I am the vine

1 “I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. He 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. You have been made clean already by the teaching I have given you. Remain 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.

“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. 6  Those 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. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it. My Father’s glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become my disciples. I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. 10 If 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. 13 The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. 14 And you are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I 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. 16 You 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. 17 This, then, is what I command you: love one another. (GNT)

Summary

Verses 1-8 start with yet another metaphor comparing the real world to the spiritual world. Imagery is used to demonstrate how abiding in God will benefit you, like a stick attached to a tree that bears fruit, versus how straying from God will destroy you, like a stick torn from the tree left to dry up or rot. From there through the end of the passage describes God’s love for Jesus and, in turn, Jesus’ love for us; the way the Father loves the Son and the Son loves us, we are then encouraged to love one another in similar fashion.

Reflection

Verses from this particular chapter of John are some I have seen quoted countless places countless times; unfortunately, I typically only see verses 5 and 17 standing on their own, which misses the greater context of what is being said. The metaphor of God being the gardener again exemplifies that God is still there, tending to us as His people; He has not forgotten about us, and is actively providing what we need so we can grow and continue to live in a way pleasing to Him, doing what He has called us to do.

Find the rest of the chapter here.

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