Joh 15:1-27. Discourse at
the Supper Table Continued.
1-8. The spiritual oneness of Christ and
His people, and His relation to them as the Source of all their
spiritual life and fruitfulness, are here beautifully set forth by
a figure familiar to Jewish ears (Isa 5:1, &c.).
I am the true vine—of whom the vine of
nature is but a shadow.
my Father is the husbandman—the great
Proprietor of the vineyard, the Lord of the spiritual kingdom. (It is
surely unnecessary to point out the claim to supreme divinity
involved in this).
2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit
… every branch that beareth fruit—As in a fruit tree,
some branches may be fruitful, others quite barren,
according as there is a vital connection between the branch and
the stock, or no vital connection; so the disciples of Christ
may be spiritually fruitful or the reverse, according as they are
vitally and spiritually connected with Christ, or but
externally and mechanically attached to Him. The
fruitless He "taketh away" (see on Joh 15:6);
the fruitful He "purgeth" (cleanseth, pruneth)—stripping
it, as the husbandman does, of what is rank (Mr 4:19), "that it may bring forth more fruit";
a process often painful, but no less needful and beneficial than in the
3. Now—rather, "Already."
ye are clean through—by reason of.
the word I have spoken to you—already
in a purified, fruitful condition, in consequence of the long action
upon them of that searching "word" which was "as a refiner's fire"
4. Abide in me, and I in you; as the branch cannot
bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, &c.—As
all spiritual fruitfulness had been ascribed to the mutual
inhabitation, and living, active interpenetration (so to
speak) of Christ and His disciples, so here the keeping up of this
vital connection is made essential to continued fruitfulness.
5. without me—apart, or vitally
disconnected from Me.
ye can do nothing—spiritually,
6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a
branch … withered … cast into the fire …
burned—The one proper use of the vine is to bear
fruit; failing this, it is good for one other
thing—fuel. (See Eze 15:1-5). How awfully striking the figure, in
this view of it!
7. If ye abide in me, and my words … in
you—Mark the change from the inhabitation of Himself
to that of His words, paving the way for the subsequent
exhortations (Joh 15:9, 10).
ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto
you—because this indwelling of His words in them would secure
the harmony of their askings with the divine will.
8. glorified that ye bear much fruit—not
only from His delight in it for its own sake, but as from "the juices
of the Living Vine."
so shall ye be my
disciples—evidence your discipleship.
9-11. continue ye in my love—not,
"Continue to love Me," but, "Continue in the possession and enjoyment
of My love to you"; as is evident from the next words.
10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in
my love—the obedient spirit of true discipleship cherishing
and attracting the continuance and increase of Christ's love; and this,
He adds, was the secret even of His own abiding in His Father's
12-16. That ye love one another,
&c.—(See on Joh 13:34, 35).
13. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man
lay down his life for his friends—The emphasis lies not on
"friends," but on "laying down his life" for them; that is, "One
can show no greater regard for those dear to him than to give his life
for them, and this is the love ye shall find in Me."
14. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I
command you—hold yourselves in absolute subjection to Me.
15. Henceforth I call you not
servants—that is, in the sense explained in the next
words; for servants He still calls them (Joh 15:20), and they delight to call themselves
so, in the sense of being "under law to Christ" (1Co 9:20).
the servant knoweth not what his lord
doeth—knows nothing of his master's plans and
reasons, but simply receives and executes his orders.
but … friends, for all things that I have
heard of my Father I have made known unto you—admitted you to
free, unrestrained fellowship, keeping back nothing from you which I
have received to communicate. (Compare Ge 18:17; Ps 25:14; Isa
16. Ye have not chosen me, but I …
you—a wholesale memento after the lofty things He had just
said about their mutual indwelling, and the unreservedness of the
friendship they had been admitted to.
you, that ye should go and bring forth
fruit—that is, give yourselves to it.
and that your fruit should
remain—showing itself to be an imperishable and ever growing
principle. (Compare Pr 4:18; 2Jo 8).
that whatsoever ye shall ask,
&c.—(See on Joh 15:7).
17-21. The substance of these important verses
has occurred more than once before. (See on Mt
10:34-36; Lu 12:49-53, &c.).
22-25. (See on Joh
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had
not had sin—comparatively none; all other sins being
light compared with the rejection of the Son of God.
now they have no cloak for their
24. If I had not done … the works which none
other … did—(See on Joh
25. that the word might be fulfilled … They
hated me without a cause—quoted from the Messianic Ps 69:4, applied also in the same sense in
Joh 2:17; Ac 1:20; Ro 11:9, 10; 15:3.
26, 27. (See on Joh
14:15; Joh 14:17).
27. ye also shall bear witness—rather,
"are witnesses"; with reference indeed to their future
witness-bearing, but putting the emphasis upon their present
ample opportunities for acquiring their qualifications for that great
office, inasmuch as they had been "with Him from the beginning." (See
on Lu 1:2).