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Sunday, January 31, 2016

What does John 15 really tell us

I must have read this passage a hundred times. The imagery is clearly very interesting but it only clicked recently after having a chat about this passage and what it really means. When we read a book one must always read within context, so who exactly was Jesus talking to in John 15 and why, let's delve in.

It really starts from John 13. Jesus was talking to his disciples at the 'Last Supper' These disciples were Jews. We tend to forget that most of Jesus message was aimed at the Jews. The imagery of the vine is one that Jews who read the scriptures would have been familiar with (Isaiah 5, Ezekiel 15). Also, Judas Iscariot left the meeting to carry out his plan. So this message was very important in the light of everything happening..
 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
Jesus was telling his disciples that He was the The True Vine, in contrast to the useless vine which Israel became. Jesus states that He is the source of life, and anyone who doesn't stay/dwell in him, won't have life, won't have the Holy Spirit, therefore cannot bear fruit. If the Jews who already know about God, know about the Messiah don't stay in the truth and come to believe in Jesus they certainly have no part in the vine. Judas was a stark example, he looked like a disciple, he talked like a disciple but he wasn't really connected to the vine! and these people will be exposed at the end of the day
Jesus goes further to make it clearer.

“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than 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 slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other

We need to ask ourselves as Christians, what do we really believe? why are we Christian? If we are Christian for any other reason than, believing in, trusting the finished work of Jesus Christ, the Gospel, we need to repent and connect to the true vine. Looking like a Christian, walking like a Christian and talking like a Christian will get us no where.
Only those who are trusting in Jesus for life (John 3:16) are truly connected to the vine and they now have the power through the Holy Spirit to love truly.