5th Sunday of Easter – May 2, 2021

East5B21.    Acts of the Apostles 9:26-31.   When Saul, later to be renamed Paul, who previously had viciously persecuted Christians, arrived in Jerusalem, the disciples did not believe that he was truly a disciple of Jesus.  Barnabas reported that the Lord had converted Paul by appearing to him and speaking to him.  Paul bore the fruit of his conversion by speaking “out boldly in the name of Jesus.”  The church (people of God) also bore the fruit of God’s work in them by “being built up” and growing in numbers.

John 15:1-8.  Jesus is, as a vine through whom divine life flows into us, the branches.  “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”   God’s divine life, flowing into us, enables us to grow more and more in his image and likeness as his children.  He demands that his presence in us is productive; otherwise he will dispose of us.  “If you remain in me and my words (if you listen and obey what I tell you) remain in you, ask for whatever you want (in order to bear the fruit God expects of us) and it will be done for you.”  “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”  When God’s presence and the work of his presence can be seen in us, glory is given to God.

1 John 3:18-24.   Love is more than what we talk about and the affections we feel, but even more importantly, how we act and treat others.  We need to develop an inner sense and confidence (‘our hearts’) with God’s help that we are on the right track for pleasing God and for doing God’s will and not our own.  We ask of God for what we need to belong to his him and his will.  “Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit he gave us.”  We depend upon the Holy Spirit to move our hearts, minds and actions in the direction that pleases God.  We hope and pray that God’s work in us may give glory to God.