John Chapter 15
Jesus Is the Vine
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
B1 Here is an example of interpreting the Bible in it plain, normal sense.
B2 This verse is an illustration. It is obvious. Jesus is the God/man, not a vine.
B3 We shouldn’t interpret the Bible in an allegorical sense unless something is obvious.
B4 Wilbur Pickering in his Bible comments, notes: There is emphasis on “true”, which implies a contrast with the false one. I suppose that Jesus may have been referring to Jeremiah 2:21: “Yet I had planted you [Israel, see v. 4] a noble vine, a seed of highest quality. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of an alien vine?” For a similar idea see Isaiah 5:1-7.
B5 The word “true” is ἀληθινός alēthinós.
C1 It means what is genuine, true, and authentic. Strong’s has
D1 “that which has not only the name and semblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name”
D2 “in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real and true, genuine”
D3 “opposed to what is fictitious, counterfeit, imaginary, simulated, pretended”
D4 “it contrasts realities with their semblances”
D5 “opposed to what is imperfect, defective, frail, uncertain”
D6 All the above are important to help us understand the importance of Jesus’s words.
C2 Compare Luke 16:11 (true riches), John 1:9 (true light), John 4:23 (true worshipers), John 6:32 (true bread), John 17:3 (true God), Hebrews 10:22 (true heart), Revelation 3:14 (true witness), Revelation 15:3 (true ways), Revelation 16:7 (true judgments), and Revelation 19:11 (Jesus is called Faithful and True).
B6 So Jesus is true vine for us to draw life from.
2 “He removes every branch on me that doesn’t bear fruit and prunes everyone that does bear fruit, so that it will bear more fruit.
B1 If we are bearing fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), we should expect things happening to us in life that may be uncomfortable.
B2 If we are good servants, we want to bear more fruit.
B3 Compare Philippians 1:11 and Colossians 1:10.
B4 Fruit might be good works that bless others and glorify God. It might be the result of the Holy Spirit working in our life and seen by others in us. Fruit might be preaching Christ, His worldview, His lifestyle, etc. when people are convicted and turn to God’s ways.
3 “Through the word that I have spoken to you, you are now clean.
B1 Clean refers to spiritually clean. Sin has defiled us. God cleans us.
B2 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10 MKJV
B3 Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes! Cease to do evil, Learn to do right! Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, and correct the oppressor. Defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:16-18 AMPC
4 “Remain attached to me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it remains on the vine, so you can’t either unless you remain attached to me.
B1 Our ability to do things for God comes from God’s grace. We must recognize our limits and His greatness.
B2 Our efforts are futile, while His blessing through us, bears fruit. See Isaiah 64:10.
B3 We stay attached by loyalty to His teaching and through faith in Him. Luke 16:13.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains attached to me and I to him will bear much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.
B1 We can do things, but these are not the fruit and work that God is pleased with.
B2 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 1 Timothy 4:1 NLT
B3 Will we be faithful?
6 “If someone does not remain attached to me, he is thrown out just like a branch and dries up, then men gather them and throw them into the fire, where they are burned.
7 “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask what you want, and it will be done for you.
B1 Take to heart Jesus’s words, “If you remain in me, and MY WORDS remain in you.” Will we drift from Jesus’s teachings? Will we believe that times have changed, so the message must change? Let us think about it.
B2 J. C. Ryle writes on this verse: To abide in Christ means to keep up a habit of constant close communion with Him, to be always leaning on Him, resting on Him, pouring out our hearts to Him, and using Him as our Fountain of life and strength, as our chief Companion and best Friend. To have His words abiding in us, is to keep His sayings and precepts continually before our memories and minds, and to make them the guide of our actions and the rule of our daily conduct and behavior.
8 “My Father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit, and you will become my disciples.
9 “Just as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Continue in my love.
B1 The love of God the Father for God the Son is the same love that God the Son has for believers.
B2 It is better to remain in His love than to enter His displeasure.
B3 We must avoid things that God hates. There are six things that the LORD hates, even seven that are disgusting to him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind devising wicked plans, feet that are quick to do wrong, a dishonest witness spitting out lies, and a person who spreads conflict among relatives. Proverbs 6:16-19 GW
B4 We must seek things that God love. The Lord loves His people (Deuteronomy 33:3), good deeds (Psalm 11:7), what is righteous (Psalm 33:5), what is just (Psalm 33:5), those that hate evil (Psalm 9710), those who do what is right (Proverbs 11:20), His Temple (Malachi 2:11), and believers (Romans 1:7 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13).
10 “If you obey my commandments, you will continue in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commandments and continue in his love.
B1 There are ~1,000 rules in the New Testament. We must obey them. Consider Ephesians 4:17-5:21 and Philippians 4:2-9).
B2 What was true when Jesus spoke these words are still true today.
B3 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NRSV
B4 When he arrived and saw how God had blessed the people, he was glad and urged them all to be faithful and true to the Lord with all their hearts. Acts 11:23 GNB
B5 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:61-62 NRSV
11 “I have told you these things, so that my joy might remain in you and your joy may be full.
B1 Happiness is a thrill, an agreement feeling about something that is happening. It is usually temporary. Joy is a feeling of contentment, good expectation of the future, and as such one can have joy while suffering.
B2 Joy is a communicable character trait of God.
B3 It is a result of the Holy Spirit’s work in our life. See Ephesians 5:9 and Galatians 5:22-23.
12 “This is my commandment: love one another, just as I have loved you.
B1 Love is a choice. It is a giving. It is listening to our loved ones. It is a loyalty. It is giving our loved ones our time. What is our greatest priority is what we give our time to. It should be God first, then spouse, then our children, then fellow believers, then non-believers.
B2 It has the characteristics we read in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.
13 “No greater love has anyone than this: that one lay down his life for his friends.
B1 Jesus demonstrated this in His life by being the substitutionary sacrifice, our Passover Lamb. See 1 Corinthians 5:7.
14 “You are my friends, if you do whatever I tell you to do.
B1 Jesus is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He is King of the universe.
B2 We serve our King in love. It will be something we do for all eternity.
B3 God considers this type of person His friend. See James 2:23.
B4 Consider You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. James 4:4 NLT
15 “From now on, I do not call you servants, because the servant does not know what his lord is doing. I have called you friends, because everything that I heard from my Father, I have made known to you.
B1 Barclay comments
Jesus called us to be his friends and the friends of God. That is a tremendous offer. It means that no longer do we need to gaze longingly at God from afar off; we are not like slaves who have no right whatever to enter into the presence of the master; we are not like a crowd whose only glimpse of the king is in the passing on some state occasion. Jesus gave us this intimacy with God, so that he is no longer a distant stranger, but our close friend.
B2 Joseph Benson comments
Henceforth I call you not servants — Though the distance that is between you and me, and your obligations to obey me, might have warranted me to treat you as servants, and particularly to conceal from you my counsels and designs, I have not acted toward you in that manner; but I have called you friends — I have treated you as friends are wont to be treated; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you — I have all along communicated to you the most important of those gracious counsels which my Father, as the expression of his friendship, imparted unto me; nay, I have commissioned you to reveal them to the world, and have made you not only my friends, but my assistants, in the great work of saving the world.
16 “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and appointed you that you should go and bring forth much fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you will ask from the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17 “I am commanding these things, so that you love one another.
B1 Jesus gives His purpose for these commands. It is so Christians love one another.
B2 Love in this verse has to do with loyalty, obedience, faithfulness, etc.
B3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV
People Hate Disciples Because They Hate Jesus
18 “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me before you.
B1 The word for hate is not only an emotional detest but actions to destroy. If you notice, for some the solution to a problem is to murder that problem. The Jewish leaders had a problem—Jesus. Their solution was to murder Him.
B2 Why do people hate Jesus?
C1 They love themselves.
C2 They hate God’s character traits, worldview, lifestyle, etc.
C3 John 7:7 Phillips You see, it is impossible for you to arouse the world’s hatred, but I provoke hatred because I show the world how evil its deeds really are.
C4 Compare John 3:19.
19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own, but I have chosen you out of the world, that is why the world hates you.
B1 Those hearing Jesus were of the world at one time. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
B2 God’s choices are based on His standards like faith, trust, obedience as opposed to refusing to believe, distrust, and disobedience.
20 “Remember what I said to you, ‘The servant is not greater than his lord.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you, too. If they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.
B1 We can imitate what is good (God’s ways) or what is evil (any other way).
B2 3 John 1:11 WEL Beloved do not imitate what is evil but what is good. He who is doing good is of God, but he who is doing evil has not seen God.
B3 What we must not imitate. For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44 NLT
21 “They will do all these things to you because of me, because they do not know him who sent me.
22 “If I had not come and spoke to them, they would have had no sin, but now they have no pretext for their sin.
B1 In these two verses, Jesus clarifies the contrast between those who know God and those who do not.
B2 Compare Psalm 35:19 and Psalm 69:4.
B3 The Lord Jesus revealed and convicted them of their sin. These people did know the law. But despite this, they hated God instead of repenting.
23 “The one who hates me; hates my Father also.
B1 Jesus speaks of the Trinity (the Godhead).
B2 God is of one essence, yet 3 persons.
B3 To hate one person of the Trinity is hating all of them.
24 “If I had not done the works among them, which no one else ever did, they wouldn’t have any sin, but now they have seen and hated both my Father and me.
25 “But this happens so that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, ‘They hated me for no reason.’
B1 Jesus, being the Word of God, spoke and lived God’s ways. He was the character traits of God, the worldview of God, and the lifestyle of God.
B2 Sometimes people complain about God but don’t know why.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
26 “But when the Counselor comes (the Spirit of truth, whom I will send to you from the Father), he will testify about me.
B1 Note that the Holy Spirit is not Jesus or the Father.
B2 Dake notes (beware) Seven Witnesses To The Messiah:
C1 The Father (John 5:30-38; 8:13-18)
C2 The Son (John 5:17-27; 8:14; 18:37)
C3 The Holy Spirit (John 15:26; 16:13-15)
C4 The written Word (John 1:45; 5:38; 5:46)
C5 Divine works (John 5:17; 5:36; 10:25; 14:11; 15:24)
C6 John (John 1:7; 1:32-34; 5:33-35)
C7 Disciples (John 15:27; 19:35; 21:24)
27 “You testify about me, too, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
B1 The beginning can mean many things. We must look at the context to know. Here it refers to the beginning of Jesus’s ministry. It was a qualification to be an Apostle. See Acts 1:22.
B2 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16 NIV
B3 We are to be testifying about Jesus, His life, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, His message, His worldview, His lifestyle, His rules, His teaching, His return, etc. We must study to know these things.