these times. And that is where faith and trust kick in. God is still on His throne and in due course we will perhaps find out why He allowed this virus to have such a devastating impact on our increasingly small world. In the meantime, all I have to do is remain close to Jesus, and trust Him. And pray for those around me who are fearful, sick, and who need a Saviour.