Readings: Hosea 14, John 15:1-17
The prophetic book of Hosea is a letter of deep pain - God's heartbreak over the rebellion of His beloved, Israel. And though it was written more than seven centuries before Christ walked on earth, the very last chapter of Hosea gives a glimpse of the salvation God longs to bestow and what it will look like when Israel walks with God again, redeemed:
I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them. . . . They will blossom like the vine.
. . . O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like a luxuriant cypress; from Me comes your fruit.
Hosea 14:4, 7b, 8
And to accomplish all this, God sent Christ, the True Vine.
Christ came to heal our apostasy (or as Strong's put it - "backturning" or "faithlessness"). He came to voluntarily offer us love - the greatest life-laying-down love. He came to turn God's wrath away from us and toward Himself. All this, so that we who were just dead branches might be grafted into the only Life-Source, and tended by a Vinedresser who hears and cares for us.
And as though the gift of life alone were not enough, He gives us fruit as well: all our capacity for love and joy is found in Him, because by Him, we have been freely loved.