“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[a] 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.
Personal Reflection and Discussion
- Verse 15:1 contains the 7th and final “I AM” statement in John’s Gospel. Review all seven (6:35; 8:12; 10:7; 10:11; 11:25; 14:6; and 15:1). Which statement is most meaningful for you at this time? Explain.
- What is the purpose and value of pruning a plant or tree? Draw as many parallels as you can between pruning a plant and God’s pruning of us (see Hebrews 12:1).
- This passage encourages us to remain in the Vine (in Jesus) and He in us (vs. 4-5).
- What happens when we remain in Jesus?
- What are the consequences of not remaining in Jesus?
- What is the mark of a true disciple of Jesus – vs. 8, 16, 17 (see also John 13:34-35; Gal 6:2, 9-10; Mk 10:42-45)?
- What is your understanding of vs. 9-12? A. God loves us and all people (see Jn 3:16-17; Mt 9:10-13; Luke 19:10; Romans 5:7-8). Obedience is not required. However, in order for us to experience God’s love as He intended, in a way that leads to joy, obedience is required. Otherwise, His wisdom and instruction become merely a painful truth. B. Provide examples (e.g., a loving parent instructs a child not to touch a hot stove or play in traffic).
Jesus, there are things in my life that are like sucker branches — sucking life from me and negatively impacting my effectiveness, my relationships and my ministry. Although painful, prune me to make me productive, bearing Your fruit.
Jesus, the fact that YOU, through Your Spirit, actually live in me in order that YOU might bear fruit through me is beyond my comprehension; yet thankfully, it is true. Help me reflect more on this awesome truth that YOU may ever increasingly bear more fruit through me.
Jesus, in John’s Gospel You mention two indicators for being one of Your disciples. The indicators You give are not worship attendance, although You do indicate Your followers will worship You “in Spirit and Truth.” Nor do you say that an indicator will be the number of Bible verses one has memorized, although we are encouraged to “let the Word of Christ dwell in being fruitful.” Jesus, continue to form Yourself in me in order that I might increasingly be transformed into Your image and bear the fruit of Your Spirit, reaching those You came to seek and to save.
Jesus, in this passage “remain” might better be translated “enjoy.” You love me regardless of my obedience, but as I obey, I enjoy Your love as You intend for it to be experienced. I liken this passage to a little child about to touch a hot stove. A parent, in love, instructs/commands the child “don’t touch.” If the child obeys, the parent experiences and enjoys the parent’s love as the parent intended. If the child disobeys and touches the hot stove, the parent still loves the child and will doctor the burn, but the child misses the intent and joy of the parent’s love.
Jesus, You considered me a friend not because of any quality in me deserving of Your friendship, but because of who You are, love incarnate. You consider everyone a friend. As a part of Your body, the church incarnate, flesh-out/live out Your love through me today; loving people not because they deserve it, but because they need it!
Greek Words of the Day
English Word: abide | Transliterated Word: Meno
To stay, continue, dwell, endure, last, live, permanent, remain, stay
Of the relation in which one person or thing stands with another, chiefly in John’s writings; thus to remain in or with someone, to be and remain united with him, one with him in heart, mind, and will.
Very spot on for how John desires to convey the relationship God desires and commits to with us.
Family Engagement Activity
Consider starting a family journal, blessing tree, or grace grapevine.
Family Journal – Have a notebook around the house where you invite your family to write or draw pictures of different ways they have seen the fruits of the Spirit in others (and in the family), because of Jesus being the vine and we being the branches. Have it out so people can see the fruits of the vine when we remain in him.
Blessing Tree – Get your Christmas tree out during the month of June and instead of lights and ornaments, clothespin blessings to the tree with the same idea as the family journal.
Grace Grapevine – Between a door frame in your house, nail a piece of string and let the string sway a little bit so you can hang clothes pins on it….same continuing idea.
Just have some fun by tossing grapes in each other’s mouth or bobbing for apples.
Going Activities To Consider
Double your time in the next couple of days or so, abiding in the word. Double the amount of worship music you listen to. Consider doubling up your time for another. Thank God for him ALWAYS being with you.
Draw a vine. Consider yourself a branch (if your family wants to join in, awesome!). When you receive an affirmation that someone saw a fruit of the spirit through you, add a fruit to the vine. If you have others that have seen Christ in you and see you as an example of Christ, add a branch to your branch. Consider keeping a small branch by your end table or at your study area to remind yourself that when you remain in Christ, you could be used as the branch that grows other branches. Consider giving a fruit of the Spirit to someone today.
Send someone fruit (if possible and socially acceptable).
Here are the Edible Arrangements around Indianapolis