John 15

This devotional is written by Isla Van-Tricht.

John 15

The vine and the branches
'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 fulfil 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.


The Vine and the Branches

I see this passage as both a relief and a challenge.

The Relief comes from the fact that we CANNOT bear fruit apart from the vine; we CANNOT do the things Jesus did and love like Jesus does without abiding in Jesus and being filled with the Holy Spirit

The challenge is to remain in relationship with Jesus. It’s worth asking ourselves: are we trying to do things in our own strength or are we working from a place of abiding in the vine that is Jesus?
The word ABIDE means remain, stay, or continue. The Greek word is ‘Meno’, which means to physically stay where you are; to continue to live (i.e. not die); to not change, to stay strong in one’s resolve; to stay present physically, mentally, and spiritually.

In a sense, Jesus asking us to remain or abide in him, is the same invitation to ‘Be still and know that Jesus is God’ and everything that that means for our lives and those around us.

And so if we abide in the vine and grow as it’s branches, what is the fruit we are expected to bear? LOVE. The fruit is love. ‘This is how people will know you are my disciples – that you are branches of my vine – the way you love one another’. That is the fruit, described in vs 16 as ‘the fruit that will LAST’.

Lord Jesus, thank you that you have made us clean by your sacrifice and suffering on the cross. Thank you for the price you paid so that we could abide in you and be one with you, as intimately connected as branches are to a vine. I pray that you would fill us anew today with your Holy Spirit and that would remain present physically, mentally and spiritually in your presence God throughout this day and this week, in order that we might bear your fruit of love, a love that changes everything, a love that will last. We know we can only do this when we stay in close connection with you – God help us to abide. In Jesus name and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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