Day 254. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:5-13 ESV)
Have you ever trimmed a vine or a bush or tree and let the branches sit in a pile before getting rid of them? The leaves don’t stay green very long. Over just a couple of days they turn brown and dry out. Any fruit on such a vine would wither. If you were growing a vine to produce grapes for jams, jellies, or wine, then dead branches are worthless to that end. They’re good only for the fire.
But what fruit is Jesus talking about? The fruit John mentions here is obedience to God’s commands and love for one another. That’s hard to do. In fact, Israel in the Old Testament failed in it. Jesus borrows this image from the prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah 5, and Ezekiel 15) who use it for Israel and prophesy about Israel being burned up in the fire for it’s failure. And Israel was brought down by God and the remnant went into exile. But Israel was a type of Christ in the fire. It was Jesus who was cast into the fire of God’s wrath because of the sin of God’s people. This is the difference for us. We have passed through the fire with Jesus by our faith, and now have the Holy Spirit to help us live for God. That makes all the difference in the world! The apostle Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22, 23 ESV). Obeying God and loving your brother is fruit of the Holy Spirit who abides with every believer in Jesus!
How do you abide in Jesus? You abide in Jesus by growing in your awareness of his love for you. How do you do that? Jesus has given us means through which grace flows to us: prayer, attending to God’s Word (through listening to the preacher, Bible reading, talking with your parents about it), and taking the Lord’s Supper.
Do you bear fruit, that is, love your brothers (and other Jesus followers)? The measure of your fruit will be according to your abiding in Jesus. Do you listen for God’s love for you when listening to your preacher, reading your Bible, and talking with your parents (if you’re a child at home), praying, and taking the Lord’s Supper?
Thank God for laying down his life for you to show you how much he loves you.
McCheyne’s Bible Reading Plan: 2 Sa 6, 1 Co 16, Ez 14, Jn 15