God’s Renewing Word of Love
John 15:1-17: God’s people are sometimes described as a vineyard (see Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 19:10-14; Hosea 10:1). Jesus identifies himself as the real vine and his followers as branches connected to the vine. Jesus tells his followers to remain in him so that they bear fruit that endures. Today’s reading concludes with Jesus repeating his command to love one another.
Jesus the Real Vine
1“I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit. 3You have been made clean already by the teaching I have given you. 4Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me. 6Those who do not remain in me are thrown out like a branch and dry up; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, where they are burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it. 8My Father’s glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become my disciples. 9I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. 10If 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 commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. 13The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. 14And you are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I do not call you servants any longer, because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because I have told you everything I heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. 17This, then, is what I command you: love one another.
Today’s Key Verse: John 15:5
[Jesus said:] “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.”
Today’s reading includes another of the “I am” sayings of Jesus (verses 1, 5). How do you understand the image of vine and branches as a metaphor for a community of faith? Why or why not? Why does Jesus say that we are to stay connected to him (the vine)? What “fruit” will you bear today?
Lord Jesus, you are the real vine, and we are the branches. You have called us your friends. Keep me close to you so that I remain in your love as a fruitful disciple. Amen.
John 15:18-27: Jesus warns his followers that they will be persecuted.