He Is Not Finished
John 15:5 (NASB)
I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
This Bible verse is one of the Bible passages our Pastor, Dr Stephen Tan, taught us a few weeks ago in church. What an insightful truth about our relationship with God and our dependency on Him.
As I meditate on this verse, God leads me to remember that while on earth, Jesus was raised in a carpenter’s family and might possibly be one himself (Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3). I wonder for a while the relationship between this and John 15:5. The first thing that springs in my mind is that both have got to do with wood.
Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. The vine is the source and sustenance of life for the branches, and they must be connected to the vine to live and bear fruits. Without the vine, no fruit can ever result. Branches are utterly dependent on the vine. Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches. Branches are essentially wood.
What does a carpenter do? A carpenter creates objects and structures out of wood. He takes wood from the natural environment, works on it until something useful and beautiful is made out of it. A carpenter also mends broken wooden objects to restore them to their intended function. Jesus grew up in a carpenter’s family.
A beautiful, endearing imagery begins to form in my mind. I see Jesus’ earthly vocation as a carpenter is in fact, a tangible and visible representation of all that He was going to do for all mankind. We are the wooden branches that Jesus has come to earth for. Jesus has come for us the wooden branches, to abide in Him. Jesus has chosen us to be saved, to be His children and to be crafted to masterpieces through His Hands.
As Jesus carried the wooden Cross on His back, He was carrying your sin and mine. As Jesus was nailed to the wooden Cross, He demonstrated His promise never to leave nor forsake us but to be forever with us. When Jesus breathed His last on the wooden Cross, He paid the full price of our sin and purchased our freedom and wholeness.
Jesus loves us too much for us to just have freedom from sin and enjoy eternal life. Jesus has a purpose for us in our life. He chooses you and me to make a masterpiece out of us, just as a carpenter chooses a piece of wood to create a piece of furniture. Jesus is always shaping us, molding us, chipping away from us parts that are not necessary, so that our life keeps transforming, fitting into the perfect will and purpose He has intended for us. Just as a piece of wood is totally at the helm of the carpenter, never resisting the works the carpenter is applying on it, you and I must always submit to all that Jesus is doing and wants to do in our life.
Besides creating masterpieces out of wood, a carpenter also mends and fixes broken wooden objects. Our Lord Jesus mends broken pieces in our life. He picks up our shattered fragments and causes every part to come together to work for the good of all who love Him and have been called by Him (Romans 8:28). Our failing health, weakening spiritual life, unsuccessful business, stagnant career and broken relationships, Jesus desires to and is able to mend them back to His perfection – when we surrender ourselves to Him like a piece of wood that is totally yielded to the hands of the carpenter.
What others see as a piece of ordinary wood, a carpenter sees its worth, chooses it and has a plan in him what he is going to create out of it. Jesus sees our incredible worth and has chosen you and me with His perfect purpose and plan in mind. He knows what He is doing. He is not finished until the day we see Him face to face. Before then, Jesus wants us to enjoy every moment of His carpentry works and He wants us to serve the purpose for which He has created us, which is to be continually transformed to be more like Him. Jesus also wants us to be the branches that are constantly abiding in Him Who is the Vine, and bear much fruit.
Let us pray together.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for creating me with an incredible worth. When You sent Jesus to die on the Cross for me, You have shown me how valuable I am and how much You love me. Teach me to always place my worth in You, and not upon people or situations. Help me to also always see the worth in other people through Your eyes and not through my own. I open my life up to You and yield myself completely to You, O Lord. Have Your way in me as I commit to abide in You and follow You. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”