April: Producing good fruit 

April: Producing good fruit 

7 April

Psalm 133, Acts 4:32-33 

Psalm 133 is only three verses long. It extols the goodness of people living together in unity and harmony. It is a space of God’s blessing and prosperous life. While I have no illusions that the unity of The Walking Dead communities will last very long (this is a television show about a zombie apocalypse after all), we do read a small glimpse of it in Acts 4. 

The early church, probably still understood as a sect of Judaism, are found to be sharing their goods, having things in common, ensuring that all were fed, clothed, and sheltered. No one had need. 

While in our humanness, this may be very difficult to maintain, there are enough accounts of Christians living together well, and being God’s blessing to those around them, to make it a humble goal for believers. 

14 April

Luke 24:36b-48, Acts 3:12-19 

Peter was an eyewitness to the resurrected Jesus. He was there when Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and the other women returned from the tomb and told the disciples that the tomb was empty. He heard their claims that two men had said that Jesus was alive. He was there when the two believers returned from Emmaus and shared that they had seen Jesus. He was there when Jesus appeared in the room and asked them to look at his hands and feet. He experienced Jesus opening his mind to understand Scripture. 

When he spoke to the crowd outside the Temple, after he and John had healed a crippled man, Peter changed the narrative. He made it very clear that it was no power of his own that made a lame man walk. Rather, the power came from the God of the glorified Jesus. The Jesus who had been crucified by Pilate, was not dead, but alive. 

Peter didn’t leave it there, however. He acknowledges that the crucifixion was enacted out of ignorance on the part of the crowd and their leaders, who had demanded Jesus’ death. Peter then challenges the crowd to repent, to turn around, and enjoy the refreshing that comes from forgiveness and new life. 

21 April

Psalm 23, John 10:11-18 

Psalm 23 is a Psalm of incredible confidence. The author, traditionally regarded as King David, writes that the Lord is his Shepherd, “my Shepherd”. It is personal and intimate, and acknowledges that in this relationship he lacks nothing. 

This Psalm does not promise a perfect or problem free life. Rather, that in the midst of inevitable dark and troubled times, God’s presence remains. It provides comfort and reassurance that God will continue to provide and protect.  

Jesus, when he makes the statement ‘I am the Good Shepherd’ takes on those same responsibilities. For the early Christians and for us today, rereading Psalm 23, with Jesus as Lord, He is the one who restores our souls, leads us in the paths of righteousness, accompanies us through danger, and pursues us in his gracious love all the days of our lives. 

The Good Shepherd of this passage lays down his life for the sheep. This Good Shepherd sacrifices himself for his flock. 

28 April

John 15:1-8 

In Isaiah 5:1-7 the prophet describes a vineyard that has been planted by God, has been carefully tended, and abundantly provided for. God expects good fruit to come from this vineyard, yet what He receives in return for all His efforts is spoiled and putrid. 

Isaiah makes it very clear that the vineyard is Israel and God expects to find the nation administering justice, and displaying righteousness for all to see. Instead, the nation indulges in bloodshed, oppression, exploitation, and pride. God, therefore, has every right to perform the judgements found in Isaiah’s song.  

In John 15:1-17, Jesus claims to be the true vine, His Father is the gardener and His followers are the branches. As such, Jesus is the only one who can completely and perfectly fulfil God’s requirements of justice. Only He can do all that God ordains. 

Just like Israel, God expects a harvest from us, His followers. We need to be fruitful. We need to produce good grapes. 

If you are a Christian, the fruit you should bear is Christ Himself. 

People should look at Christians and see Jesus. They should see His love, His mercy, His grace, His justice, His compassion. We should be dripping with His character, overflowing with His nature, just like a plant in full bloom. 

Dr Katherine Grocott


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