“Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit” (John 15:5). The fruit we are to bear is to share God’s love and new life through Jesus Christ with those we meet. What does that look like?
Crossing Cultural Divides
We don’t have to look any further than our first reading from the Bible yesterday in Acts 8:26-40. Phillip, a disciple of Jesus, before and after Jesus was raised from the dead, was guided by God’s spirit to notice a person seated in a chariot along a road. But that person was of a different culture, class and even sexual status than Phillip – to name just a few of the cultural divides that should have kept Phillip steering clear of this individual. Yet Phillip wasn’t stopped by those potential barriers. God’s Spirit said – “keep going” – so he went.
As Phillip approached, he heard the Ethiopian eunuch reading from the prophet Isaiah. Phillip offers to talk about this reading with the stranger. From the stranger’s perspective, here is a practicing religious person from a different culture asking an opening question. But Phillip would understand this reading. So, the Ethiopian eunuch invites Phillip to sit with him.
Sharing the Story
Then Phillip takes this initial conversation in an ever-new direction! Phillip takes that scripture reading and explains how this passage points to the life, death and resurrection of a man this eunuch may not have even heard of – Jesus! Having been a disciple of Jesus himself, Phillip likely not only told Jesus’ story, but Phillip must have told his own story about how Jesus life, death, and resurrection had changed his own life. And God’s Spirit takes this conversation and changes this Ethiopian’s life. He’s baptized and goes on his way rejoicing.
God-Sent & Invited to Share
That’s how we all bear fruit. We tell the story of Jesus, in our own way. We tell the story of how Jesus’ story has impacted, – or perhaps even totally changed – our lives! We tell our stories. Then we let God take us to present those stories to those who need to hear them. We can tell our stories to those with whom we are comfortable telling them…yet we can also tell our stories to those whom we have yet to meet or even tell them to those whom we may be initially uncomfortable meeting.
We are God-sent people, invited to take new paths, as we carry the Gospel good news of Jesus in our hearts along life’s way. The risen Christ is our source for the new person we’ve each become and who we are together because Jesus is our vine and we are his branches. By that joyous, deep connection, we can’t help but bear good fruit! Share your story!