"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. - John 15:1-5
The beatitudes are so full and rich with knowledge! In my last post, I shared with y’all how the first four verses were about putting God first; to love him with all your heart, soul, and mind. I also shared that those first four verses were what our characters took root in. If you haven’t read that blog post, take a look at it here:
Tongues of Fire
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All…
This week we’ll take a look at the last four beatitudes. These last four verses are about the second greatest commandment: love your neighbor as yourself. They also represent the fruit that your character bears.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Treat those the way you want to be treated, right? Maybe you thought this verse meant that others will treat you right if you treat them right. But that’s not exactly right.
You have already been shown mercy. Jesus is living proof of that, isn’t he? God has compassion for you. He showed you mercy when you went to him. And because you went to him, because you want him, the fruit will produce in your life. This verse is about the fruit of compassion. You act out what you have seen God do for you because he impacted your life that much! It’s not about whether other people show you mercy… But about what you do with what God did for you. Make other people curious about God because of your compassion.
“Blessed are the pure at heart, for they shall see God.”
You know, before I used to look at this verse differently. Before I used to think it meant to strive for purity in all areas of my life, for sinlessness. But that was a bit dumb of me because no one, except Jesus, is sinless.
Instead, this verse is about purification. When Jesus went to the cross and rose again, he washed you white as snow. No longer is your sin held against you. You are free from the chains of sin.
And guess what? Because of the Holy Spirit in you, you are changing due to that purification. Have you ever noticed how much you’ve changed from before you were a Christian? You’re pure in that your desires are changing. These desires want to meet the two greatest commandments. It’s beautiful.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”
Peacemaking. I used to think that meant being a people pleaser. Like, I had to roll over and let others walk all over me just to maintain peace. But there are two issues with that outlook. One, maintaining peace isn’t peacemaking, it’s peacekeeping. Two, being a people pleaser will drink you dry of happiness and joy. Trust me, I know.
This verse isn’t talking about peace among one another either. No. This verse is talking about reconciliation between God and man. Look up the term peacemaker. It’s someone who makes peace by reconciling parties at variance; it’s to be an intercessor. We are to shine the light of God onto others. Especially nonbelievers who don’t know God. Let’s show them the way to eternal peace!
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for Righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
So, last week, we established that Jesus Christ is our Righteousness, right? Therefore, in other words, this verse is saying we will be persecuted for Christ’s sake. This will happen because we are people-oriented, just like Jesus is. We bear the fruit of identification with Christ.
See, we hate the sin because we love the sinner, at least that’s how we should be. We can’t be condoning. “Oh, you’re sinning this way. That’s okay, God loves you.” I mean, sure, God loves us all, he created us. But that has nothing to do with him loving what we do. The sins we commit are not okay. What did Jesus say to the woman who was about to be stoned for adultery? “Neither do I condemn you but go and leave your life of sin.”
The thing with that is the majority don’t see it that way. They don’t view “Repent, for the kingdom of God is near” as us loving them. They think we are condemning them. And, honestly, at times, I can’t blame their viewpoint. It’s all in how we share God’s word… And I’ve seen many instances where Christians have driven others away with how they do it.
But, often, even when we share the word correctly, people will still be unable to hear it at times. Bearing the fruit of identification with Christ Jesus will lead to any kind of backlash or persecution. But the reward of seeing others come to God is a beautiful one that’s well worth it!
Jesus is the vine. We are the branches. We are to take root in our Christianity. We are to live in spiritual poverty, mourn over our sins, put God’s will first through meekness, and crave Christ Jesus. Then, we’ll grow. We’ll bear fruit, fruit that will last. We’ll bear the fruit of compassion, purification, reconciliation, and identification.
Our kingdom is the kingdom of grace and glory. We are comforted by the gracious and compassionate one. The earth is ours. We have lasting satisfaction in Christ Jesus. We receive kindness, gentleness, compassion, and love from God. We see his hand in every part of our lives. We are adopted into sonship. We will reside in heaven with Him for all eternity. We are truly blessed.
Featured Image by Tim Wildsmith on Unsplash