Text: John 15
Event(s): Jesus continues His final speech to His disciples: The True Vine; Love and joy perfected; The world’s hatred; The Holy Spirit is our helper
The last few words we left off on in chapter 14 were, “Arise, let us go from here.” Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room, made their way through the city of Jerusalem, and headed toward the Garden of Gethsemane via the Kidron Valley. It would seem as though what Jesus goes on to say in what we now have as chapter 15, was spoken along the way.
John 15:2a “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away” We often tend to think of this phrase in a negative light, but the Greek word for “takes away” is “airo” and can mean to take away or to lift up. It’s basically stating that the unproductive vines get the attention necessary from the vinedresser so that they will bear fruit in the future.
John 15:2b “every branch that bears fruit He prunes” The Greek word here for “prunes” is “kathairo” which means to cleanse, or to prune away useless shoots. In the spring, vinedressers both lifted up unfruitful branches and pruned (cleansed) fruitful branches of grapevines. “Cleansing” the branches involves washing off deposits of insects, moss, and other parasites that tend to infest the plants and cutting away shoots that were useless or unproductive.
John 15:9 “abide in My love.” We can sometimes over complicate what it means to abide. Thankfully, verse 10 makes this simple for us. Jesus goes on to explain that obedience is the key to abiding.
John 15:16 “You did not choose Me, but I chose you ” Jesus stressed that the initiative in the relationship between Him and His disciples lay with Himself, not them. I’m reminded of 1 John 4:19, “We love Him because He first loved us.”
John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes” Again, as in the text in the previous chapter, Jesus points to the fact that the Holy Spirit would be the answer to persevering.
Today’s Takeaway: Pruning. Not exactly the most fun of experiences, but so necessary to our fruitfulness. But how many times, even though God wants to do a pruning or cleansing work in our lives do we end up trying to hold on to those branches that we just can’t seem to let go of? I know I have. Today, let us take some inventory and ask God to show us if there are any unfruitful areas of our lives that would be more beneficial for us to let Him cleanse or prune away.
Additional (optional) reading: 2 Timothy 2:10-13, Psalm 32:8-9