Jesus Christ is the true vine, and we are his branches. We are to keep his commands. The world will hate us. The Holy Spirit will testify about Jesus.
I am the true vine. In the Old Testament era, Israel was the vine on which God lavished care and attention. We see that in Psalm 80:
Psalm 80:14-15. Turn again, we beg you, God of Hosts. Look down from heaven, and see, and visit this vine, 15 the stock which your right hand planted, the branch that you made strong for yourself.
Jesus Christ is the TRUE vine.
VERSE 2. Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
in me. The key to success is to be “in Christ.” This phrase “in me” does not mean the same thing as when Paul says “in Christ.” Here it is part of the metaphor of the Vine and seems to mean, “every person who professes to be my branch (follower) is not necessarily a true follower. Are you “in” Jesus Christ?
he prunes. Have you been “pruned”? If so, you can be thankful. Why? The next phrase reveals the answer.
that it may bear more fruit. By being “pruned,” you have been made more fruitful for Jesus Christ!
the word which I have spoken to you. How does the Lord Jesus speak his words to us? The days of his direct bodily presence on the earth have ended, at least for now.
However, there are many ways he still speaks to us:
- As we read the Scriptures
- In the depths of our heart
- Through great preaching
- Through a trusted friend or mentor-figure
- And many other ways.
VERSE 4. Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me.
Remain in me. That is, “abide” in me. To continue or persevere in believing. The Greek word is menô. It occurs 11 times in this chapter, 40 times in the entire Gospel, and 27 times in John’s epistles. Without faith, no life of God will come to anyone. Without the life of God, there will be no real fruitfulness.
branch can’t bear fruit by itself. Fruitfulness is the result of Christ’s life being reproduced in us. The disciple’s task is to remain in Christ.
VERSE 5. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
I am the vine. The vine is the main part of a plant. The Lord Jesus Christ is the vine, not us, and not the church.
You are the branches. Branches are a secondary part of the plant.
apart from me you can do nothing. What does this mean?
VERSE 6. If a man doesn’t remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
thrown out as a branch. In those days, branches were cut off and leaned against a wall to dry. Then they were used as firewood.
they are burned. How can Christians be tossed aside and burned? There are three main theories, none of which are entirely satisfactory:
- They lost their eternal salvation?
- They will lose “rewards” but not “salvation”?
- Like Judas, they are not genuinely saved?
VERSE 7. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you.
If you remain in me. Are you “in” Christ Jesus?
my words remain in you. Do Christ’s words live within you? Are you reading his words, thinking about them, praying over them, meditating on them, memoring them, acting on them?
ask whatever you desire. Christ is very permissive. We can ask whatever we desire. Saint Augustine said something very similar: “Love God, and do what you will.” Do you ask things of God?
it will be done for you. This is not ambiguous. It suggests we should be seeing prayer answered all the time. Yet many Christians do not see prayer answered very often. Why is that?
VERSE 8. “In this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; and so you will be my disciples.
In this is my Father glorified. The Lord is about to reveal to us how we can glorify God the Father.
that you bear much fruit. Christ desires that we be fruitful in our spiritual lives. Are you being fruitful?
It is very easy to deceive ourselves into thinking that we are indeed being fruitful.
To overcome that deception requires a deliberate self-examination:
- Are you bearing MUCH fruit?
- Are you helping other people in your small group to bear MUCH fruit?
- Are you a good “citizen” of your group?
- Do you build up your small group?
- Do you foster good working relationships within your group?
- Are you a leader by applying what you learn and inspiring others?
- Is your small group as a whole bearing MUCH fruit?
so you will be my disciples. This suggests that the extent of our discipleship is related to the extent of our fruitfulness. Is it the case that the more fruitful we are, the more closely we are following Jesus Christ as his disciple?
I also have loved you. A believer is motivated by the wonder of Christ’s love, which is patterned after the Father’s love in its quality and extent.
Remain in my love. How do we do that? The next verse tells us.
VERSE 10. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and remain in his love.
If you keep my commandments. To remain in Christ’s love, we must keep his commandments. But what are the commandments of Jesus Christ?
Many people would say that we are love one another. Jesus did indeed command that we love one another, as we will see in verse 12. However, he used the word commandmentS.
commandments. This word is plural. He has more than one commandment for us. What are they?
VERSE 11. I have spoken these things to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be made full.
that my joy may remain in you. Christ wishes that our lives be marked by joy. Does your life radiate the joy of the Lord?
that your joy may be made full. Christ wishes that our joy may be complete. The purpose of His teaching is to give us an abundant life of joy, and not a joyless existence.
John 10:10. The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.
made full. How full is your spiritual joy?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how much spiritual joy do you have?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how much spiritual joy would you like to have?
love one another. This is the one commandment of Jesus Christ that people are most familiar with.
love. The Greek word is ἀγάπην (“agapēn”). It means love which centers in moral preference.
VERSE 14. You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you.
VERSE 15. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant doesn’t know what his lord does. But I have called you friends, for everything that I heard from my Father, I have made known to you.
servants. The Greek word is δούλους (“doulous”). It means someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own.
No longer do I call you servants. Many people in Christian ministry refer to themselves as “servants” or “slaves” of Jesus Christ. However, he is not looking for servants or slaves. Instead, he wishes for friends!
In the Old Testament era, both Moses and Joshua and David were called “servants” or “slaves” of the LORD, and not friends:
Deuteronomy 34:5. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the LORD’s word.
Joshua 24:29. After these things, Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being one hundred ten years old.
Psalm 89:21. I have found David, my servant. I have anointed him with my holy oil,
I have called you friends. Are you a FRIEND of Jesus? How would you define being his friend?
In the Old Testament era, only Abraham was a “friend” of the LORD God:
Isaiah 41:8. But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham my friend,
VERSE 16. You didn’t choose me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
You didn’t choose me. In those days, it was common for a disciple to pick a teacher.
I chose you. However, Jesus Christ turned that custom around. Instead of his disciples choosing him, he chose them!
Deuteronomy 7:8. but because the LORD loves you, and because he desires to keep the oath which he swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
1 Corinthians 1:1. Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes,
go and bear fruit. Here is that idea of fruitfulness again. Christ chose us so that we would produce lasting fruit. He chose us for a mission.
your fruit should remain. The goal is not mere short-term gains. Rather, the goal is long-term results.
whatever you will ask of the Father in my name. The Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to pray in his name. Here are all the verses we found that instruct us to pray in the name of Jesus. Read more »
VERSE 17. “I command these things to you, that you may love one another.
VERSE 18. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you.
VERSE 19. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, since I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
I chose you out of the world. We believers are not citizens of this world. Our allegiance transcends national or cultural boundaries. On this earth, we are strangers and aliens. Read more »
VERSE 20. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his lord.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
VERSE 21. But they will do all these things to you for my name’s sake, because they don’t know him who sent me.
VERSE 22. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have had sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin.
VERSE 23. He who hates me, hates my Father also.
VERSE 24. If I hadn’t done among them the works which no one else did, they wouldn’t have had sin. But now they have seen and also hated both me and my Father.
VERSE 25. But this happened so that the word may be fulfilled which was written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’
VERSE 26. “When the Counselor has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will testify about me.
the Counselor. That is, the “Advocate.”
the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Read more »
VERSE 27. You will also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.