Once again Jesus gives a very important illustration through the use of trees.
1 “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 SO THAT IT WILL BE EVEN MORE FRUITFUL.
It is important for us to have an understanding of the word “prune”.
To prune is essentially to cut off or remove anything considered undesirable.
By definition it is not likely to be a pleasant occurrence…… but the end result of it is more “fruitfulness”.
For example….. if an impatient person was to be “pruned” of his impatient attitude……. He is likely to find himself in situations that test his patience.
It is in his patience constantly being tested…… that results in a man becoming patient.
For some reason we have this expectation that if we have a relationship with God everything would be ok.
Its completely the opposite…..
Having a relationship with God will inevitably end up with you being tested in all sorts of ways…… exposing all sorts of faults in your life…..simply because it will mean you will pay attention to everything.
Living a life of love for God and love for others requires you to do a lot of “thinking”.
Your motives will constantly be questioned.
You will no longer be doing things out of ignorance or simply for the purpose of pleasure.
3 YOU ARE ALREADY CLEAN BECAUSE OF THE WORD I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU.
Please note……he did not say you are clean because of his blood which he will shed for us…….
You are clean because of the “words” that he spoke.
The words that he spoke contain elements that will make you clean….. simply on the basis of you listening, understanding and applying.
If everything you do is out of love………. You are perfect.
Hence…… you are clean.
4 Remain in me, and I will 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 A MAN REMAINS IN ME AND I IN HIM, HE WILL BEAR MUCH FRUIT; APART FROM ME YOU CAN DO NOTHING.
What exactly does Jesus mean when he says “remain in him”.
Remaining in him means that its not a one off….. or when you feel like doing something good then you do it.
It’s a constant “abiding” in what he says…… throughout life.
6 IF ANYONE DOES NOT REMAIN IN ME, HE IS LIKE A BRANCH THAT IS THROWN AWAY AND WITHERS; SUCH BRANCHES ARE PICKED UP, THROWN INTO THE FIRE AND BURNED.
This verse is self explanatory……
If you are not following the words of Christ…… you cannot be a part of the vine.
Theres no middle ground.
7 IF YOU REMAIN IN ME AND MY WORDS REMAIN IN YOU, ASK WHATEVER YOU WISH, AND IT WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU.
Christians often read this verse without understanding.
They conclude that this means that they can ask for “whatever they” want and they will get it.
But from understanding certain things….. it bcomes evident that if you are indeed abiding by the words of Jesus….. there are certain things that you “wont” ask for.
In other words…… if “love” is the foundation of everything you ask for…… not love for yourself…. But love for others and for God…… there are certain things that will not even come into your mind.
You won’t ask for another man’s wife for example.
Your motives…… will be “selfless”….. rather than “selfish”.
But the thing is…. Most of us never actually do this.
Our prayers are constantly focused on ourselves and our families……..
Simply because we don’t have love.
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.
We need to bear the fruits of love.
You cannot claim to have love…..when everything about you is centered around yourself.
We need to make a constant effort….. to remain in love.
10 IF YOU OBEY MY COMMANDS, YOU WILL REMAIN IN MY LOVE, JUST AS I HAVE OBEYED 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, that he lay down his life for his friends.
14 YOU ARE MY FRIENDS IF YOU DO WHAT I COMMAND.
It’s all about obedience.
You are not a friend of Christ…… if you do not do what he says.
Jesus left “his life” and came down to earth so that you could know the truth.
It’s your turn to leave “your life” now that you have found the truth…… and “love”
15 I NO LONGER CALL YOU SERVANTS, BECAUSE A SERVANT DOES NOT KNOW HIS MASTERS 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 to go and bear fruit– fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
17 This is my command: Love each other.
It is important at this point to note the specificity of the context in which this was said.
Christians often say that verse 16 implies that we are all predestined….and that no man can choose God……it is God that chooses people.
In this context though….Jesus is talking to his “disciples”….. men who he chose to follow him.
Completely different from us, seeing as Jesus is not here to choose us.
So it now becomes “our responsibility” if we want to be his disciples as well…. To fulfill certain obligations in relation to what he said.
We are no longer servants.
The ways of God have been made known to men through Jesus…… it’s a question of if you believe it or not.
We are in the same position as the disciples…… seeing as what we are doing in this series, is listening to the words that Christ had to say.
18 “IF THE WORLD HATES YOU, KEEP IN MIND THAT IT HATED ME FIRST.
19 IF YOU BELONGED TO THE WORLD, IT WOULD LOVE YOU AS ITS OWN. AS IT IS, YOU DO NOT BELONG TO THE WORLD, BUT I HAVE CHOSEN YOU OUT OF THE WORLD. THAT IS WHY THE WORLD HATES YOU.
20 REMEMBER THE WORDS I SPOKE TO YOU: ‘NO SERVANT IS GREATER THAN HIS MASTER’.’ IF THEY PERSECUTED ME, THEY WILL PERSECUTE YOU ALSO. IF THEY OBEYED MY TEACHING, THEY WILL OBEY YOURS ALSO.
21 THEY WILL TREAT YOU THIS WAY BECAUSE OF MY NAME, FOR THEY DO NOT KNOW THE ONE WHO SENT ME.
This is a prophetic statement…..relating to the lives of the disciples and what would happen to them.
In the same way though….. a lot of it can be related to us as well…. considering the fact that we would be in the same boat, if we acknowledge the words of Christ and want to be disciples too.
Putting it in a more familiar context……
Imagine being newly employed in an office where there is a lot of bribery and corruption.
You have been appointed as the accounting manager…… and your responsibility is to keep track of the money going in and out of the business.
The previous manager before you had been manipulating the records….. and everyone in the business was in on it and getting a share of the profits.
This automatically puts you in a somewhat difficult position….. especially if you are following the words of Christ.
People will hate you because you are unwilling to participate in the dishonesty.
People will call you a “pussy”….. or a “goody- two shoes”.
They will treat you this way simply on the basis of your beliefs.
Because you live in a world where it is more advantageous to cut corners…. than it is to do things in a way of love.
22 IF I HAD NOT COME AND SPOKEN TO THEM, THEY WOULD NOT BE GUILTY OF SIN. NOW, HOWEVER, THEY HAVE NO EXCUSE FOR THEIR SIN.
Having read the words of Jesus…… we are put in a very dangerous position.
If you don’t know something …… you might be able to claim ignorance.
But the fact that you know…. you have heard….. and you have chosen to ignore….. you have no excuse.
23 HE WHO HATES ME HATES MY FATHER AS WELL.
If you hate what Jesus has to say…… inevitably….. you hate God as well.
If Jesus is saying words that God sent him to speak…… then if you don’t like his message…… you basically don’t like the message of God.
24 IF I HAD NOT DONE AMONG THEM WHAT NO ONE ELSE DID, THEY WOULD NOT BE GUILTY OF SIN. BUT NOW THEY HAVE SEEN THESE MIRACLES, AND YET THEY HAVE HATED BOTH ME AND MY FATHER.
25 BUT THIS IS TO FULFILL WHAT IS WRITTEN IN THEIR LAW: ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT REASON.’
The people who were alive at the time of Jesus were debatably at a higher advantage….because they actually got to see some of these miracles…. Rather than read about them in a book.
Ironically though….. even though it happened in front of them….. some people still did not believe.
Just like us…… some of us refuse to believe because we have not seen any proof.
But when you see the proof……will you then believe?
Even when the truth is staring you in the face…… you still have to choose whether or not you want to accept it.
26 “WHEN THE COUNSELLOR COMES, WHOM I WILL SEND TO YOU FROM THE FATHER, THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH WHO GOES OUT FROM THE FATHER, HE WILL TESTIFY ABOUT ME.
27 AND YOU ALSO MUST TESTIFY, FOR YOU HAVE BEEN WITH ME FROM THE BEGINNING.
The spirit of truth is with us now.
We have unlimited access to truth.
All that is left is to make an effort to accept it.
To be continued……