Lessons for the Fifth Sunday of Easter, April 29, 2018

Acts 8: 26-40

The road from Jerusalem to Gaza passes through desert hills and rough terrain; today it is a multilane highway connecting Jerusalem and TelAviv with the international airport.  But in the days following the Resurrection it was a barren landscape.  The Apostle Philip, in Luke’s story, had been in Syria preaching the salvation of Jesus Christ when an angel directed him to this road in the hills.  While there he assisted an official of Ethiopia in reading Isaiah.  Philip interpreted the prophet’s servant song to be that of Jesus, to be the good news that Jesus of Nazareth had brought to the Jewish nation and the world.  And the black African official believed, was baptized and returned home rejoicing.

I John 4: 7-21

The author of the First Letter of John continues his abiding point that Christians must love one another; it is an essential characteristic of Christian life; it is the basic gift from God, and Christian life only exists where we unreservedly express that love in our daily lives.  To be in God is to love God and to love human beings however we contact them.

John 15: 1-8

This week we have the well-known metaphor of the vine, its source in Almighty God and the basic significance of the branches.  John is plainspoken in connecting sound human life with its source in God’s son, the Savior.  And without the continually verified link, (the branches), there is no sustainable life.  It is a very clear metaphor, a very clear expression of what life in Jesus Christ is for those who would follow him.