The branch that withers (Jn 15:6-15:6)

“Whoever does not

Abide in me

Is thrown away

Like a branch

That withers.

Such branches

Are gathered.

Then they are thrown

Into the fire,

And burned.”

ἐὰν μή τις μένῃ ἐν ἐμοί, ἐβλήθη ἔξω ὡς τὸ κλῆμα καὶ ἐξηράνθη, καὶ συνάγουσιν αὐτὰ καὶ εἰς τὸ πῦρ βάλλουσιν, καὶ καίεται.

John uniquely indicated that Jesus said that whoever did not abide in him (ἐὰν μή τις μένῃ ἐν ἐμοί), would be thrown away (ἐβλήθη ἔξω) like a branch (ὡς τὸ κλῆμα) that withers (ἐξηράνθη).  Such branches are then gathered (αὶ συνάγουσιν αὐτὰ) and thrown into the fire (καὶ εἰς τὸ πῦρ βάλλουσιν) to be burned (καὶ καίεται).  If they tried to be a branch without Jesus, they would not abide in Jesus.  They would be thrown away like a withering dry vine branch.  These withered branches would be gathered up and thrown into a burning fire.  So-long to these detached withering branches.  The prophet Ezekiel, chapter 15:1-8, mentioned something similar.  The word of Yahweh came to Ezekiel, the son of man, about an allegory or parable of the wood of the vine.  Yahweh wanted to know how the wood of the vine surpassed all other kinds of wood.  These vines were not grown in the forest like the other trees, but they were usually cultivated.  What could you do with the wood from the vine?  There were many uses, but apparently one of the most important uses was to make pegs to hang things on.  What if someone put the wood in a fire for fuel?  The fire then would consume both ends with the middle charred.  Even before it was put into the fire, it was not used for anything.  Thus, it was useless before it was put in the fire.  Now that the fire had consumed and charred this piece of vine wood, it was even more useless.  It would never be able to be used for anything.  Yahweh then explained this allegory or parable.  Just as Yahweh had given the wood of the vine as fuel to the fire, so he has done the same to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  Even if they escaped from this fire, the fire would still consume them.  They would know that he was Yahweh, their God.  He was going to make the land desolate, because they have acted faithlessly.  The people of Jerusalem were strong special wood, like the vine wood.  However, they were useless before the fire, and they are now even more useless after the fire.  They had lost faith in Yahweh.  What good were they?  Thus, Jesus said that these withered vine branches were useless, condemned to the eternal fire, like the wood at the time of Ezekiel.  If they were not bearing fruit, they were useless.  Are you bearing fruit or are you useless?

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