"Jesus said, I AM the True Vine"
In our previous study Jesus declared that He was The Way the Truth and the Life. He then taught on the second coming, or the rapture, as it is sometimes called; went on to promise the Holy Spirit and told the disciples that as He was in the Father and the Father in Him, that He would be in them. Verse 20: "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."
Last week's study ended with Jesus declaring He would do as the Father had commanded Him, and that the world would then know that He loved Him. Then He said "lets Go!" or (lets get on with it) It is believed that perhaps in the following few minutes, possibly as they walked along, He gave us today's lesson:
I Am the True Vine
Verse 1: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser."
There are a number of references in the Old Testament which refer to Israel as a vine. The vine was symbolic of Israel and appeared on some of their coins. Here Jesus describes Himself as "The True Vine." In this image the true vine is seen as original with Jesus, and, when compared with the Old Testament, is significantly different. The new image ;underscores the importance of fruitfulness in the Christian life which results not from human achievement, but from one's position in Christ. The branches obviously depend on the vine for their continued life.
Jesus is God, God the Son, the "Alfa and Omega," the "Beginning and the End" vine! He is the "Messiah" In Him is completeness and all the believer can hope for including the forgiveness of sins, fulfillment of all promises, and everlasting life.
And Jesus says, "My Father is the Vinedresser, " and in the following verse, verse two, He tells what the Father does:
Verse 2: "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."
Most believe the word "takes away," means to remove, and may refer to an unfaithful disobedient Christian, or perhaps to someone who was never a genuine believer in the first place.
Verse 3: "Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you."
According to translators the word clean, as used here, means to be cleansed from sin. The original Greek word was also used in John 13:10 when Jesus washed the disciples feet and declared them "cleansed from sin." (Judas was specifically excluded)
Verse 4: "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."
The word "abide" "remain" or "dwell" is the verb form of "dwelling place." In the old Testament God had promised to dwell with His obedient people always. (EX 25:8; 29:45; Lev 26:11-12; and more)
Most believe this to mean "if you remain in me, then I will also remain in you." which indicates that the relationship with Jesus is reciprocal. A branch of course can produce nothing unless they are connected to the vine. He is the source of all power and life itself.
Verse 5: "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."
Verse 6: "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. Some believe the branches who do not bear fruit and are taken away and burned were not genuine believers to begin with.
The one's who gather the branches and cast them into the fire are the angels. (Matt 13:41:49)
Dead, fruitless branches, except for fuel, are of little value. The Jewish teachers taught that God had greater punishments in store for apostates, because those who had known the truth and the rejected it had no excuse.
Verse 7: "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."
"If you abide in me," If you constantly walk by the power of the Holy Spirit, and adhere to and obey the teachings of Jesus - " "ask whatever you will" is not a promise that anything asked by just any person of God will be done, but when a person is truly in Christ and asks in harmony with the Father's will, his prays will be answered. This is a great promise!
Verse 8: "By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples."
When the Christian bears much fruit it not only glorifies Jesus, but the Father as well, the One who sent Him. Our fruit, the work and result of our work in Christ proves that we are His disciples.
Verse 9-10: "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 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."
Walking, abiding in Christ love means to continually live in an atmosphere of love.
Verse 11: "These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."
Jesus had been teaching the disciples about the Holy Spirit and had spoken of Him repeatedly. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness..."
(READ CHRISTLIKENESS) IN KINGDOM DYNAMICS. (Verse 11)
Verse 12-14: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you."
In the Old Testament keeping the commandments, spoken of here as love, were supposed to bring joy. (PS 19:8)
To "love one another," is the same commandment Jesus gave in John 13:14, which, if you remember, He called the "New Commandment."
Although the Greeks considered dying for others to be heroic, and friendship to the death of high moral value, the Jews did not share this perspective.
In verse 13, speaking of "laying down his life," isn't it amazing that Jesus died for a world of sinners? This is the highest conceivable example of love. Jesus death on the cross is greatest act of love known to man.
Verse 15: "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."
That the Christian is no longer a servant does not mean he is not a bond servant to Christ, simply that the Lord treats His followers far better than any servant deserves.
Through the Holy Spirit God now shares His heart with all His people, as He once shared His word with His prophets (Gen18:17; Amos 3:7)
Verse 16-17: "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. 17These things I command you, so that you will love one another.'
Here Jesus reminds the disciples that He chose them, they didn't choose Him. He appointed them to go and bear fruit, that is to bring others to Christ.
If you notice in this scripture, love is a command. This is a common theme throughout the Gospel of John.
The Hatred of the World
Verse 18-19: "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you."
The previous scripture spoke of the power of love, then turns His thoughts to the power of hate, warning His disciples about the coming opposition from the world. The world as used here represents anything apart from God.
Jesus pointed out a spiritual reason for the world's hate. Because He had chose his disciples, they had become suspect in the eyes of the world.
The people devoted to God are recognized by the evil spirits, that is, Satan and his spirits, or demons. These spirits, some indwelling worldly people, and otherwise controlling the world, recognize the children of God and exhibit a bitter hatred toward them, as well as for the divine message they carry. They don't want the message of Jesus preached. Jesus said that "as the world hated Him it would hate His followers."
Verse 20: "Remember the word that I said to you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours."
Again, as the world treated Jesus, so it would treat His disciples, and so it will treat their words.
Servants cannot expect better treatment than their master, nor expect the world to accept their teaching.
Verse 21: "But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me."
In our present time, as well as down through the ages Christians have suffered hatred, mockery, persecution, lying trials, and death itself.
The One who sent Jesus was "God the Father," and the world will punish God's disciples because it doesn't know Him.
But..as we read in last week's study, (John 14:30) Satan is the ruler of the world; but was dealt the "death blow" when Christ died on the cross, which will someday be complete, as some might say, it's already a done deal!
Verse 22: "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin."
The coming of Jesus brought His hears a moral responsibility. If they heard the truth they had no excuse. The same as today, it either condemns, or sets free.
Have you ever noticed how that sinful people want to be left alone? They don't want their conscience awakened to God by our speaking to them. I have heard it compared to a burglar tiptoeing past the guard dog, they will go to any extreme to avoid hearing about God.
The sin of failing to recognize the Fathers plan in Jesus resulted in guilt. and in the following verse Jesus said:
Verse 23: "Whoever hates me hates my Father also."
Jesus had repeatedly told the people of His relationship with the Father:
I and the Father are one (John 10:30).
He that believeth on me, believeth ... on him that sent me (John 12:44).
He that beholdeth me beholdeth him that sent me (John 12:45).
If ye had known me, ye would have known my Father also (John 14:7).
He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father (John 5:23).
He that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me (John 13:20).
God will send the Comforter (John 14:16); Christ will send the Comforter (John 15:26).(KJV)
Hating Jesus is the same thing as hating the Father.
Verse 24: "If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father."
Again, as in verse 22, they have no excuse. They have seen the miracles, heard Jesus words and read the scriptures that had proved Jesus was who He said He was, but rather than believing in Him have turned to hatred. There is no way the carnal mind can love and accept the teachings of Jesus.
Verse 25: "But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause."
The word "Law" as used here, was not from the Pentateuch, but a reference to the entire Old Testament.
Hated me without a cause means they hated Him with a "just cause." It has been said that "Evil is it's own sufficient reason for hating truth and righteousness." Evil is drawn entirely from Satan.
But, don't give up hope, because verse 26 says -
Verse 26: "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me."
(READ "HELPER" - FROM WORD WEALTH FOLLOWING JOHN 15:26)
This is the third of what has been call "Paraclete" passages in John. Parakletos (par-ak-lay-toss) translated Comforter, is found in the first four of these passages.
"The Spirit of Truth" is another name used for the Comforter. In the early church days the word "truth" was often used in a way to mean God, or of God. So we can see how it would tie in as the Spirit of Truth. This Spirit of Truth, or Comforter, made it possible for the apostles to deliver the message of Christ to the world, while at the same time receive the Spirit of Peace and Joy in the midst of terrible situations.
Verse 27: "And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning."
With Him from the beginning... is a direct reference to the disciples, or apostles as they later became. They had been with Him from the beginning through the miracles persecution, and rejections. They had seen Him raise the dead and heal all types of diseases, and John 14;26 says the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth and bring to remembrance whatever Jesus had said to them.