Jesus is in his final day. He knows he will soon be arrested and crucified. Therefore, he gathers his fellows together for one of his final lessons. What does he wish for his friends to know?
John 15:1-17 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
The Father is the vinedresser. He is the one who longs to see healthy vines bearing, with healthy branches, bearing much fruit. A fruitful vine and branches brings glory to the Father.
The Son is the vine. He is the one pleasing to the Father. He is the one giving sustenance to connected branches. He is the one who produces the fruit that the Father desires, and he does so through his Holy Spirit.
Disciples are the branches, and they exist to bear fruit through the work of the Vinedresser and the Vine. Yes, the Father, through the Son, utilizes branches to bring forth his produce that is delightful.
Some disciples are only externally attached. They prove themselves by being fruitless, and ultimately they are cut off and burned. (I.e. Judas)
Some branches are eternally attached. They are cleaned by God, watered, nourished, and pruned by the Father, and all this through the Son and Spirit. These eternal branches, they prove themselves by bearing forth much fruit. (I.e. Eleven other disciples)
What are Jesus’ disciples to know? They are to consistently remember that apart from the Father and the Son, they can do absolutely nothing. They can bear no pleasing fruit.
What are Jesus’ disciples to do? They are to abide in Christ. They are to rest in the extravagant love of the Father and Son. They are to read his words and pray for divine success. Then, they are to practice God’s will and wait for God to produce his desired fruit through them. And in all of this, they are to enjoy the process.
What will this divinely-produced fruit look like? It will look like Christlike agape love expressed towards others — first towards those who are our Christian brothers and sisters in the church, and then towards those in the neighborhood.
How might we respond to Jesus’ teaching? I intend to …
- Rest in the Gospel — trusting Jesus’ fruit and not my own
- Lust for more fruit that lasts forever
- Pray for more fruit that lasts forever
- Follow the inner inklings of the Holy Spirit as I am given opportunities to show love to those in my church family and those outside in the neighborhood
- Relax and quit trying to build Christ’s church — he can carry the burden