April 28, 2024

MESSAGE – Fifth Sunday of Easter – Year B – Sunday 28 April 2024

MESSAGE – Fifth Sunday of Easter – Year B – Sunday 28 April 2024

The heart of this week’s Lectionary is Jesus’ exhortation to “bear fruit”. There are two emphases in this call. The first is to “remain in” Christ – dwelling in deep, life-giving connection with Christ. The experiences of Philip, who is guided by God’s Spirit, and of the eunuch who comes to faith through Philip’s work are examples of this dwelling in Christ.

The second emphasis is to “bear fruit”. What this fruit might be is explained by the other passages. John’s letter explains that the test of our discipleship, and the “proof” of our love for God is our love for others. This agrees with the context of John 15 which also speaks about love as the commandment Jesus gives his disciples.

The Acts reading and the Psalm also reflect another kind of fruit that we are called to bear – which certainly flows out of our love – it’s the fruit of our witness to Christ. This section of Psalm 22, which is the restoration part of the Psalm of lament that Jesus quoted on the cross, speaks of proclaiming God’s righteousness (justice) to unborn generations. This is an exhortation to share the goodness and justice of God with others in such a way that it impacts the world for those who are yet to be born. Philip’s obedience to the Spirit, and gentle witness to the Ethiopian eunuch is an example of this fruit bearing – sharing God’s grace and love with others (who would usually not be welcomed – as a Gentile and a eunuch this man would not have been permitted into the temple) in such a way that it changes the world for time to come.

Essentially, the key to this week’s theme is that our love for God must flow out into love for others – both Christian companions and others – in such a way that they too come to love God and others. This growing cycle of love for God and neighbour is what it means to bear fruit for God’s Reign.