Read John 15
The Vine and the Branches
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 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.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
The World Hates the Disciples
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
The Work of the Holy Spirit
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
This is one of the most well known, often quoted sections in all of Scripture. Jesus is in the middle of his farewell address to the disciples and He is trying to communicate everything He wants them to know as He prepares for what awaits. The passage begins with a famous metaphor (and another “I Am” statement) of Jesus as the true vine. He reminds the disciples that, apart from Him, they can do nothing on their own. He then reminds them to remain (or abide) in Him and love one another as He had commanded them to do.
He then moves into a warning of how the world is going to view His followers. While these two ideas are often disconnected, the beginning of John 15 is actually the solution to what Jesus addresses towards the end. The message of the gospel is controversial. Explaining to people that they are broken and in need of a Savior is offensive, particularly in a strongly individualistic culture like we have. Telling sinners the answer is found in a man who lived, died, and rose again on their behalf is going to get you some funny looks. So of course the world is going to be skeptical! Of course you are going to feel like an outsider. Of course people will (at times) antagonize you for what you believe. While the hatred for us may not may not be as severe or as extreme as it was for the disciples, it still should not catch us off guard when we are treated as “different.”
So what do we do when it feels like the world is against us? In a word: remain. Consistently remind yourself that Jesus is better than what the world has to offer. As foreigners and exiles here on earth (1 Peter 2:11), we shouldn’t ever feel like this world is our home. We should anticipate strife with the world. And we should consistently and faithfully keep our hope grounded in Jesus and Him alone.
- What is Jesus telling us to expect when He talks about the branches being pruned and bearing fruit? What do you know about the pruning process?
- Is remaining in Jesus easy or difficult for you? Are you more prone to wander or remain?
- Have you experienced hatred from the world? What did that look like? How can you faithfully endure it without compromising your faith or values?
Did You Know?
John 15 is unique in that every single word in this chapter is attributed to Jesus. While the chapters and verse breaks were added later to make certain sections easier to find, it’s still a rarity to have an entire chapter of only Jesus’ words.
3 thoughts on “John 15”
I like how Jesus took ordinary things that were familiar to his followers to make a point, in an agricultural community a grape vine would be his choice as he describes how a gardener cares for his vineyard. Jesus explains that no one will remain untouched by the knife, unbelievers will be cut off as dead branches that do not contribute to a healthy body, believers will be pruned to make them stronger and the body healthier. Jesus further explains that the only way to bear fruit is to obey the Father and abide in him. Believers will be marked by Christ-like love, persecution, and the Spirit of Truth. We won’t always be spared trials, but inside each one is tucked a gift for us to discover, that’s the beauty of pruning. Today I want to remember Immanuel, God WITH us, as we are stretched and challenged that we can choose to draw near and remain in him, the One who came down from heaven to rescue us.
Verse 16 reminds me of Ephesians 2:10 – that God, in His kindness, has already prepared for us good works. And that we should walk in them through reliance on His power and not our own, that He may be glorified in us.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.” John 15:16
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
As Jesus prepared to leave his disciples, he returns to the unshakeable bedrock of our relationship with God:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you,” (v. 9). With and through Christ, we are beloved sons and daughters of God.
This assurance comes with two repeated commands:
1. Remain! “Remain in me,” (vv. 3, 4, 5) – and “I in you” (vv. 4, 5, 7); “apart from me you can do nothing,” (v. 5); “remain in my love,” (vv. 9, 10).
2. Love each other! “Love each other as I have loved you,” (v. 12, cf. v. 17).
Is not this an expansion of what Jesus told the querulous law expert who asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” (Matthew 22:34-40)?