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Jesus declared that He was, "The Way the Truth
and the Life," and that He would do as the
Father had commanded.
Then, perhaps even as they walked along to the "Garden of Gethsemane," where He was arrested, He gave us today's lesson.
John 15: 1-27:
Verse 1: "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser."
There are a number of references in the Old Testament, that refer
to Israel as a vine.
Here, Jesus describes Himself as, "The True Vine," which underscores the importance of fruitfulness in the Christian life. This fruitfulness is not a result of 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," He is the Messiah, and the True Vine.
In Him is completeness and all a Believer can hope for, including the forgiveness of sins, fulfillment of all promises, and everlasting life.
Jesus said, "My Father is the Vinedresser," and in verse two, tells us that:
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 term, "takes away," means to remove, and may refer to an unfaithful, disobedient Christian.
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 same 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," 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." This indicates that the relationship with Jesus is reciprocal. A branch can produce nothing unless it is connected to the vine. He is the source of all power and life.
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.
The ones 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 once known, then later rejected the Truth, 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." Christians who are truly in Christ, and ask in harmony with the Father, will have their prayers 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 a 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, and abiding in Christ's 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. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness..."
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."
Even in the Old Testament, keeping the commandments of 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 said was a "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," Jesus died for a world of sinners! This is the highest conceivable example of love, and the 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 bondservant to Christ. It means the Lord treats His Followers far better than any servant deserves.
Just as God once shared His Word with His prophets, He now shares His heart with His people through the Holy Spirit.(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.'
Jesus chose His disciples, they did not choose Him. He appointed them to go and bear fruit by bringing others to Christ.
In this Scripture love is again given as 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."
Jesus turns His thoughts to the power of hate, and warns His disciples about the coming opposition from the world. The world as used here, represents anything apart from God.
The people devoted to God are recognized by the evil spirits, which are satan and his spirits, or demons. These spirits
recognize the Children of God, and exhibit a bitter hatred toward them and the divine message they carry.
They do not want the message of Jesus preached. Jesus said, "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 will treat His disciples.
Servants cannot expect better treatment than their master. Just as with Jesus, not everyone will accept your teaching, but many will!
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," the world will punish God's disciples because it does not know Him.
Satan is the ruler of the world; but was dealt the "death blow" when Christ died on the cross, which will someday be completed.
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 hearers 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 that sinful people want to be left alone? They don't want their conscience awakened to God. I have heard it compared to a burglar tiptoeing past the guard dog, they will go to any extreme to avoid hearing about God.
Verse 23: "Whoever hates me hates my Father also."
Jesus had repeatedly told the people of His relationship with the Father:
Hating Jesus, is the same 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."
They have no excuse. They have seen the miracles, heard Jesus Words, and read the Scriptures that proved Jesus was who He said He was. Rather than believe in Him, they 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 was a reference to the entire Old Testament.
"Hated me without a cause" means they hated Him without a, "just cause." Evil is drawn entirely from Satan, and is its own sufficient reason for hating truth and righteousness.
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."
This is the third of what has been called, "Paraclete" passages in the Gospel of 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, 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
This Spirit of Truth, or Comforter, made it possible for the apostles to deliver the message of Christ to the world. The Comforter also brought 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 me from the beginning"... is a reference to the
disciples. They had been with Him from
the beginning, and had witnessed the miracles, persecution, and rejections. And they
had seen Him raise the dead and heal all types of diseases.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit To guide them into all truth, and to bring to remembrance the things Jesus had said, (John 14;26).
This concludes our study of, "The True Vine."
Our Next Study Is:
The Work of the Holy Spirit
Jesus tells the disciples that their sorrow will turn to joy.
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This is a great lesson on John 15: 1-27. Thank you for your labor of love in the gospel.
Melvin: United States