REMAIN CONNECTED TO JESUS!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Kobina Louis
- In today’s gospel reading (John 15: 1-8), Jesus uses the image of the vine and its branches to teach us that apart from him we can do nothing, while if we are connected to him we receive many blessings and graces.
- Since we have no vineyards in Ghana, I think we may be more familiar with the relationship between our phone and the network we use than the relationship between the vine and its branches. And so I will use the phone-network relationship to illustrate the gospel message. For the theme, I have chosen, ‘REMAIN CONNECTED TO JESUS!’
- Some of us have changed several telecom networks, because we want the best services; and others have remained on a particular network because of the benefits they derive from it. Beloved, let us get connected to Jesus if we are not yet connected; and let us remain with him if we are already connected to Jesus, because his services are the best and his benefits are unlimited!
- He who has been able to offer himself as the one and only perfect sacrifice that takes away our sins (Hebs. 10:1-10); he who alone conquers death – our great enemy (cf. 1 Cor. 15 : 26); he who is the only mediator[CONNECTOR] between God and humanity (1 Tim. 2:5); he, in whose name alone we can be saved (Acts 4:12); and he who alone has opened the gates of paradise for us, is the one to whom we must always be connected!
– NEW ILLUSTRATION:
- As I said, Jesus uses the image of the vine (being himself), the branches (being us) and the vinedresser (being the Father). Now, let us look at the details of new image of the phone-network relationship:
- God the Father = Network Service Provider or Operator
- Jesus = One and only Network that the Father operates
- We (Humans) = Phones
- Our Faith = SIM Card
- God’s Grace = Phone Credit
- Our Good works = Electrical Charge for Phone Battery.
- God’s network is GTN (God’s Telecom Network). It’s available everywhere 24/7 throughout eternity; there’s no place (even under the sea or on the remotest planet) that you would be told: ‘no service’.
- GETTING CONNECTED (To remain in Jesus)
- We get connected through the free SIM CARD of FAITH.
- BEING DISCONNECTED(Fruitless Branches)
- Like the fruitless branches, we are disconnected through lack of faith and sin.
- Thus, there are, at least, 3 ways in which we can be disconnected from the NETWORK OF JESUS:
I. When we refuse to listen to Jesus at all (i.e. not connected in the first place);
II. When we listen to him, but pay lip-service, that is when we are merely Christians in name but not in deed; or when we are mere church-goers;
III. When we accept Jesus as our Lord but abandon him in the face of difficulties. Sometimes in such difficult times, we try to get connected to another spiritual network not operated by God the Father, e.g., a childless couple seeking for the fruit of the womb from a ‘spiritualist’.
- REMAINING CONNECTED (Fruitful Branches)
- Like fruitful branches, we, having been connected to the Lord by the SIM CARD of our FAITH, remain constantly on his network by the free CREDITS of his GRACE and by the battery charging of GOOD WORKS.
- We do the GOOD WORKS by obeying his commandment: ‘You will remain in my love if you keep my commandments, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love’ (John 15:10).
- MORE FREE CREDITS(Bearing More Fruits)
- Some telecom networks promote their business by giving us some extra/free credits the more we use their services. Similarly, whereas fruitless branches will be cut off and burnt, Jesus says, ‘every branch that bears fruit [my Father] prunes, that it may bear MORE FRUITS’(John 15:2).
- In real life situation, God prunes us to bear more fruits – to abound more and more in GRACES – through his WORD (John 15:3) and sacraments, repentance and prayer, as well as when we endure the cross of our lives, among other means.
- CONCLUSION – BENEFITS:
Let me now conclude by considering the fact that the benefits Jesus offers us far exceed what any service provider can give.
- A network service provider can give us a new phone but can’t change our ‘personality’; however, when we remain connected to Jesus, the Bible says God (the GTN Service Provider) will make us a ‘new creation’ (2 Cor.5:17) – entirely changed!
- A network service provider may value us as a customer, but may not be interested in making us his/her friend; but Jesus says, when we are connected to him, we become his friends (John 15: 15).
- A network service provider may give us some free credits to show his appreciation to us, but would not go to the extent of making us share in the very joy of his booming business; Jesus, however, says: I want my joy to be in you, so that your joy may be complete (John 15 : 11).
- A network service provider may do strict business with us and may not be interested in our personal needs; but Jesus says if we are connected to him, our prayers will be answered (John 15:7).
- A network service provider will not share his personal fortunes with us; but the Bible says, when we are connected to Jesus, the Father ‘blesses us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens’ (Eph. 1: 37)!
- Finally, beloved, I pray that if sin and lack of faith have disconnected us from Jesus, we will confess our sins and so be re-connected to him today! Amen!
That if we are already connected to Jesus we shall enjoy the benefits of being a new creation, friends of Jesus, filled with the very joy of Jesus, every prayer of ours will be answered, and we will enjoy spiritual blessing in the heavens!
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