May 11: He is the Vine. Why must I remain?

Read John 15:1-16:6

The nation of Israel had been represented as a vine in the Old Testament, so Jesus’ reference to it would have made sense to the disciples when He said,

I am the true vine . . . (15:1)

With that statement, He invited His followers to remain steadfast to Him, the only way to the Father.  Jesus was reminding them of the truth that the only way to bear the fruit of the Father and do what pleased Him was through Him.

Remain.  Abide.  Don’t forget the truth of Whose you are.  The truth to which you were called.

And He laid out several promises for not only the eleven, but also for us, His followers today.

  • If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit (v5).
  • If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you (v7).
  • This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples (v8).
  • If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love (v10).

All of them good and perfect promises, motivation for abiding.  But then the promises took a turn, and got difficult at best.

  • If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also (v20).
  • They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God (16:2).

And suddenly, we get a pretty clear picture of why it was so important to remain in Jesus’ love, to hang in there with Him and endure.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (15:11).

The joy that Jesus knew included full disclosure on His untimely death and shameful suffering.  His was a joy different from any we might otherwise never know.  But Jesus wanted us to know it.  He wanted us to have that joy, unedited.  Completely.

So He told us how to get it.  Remain.  By following Him, knowing Him, trusting and waiting on Him, bearing Him fruit and bringing Him glory.

See, Jesus knew that His disciples, and that we, would know persecution because of His name.  But He also knew that bearing fruit and bringing glory to God the Father was real joy, the kind that fills life.  A fuller joy than any earthly approval would ever bring.

And again, we are faced with the truth of the life He came to give.  The life that only comes through Jesus Christ.


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