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Jesus the True Vine

15

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

The World’s Hatred

18 “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you. 19If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world—therefore the world hates you. 20Remember the word that I said to you, ‘Servants are not greater than their master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25It was to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. 27You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.


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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 natural husbandry.

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" (Mal 3:2, 3).

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, acceptably.

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 disciplesevidence 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 love!

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 50:4).

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.

ordained—appointed.

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 9:39-41).

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sincomparatively none; all other sins being light compared with the rejection of the Son of God.

now they have no cloak for their sin—rather, "pretext."

24. If I had not done … the works which none other … did—(See on Joh 12:37).

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).




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