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Psalm 22:25-31 1
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows. 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him—may your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, 28 for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations. 29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—those who cannot keep themselves alive. 30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

Background

We do not know  exactly when David wrote Psalm 22. He was very ill, or he was hurt badly and is writing about his suffering. But David also writes about the sufferings of other people. For example, people often torture other people. Near Judah was a place called Tyre. In Tyre the torture used was to nail them to wood, through their hands hands and feet.

So Psalm 22 is more than a psalm about just the sufferings of David. His own agony made him think about the agony of other people. we as Christians believe David wrote about the agony of one yet to come, Jesus Christ. In Acts 2 is something that Peter said seven weeks after Jesus died and rose again. In Acts 2:30 Peter said, “David was a prophet. He wrote about Christ”.

The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets as this psalm testifies . It proclaims clearly and fully, the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that will follow.  What we have is a sorrowful complaint of  what happens when God withdraws. This can be applied to any of us when we are pressed down, overwhelmed with grief and terror. Spiritual desertions are the saints’ our worst nightmares. Yet even when we complain, it is still a sign of spiritual life and the exercising of our spiritual senses. To cry out to  God, why am I sick? why am I poor? is nothing more than Christ’s cry, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” is the language of a heart binding up its happiness in God’s favor. Christ declared the holiness of God, His heavenly Father, in his worst sufferings. No one was ever made ashamed of their hope. Our Saviour  spoke of the state to which he was reduced. The history of Christ’s sufferings, and of his birth, explains this prophecy.

Items for Discussion

  • How do people gain hope from their despair and suffering? What are your tips you would pass on?
  • Is it wrong to feel guilt when we are suffering? What about even when we did something that we deserved to suffer for?
  • To suffer is human: How to do we prepare our future generations so that they have the same hopeful attitude expressed in David’s Psalm?
  • Why is the Christian testimony so important to those who are suffering?

 

John 15:1-8
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Background 2

Jesus Christ is the Vine, the true Vine.  He is the union of the human and Divine, and the fulness of the Spirit that is in Him, resembles the root of the vine made fruitful by the moisture from a rich soil. Believers (us) are branches of this Vine. The root is unseen, and our our outward life can hide our connection to Christ. The root (Christ) bears the tree, diffuses sap to it, and in Christ supports and supplies us with our needs. In the Christian community are many branches, we too may have more than one. Yet, meeting at the root, we all make one vine.

While we are all part of the body of true Christians, just like the vines, we are gathered in different places and with differing opinions but still meet through Christ attached to the root. Believers, like the branches of the vine, are weak, and unable to stand on their own. Our responsibility is to be fruitful. From a vine we look for grapes, and from a Christian we look for a Christian temper, disposition, and life. We must honor God, and do good; this is bearing fruit. The unfruitful are taken away. And even fruitful branches need pruning; for the best have notions, passions, and humors, that require to be taken away, which Christ has promised to forward the sanctification of believers, they will be thankful, for them. The word of Christ is spoken to all believers; and there is a cleansing virtue in that word, as it works grace, and works out corruption. And the more fruit we bring forth, the more we abound in what is good, the more our Lord is glorified. In order to fruitfulness, we must abide in Christ, must have union with him by faith. It is the great concern of all Christ’s disciples, constantly to keep up dependence upon Christ, and communion with Him. True Christians find by experience, that any interruption in the exercise of their faith, causes their faithfulness to decline, their corruptions to revive, and their ability to comfort to droop. Those who abide not in Christ, though they may flourish for awhile will come to nothing. The fire is the fittest place for withered branches; they are good for nothing else.

Items for Discussion

  • What are the differences between the vine and the branches?
  • What are the “branches” of a Christian’s life?
  • Explain your reasoning as to what is the pruning of branches and why it must be done?
  • To the Christian life, what does it mean to bear fruit?
  • We are called to “abide” in Christ–How is this explained by the concept of a vine and branches?
  • What is the “Fruit” of a Christian life?

Discussion Challenge

  • How does the process of pruning occur from the perspective of a congregation/church? What does it look like?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=43&c=15
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