EXPLORING JOHN'S GOSPEL
Chapter 15: John 15
Jesus the Real Vine
Read John 15:1-17.
Jesus compares Himself to a grapevine and His followers to the branches. His life in us produces what we sometimes call the fruit of the Spirit. This is the kind of fruit that God, the gardener, looks for in us.
“But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Every so often the gardener has to prune or trim the vine. He cuts away the old bushy growth to make the branches put out the new little branches that bear the grapes.
Jesus said that the disciples were clean by His Word. God uses the Bible as His pruning knife to cut away such things as our selfishness, pride, and bad temper. As we read the Bible, believe it, and accept it as the pattern of our lives, the Holy Spirit helps us get rid of the fruitless brush. Then the abundant life of Christ, like the sap flowing from the trunk into the branches, brings rapid spiritual growth that produces the fruit of the Spirit.
The word “remain” is repeated several times in this chapter: verses 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10. This is very important. If a branch does not stay in the tree, or vine, it will die because its life comes from the trunk. In the same way, our spiritual life depends on our being joined to Jesus Christ. As long as we stay in Him, we will have life. But if we let anything turn us away from Jesus and back to sin, then we will no longer have life.
“I am the vine, and you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me” (John 15:5).
We see in this chapter that the relationship between the believers and Jesus is one of love. The word “love” is used over thirty times in chapters 13 through 17. First Jesus told how the Father loved Him; then how He loved the disciples. The disciples are to continue in His love.
As we stay in Jesus He will help us love one another. Sometimes we may say we could love certain persons if they were better. But Jesus did not love us because we were lovable people. He loved us and died for us while we were sinners. He chose us to let the world see His life and His love in us. Read verse 16.
For You to Do
1. Memorize Galatians 5:22-23 and John 15:5.
2. To what did Jesus compare Himself and His disciples?
a) A farm and its fruit.
b) A vine and its branches.
c) A master and his slaves.
3. What does Jesus’ message do?
a) It makes us clean as we accept it and obey it.
b) If we read it our lives will automatically become clean.
c) It doesn’t do anything.
4. What can we do without Jesus?
a) Greater things than He did.
b) Bear much fruit.
5. What is the relationship between believers and Jesus based on?
b) Church membership.
c) Good works.
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The World’s Hatred
Read John 15:18-27 and John 16:1-4.
Jesus tells of persecution and misunderstanding that the disciples would suffer in the world. Of the eleven disciples to whom Jesus spoke these words, ten would be put to death for preaching the gospel. John was the only one to die a natural death.
Why does the world hate those who follow Jesus? For the same reason that it hated Him. The good life of a true Christian shows up the sinfulness around him. It makes sinners feel guilty. This makes them dislike the Christian and they do whatever they can against him.
Then Satan, the enemy of God, fights against Christians. He stirs up people to make fun of Christians and to treat them badly. So don’t be surprised if people make fun of you, or if they persecute you because you belong to Christ. Some Christians have been beaten by their families. Some have been put in jail. Others have even been put to death for having accepted Christ as their Savior.
Jesus said that His followers are not better than He is. The world persecuted Him and it will persecute all those who follow Him.
Again Jesus promised a Helper – the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would speak more about Jesus and also help the disciples to speak about Jesus.
For You to Do
6. Pray for those who are suffering persecution.
7. What promise of a helper did Jesus again give?
a) He promised them friends who would help them.
b) He promised them farmers who would give them fruit from the vines.
c) He promised them the Holy Spirit.
Check Your Answers
2. b) A vine and its branches.
3. a) It makes us clean as we accept it and obey it.
4. c) Nothing.
5. a) Love.
7. c) He promised them the Holy Spirit.
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Go to John 16