Summary: Like a Vine giving power to its branches, Jesus gives us POWER through his Word so that we can PERSEVERE and fulfill our PURPOSE in life. Such power comes only from Jesus not from ourselves.(High School graduation)
Remember the Three P’s
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit guides our hearts and minds today is what Jesus spoke, recorded in John 15:1- 8
Dear friends who belong to Jesus and especially you, our high school graduates for 2003
You’ve made it. You entered kindergarten to start learning the three R’s: reading, writing, and arithmetic, and now you are graduating as seniors. It’s a time of joyful accomplishments as well as sad partings. It’s a time of finishing as well as a time of beginning. More than ever before, people view you as adults with the responsibilities that involves. Your school has prepared you academically with the three R’s to carry out adult responsibilities, but are you spiritual ready? Are you spiritual ready to live your Christian faith and honor your Savior in the face of Satan’s lies and the world’s deceitful promises and pleasures?
Are you spiritually ready? Or maybe a better question to ask is: How do you spiritually get ready and remain ready as you face the life in front of you? Jesus words in John 15 answer that. Jesus speaks these words to his disciples at their commencement so to speak. They had spent three years learning from Jesus. But now it’s Maundy Thursday. This is Jesus last time to speak to his disciples before his betrayal, death, and resurrection. He speaks these words to you and me as well. Take them to heart and remember them as you pass this milestone in life. For instead of the three R’s these words teach us the three P’s. They teach us spiritual power, perseverance, and purpose..
The challenges and temptations that you and I face are too great for our human power. And even though right now you may feel on top of the world and invincible, a time comes in all our lives where we are knocked flat on our back, and we see that we never really had power on our own to begin with.
Jesus words bring us real power. For Jesus teaches us where power comes from and how it comes to us. He says, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15: 5 NIV).
Where does true power come from? Not from ourselves. How many grapes will this branch, cut from the vine, produce? None. Jesus says, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:4 NIV). Or look at this light bulb. No matter how hard it tries it’s not going to light itself.
And yet as clear as these examples are, you are going to face the temptation to power yourself. This temptation is what humanism is all about. Colleges are filled with it. You’ve been exposed to it already in school. Humanism says that you control your future. That you need to focus on you to draw the power out. That you can go where you want to go, be what you want to be, and do what you want do. And humanism may look and sound good, just like this leafy branch still looks good. But humanism cuts you off from the Vine and like this branch, which will wither, so will all who follow humanism.
Even many Christian groups you run into will teach that you have some sort of natural spiritual power. They will talk about the need to make your decision to come to Jesus, as if this branch had the power to go and attach itself to the Vine. Remember what you learned in Catechism under the Third Article: “I can not by my own thinking or doing believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him.”
Power does not come from ourselves. Where does it come from, then? And how does it get to us? Those are the key questions. For without the power we don’t have any of the three P’s. Without the power we can not persevere; we have no purpose. Where does power come from? How does it get to you and me?
Jesus answers, “I am the true vine . . . you are the branches.” (John 15:1, 5). Just as a branch connected to the vine has the power to produce fruit. So when you and I are in Jesus, the true Vine, we have the power. Only Jesus is the genuine vine. Only he can give us the real power. Humanism and any other philosophy, religion, or life-style are only powerless imitations. Jesus is the true Vine.