Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Marvelous Metaphor

John 15: 1-8 Marvelous Metaphor
In John 15 it is as if Jesus is saying to me “Listen closely and you will hear and see how spiritual life will work for everyone from now on.”

The words of Jesus are the most important and powerful words ever spoken by human lips. Each time Jesus spoke, God’s eternal intentions for all mankind became clear as they simultaneously appeared as actions through His daily life. Truly His words are “spirit and life” to all who hear them and obey them. Jesus lived what he spoke. He truly was the word that became flesh.

I have known and understood this about Jesus’ words on some level all of my spiritual life but my personal experience with the first 8 verses of John 15 have made me a true believer in the power of Jesus’ words—especially his metaphors. Jesus’ words are the most awesome power on earth and they belong to all who believe.

Jesus promised in John 8 that His words have the power to liberate the human soul if we abide in His words. Jesus knew HIs words were truly the final words on every subject concerning God and human life. He knew because He received and lived each word from His Father and faithfully delivered every word just as He had received them.

On the last day of His life everything Jesus said and did was a coming together of God’s eternal purposes. No detail of Jesus life was unimportant or accidental. Certainly His last words on His last day should hold our attention in a special way. It is clear that He meant for John 15 to be central for His followers. The timing and the tone of John 15 is that of foundational truth for all who would ever follow Him. On that last day it was as if Jesus is leaning close to each of us and saying “Listen closely and you will hear and see how spiritual life will work for everyone from now on.”

On this most wonderful and tragic of all days before His crucifixion Jesus chose to describe the new spiritual reality that was being birthed for mankind by His death, burial and resurrection using a metaphor—the metaphor of God’s new vineyard on earth. Jesus’ use of metaphors, examples and parables is the work of Divine genius. Metaphors have a power to change lives unlike any other form of communication.

I am convinced that the John 15 metaphor is the key to healthy spiritual formation for every generation. Certainly John 15 has been this for me and there is clear evidence in church history that this passage has held tremendous power over all who have sought to truly glorify God and bear fruit that remains. John 15 is life changing when this marvelous metaphor is given its rightful place as the final word of Jesus on spiritual formation and fruit bearing.

Jesus’ use of metaphors began with His very first sermon called the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. This sermon describes a kind of spiritual life that has inspired, informed and infuriated spiritual seekers for nearly 2000 years.

More than an intellectual argument in favor of life found in God, the sermon on the mount is a description of a human life satisfied fully in God. It is the description of the kind of life Jesus would live before His followers. Each metaphor in the sermon paints a picture so the spiritual seeker can hold the infinite truths in place long enough for their power to work their way into the human spirit for permanent and profound life change.

The power of the metaphor is in the fact that it allows an individual to be influenced over time by the truths contained in the metaphor. That is the power of John 15: 1-8. In the metaphor of the Vine and the branches there are essential spiritual truths that can only be understood and lived over time. Jesus knew this and He gave the metaphor at the exact moment when its power was most needed—the last day of His pre-resurrection life.

Meditate on John 15 and you, too, will find it marvelous.


Bob Negron said...


How are you? This morning you came to mind while I was writing an email to a single mom when a question came to mind that I thought you might be able to help me on. Before I get into it, Linda and I hope that you, Pam and the rest of your family had a blessed Thanksgiving day. From reading some of your blog its clear that your Abide mininstry is in full swing and your retreat center looks beautiful. May God continue to bless your ministry.

The question I have pertains to effectively dealing with women in the Church. Specifically,
I have created a prayer group at work with about 45 people but as you could imagine most of them are women. :) I have received their personal email addresses and send out encouraging messages to the group as well as circulate prayer requests that come my way. A few of the women are going through alot in their own personal lives and would like your take on the best way to encourage them while at the same time keeping a distance so they don't get to close to me personally. I truly respect you experience and I'm curious if you would have some words of wisdom for me on this delicate matter?

Thank you!

Bob Negron...

Unknown said...


Now, I enjoy reading your writings just as I used to enjoy listening to your sermons! Thank you for sharing your insights.

It is so exciting how God is using you! India - wow - to put it mildly!

Praying for you and Pam,

Renee Mills