If you abide in me (Jn 15:7-15:7)

“If you abide

In me,

And my words

Abide in you,

Ask for whatever

You wish!

It will be done

For you!”

ἐὰν μείνητε ἐν ἐμοὶ καὶ τὰ ῥήματά μου ἐν ὑμῖν μείνῃ, ὃ ἐὰν θέλητε αἰτήσασθε καὶ γενήσεται ὑμῖν

John uniquely indicated that Jesus said that if they abided in Jesus (ἐὰν μείνητε ἐν ἐμοὶ) and his words (καὶ τὰ ῥήματά μου) abided in them (ἐν ὑμῖν μείνῃ), then they could ask for whatever they wanted (ὃ ἐὰν θέλητε αἰτήσασθε).  It would be done for them (καὶ γενήσεται ὑμῖν).  Jesus continued with the concept of unity and abiding in him, and them in him.  If Jesus and his words remained with them, then they could ask for whatever they wished.  Jesus said it would be done for them.  Unity with Jesus and his words gave you the inside track to Jesus and God the Father.  Do you ask Jesus for what you want?

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?

You are the branches! (Jn 15:5-15:5)

“I am the vine!

You are the branches!

Those who abide

In me,

And I in them

Bear much fruit.

Apart from me

You can do nothing.”

ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος, ὑμεῖς τὰ κλήματα. ὁ μένων ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ, οὗτος φέρει καρπὸν πολύν, ὅτι χωρὶς ἐμοῦ οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν.

John uniquely indicated that Jesus said very clearly that he was (ἐγώ εἰμι) the vine (ἡ ἄμπελος), using the divine first person singular “I am (ἐγώ εἰμι)” to assert his power and dignity.  They were the branches (ὑμεῖς τὰ κλήματα).  There was nothing ambiguous here.  Repeating the theme of the last verse, Jesus said that those who abided or remained in him (ὁ μένων ἐν ἐμοὶ), and him in them (κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτῷ), would bear much fruit (οὗτος φέρει καρπὸν πολύν).  However, apart from Jesus (ὅτι χωρὶς ἐμοῦ), they could do nothing (οὐ δύνασθε ποιεῖν οὐδέν).  Jesus and his disciples were one.  He was the vine and they were the branches.  There could be no fruit without the branch abiding in the vine, like a life-giving sap.  These branches were part of the vine.  Detached from this vine, these branches were useless, since they could not bear the fruits of righteousness.  The unity of Jesus with his followers was the means of success for these fruit bearing branches that were attached to the main vine.  What good is a branch not attached to the vine trunk?

Abide in me! (Jn 15:4-15:4)

“Abide in me!

As I abide in you!

Just as the branch

Cannot bear fruit

By itself,

Unless it abides

In the vine,

Neither can you,

Unless you abide

In me.”

μείνατε ἐν ἐμοί, κἀγὼ ἐν ὑμῖν. καθὼς τὸ κλῆμα οὐ δύναται καρπὸν φέρειν ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἐὰν μὴ μένῃ ἐν τῇ ἀμπέλῳ, οὕτως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς ἐὰν μὴ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένητε.

John uniquely indicated that Jesus said that they should abide or remain in him (μείνατε ἐν ἐμοί), as he had abided or remained in them (κἀγὼ ἐν ὑμῖν).  The branch (καθὼς τὸ κλῆμα) of a vine cannot or is not able (οὐ δύναται) to bear fruit (καρπὸν φέρειν) by itself (ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ), unless it abides or remains (ἐὰν μὴ μένῃ) in or on the vine (ἐν τῇ ἀμπέλῳ).  Neither can they (οὕτως οὐδὲ ὑμεῖς) bear fruit, unless they abide in him (ἐὰν μὴ ἐν ἐμοὶ μένητε).  Jesus warned his followers that unless they were like a branch attached to the vine of Jesus, they would not be able to bear fruit.  Just like the branch that is cut off from the vine is useless, so will they be also, if they are not joined to Jesus.  United with Jesus was the key to a successful fruit bearing branch.  Are you a fruit bearing branch?

You are clean! (Jn 15:3-15:3)

“You have already

Been cleansed

By the word                                      

That I have spoken

To you.”

ἤδη ὑμεῖς καθαροί ἐστε διὰ τὸν λόγον ὃν λελάληκα ὑμῖν·

John uniquely indicated that Jesus said that they had already been cleansed (ἤδη ὑμεῖς καθαροί ἐστε) by the word (διὰ τὸν λόγον) that he had spoken to them (ὃν λελάληκα ὑμῖν).  In fact, they had already been pruned or cleansed by the words of Jesus.  The process of pruning had already begun.  Listening to Jesus was a form of cleansing one’s life.  Do you listen to the words of Jesus?

Bear fruit! (Jn 15:2-15:2)

“God,

The Father,

Removes

Every branch in me

That bears

No fruit.

Every branch

That bears fruit,

He prunes

To make it

Bear more fruit.”

πᾶν κλῆμα ἐν ἐμοὶ μὴ φέρον καρπὸν, αἴρει αὐτό, καὶ πᾶν τὸ καρπὸν φέρον, καθαίρει αὐτὸ ἵνα καρπὸν πλείονα φέρῃ.

John uniquely indicated that Jesus continued with this metaphor about the vine.  He said that that God, the Father, the vinedresser, would remove (αἴρει αὐτό) every branch (πᾶν κλῆμα) in him (ἐν ἐμοὶ) that bore no fruit (μὴ φέρον καρπὸν).  However, every branch (καὶ πᾶν) that bore fruit (τὸ καρπὸν φέρον,), he would prune it (καθαίρει αὐτὸ) to make it bear more fruit (ἵνα καρπὸν πλείονα φέρῃ).  John was the only Greek biblical writer to use this term καθαίρει, that means to cleanse, purify, or prune.  There was an insistence that this vine of Jesus bear fruit.  If there was no fruit on a branch, it would be removed.  Those branches with fruit would be further pruned to bear even more fruit.  There was no guarantee for any of these branches on the vine.  Even the good branches would suffer some discomfort with various pruning trials and tribulations that would make them bear better fruit.  The vineyard was a favorite theme of many of Jesus’s sayings.  In Matthew, chapter 20:1-8, Jesus told the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, while in chapter 21:28-31, Jesus told the story or parable of the two sons working and not-working in the vineyard.  Finally, in chapter 21:33-41, Jesus told the story or parable of the absentee vineyard landowner and the wicked tenants.  In each parable, Jesus used a vineyard as the background for the story.  Have you ever been to a vineyard?

I am the true vine! (Jn 15:1-15:1)

“I am the true vine!

My Father

Is the vinedresser.”

Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινή, καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν.

John uniquely indicated that Jesus said that he was the true vine (Ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ ἄμπελος ἡ ἀληθινή), using the divine term “I am (Ἐγώ εἰμι)” to show his power and authority.  His Father (καὶ ὁ Πατήρ μου) was the vinedresser (ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν).  Pure and simple, Jesus was the vine that included the people of God, the followers of Jesus.  The followers of Jesus must be associated with the true vine in order to grow and live.  The good vineyard was a common theme in the Hebrew scriptures, especially in the prophet Isaiah, chapter 5:1-7.  Isaiah’s beloved friend had a vineyard on a fertile hill.  This friend took great care to get this vineyard ready.  He was expecting good grapes, but he only got wild grapes.  Clearly, he did not get what he expected.  Isaiah wanted to know could he have done more?  Who was at fault?  Was it the gardener or the vines themselves?  Why did this happen?  What should he do with this wild grape vineyard?  He decided to let this vineyard go to waste.  This vineyard was the house of Israel.  Yahweh was expecting justice and righteousness from his pleasant planting in the vineyard.  However, all he saw and heard was bloodshed and crying.  In Isaiah, chapter 27:2-5, Isaiah used the symbol of Yahweh’s vineyard to represent what was going to happen to Israel, much like earlier in chapter 5.  Isaiah said that Yahweh wanted to sing about this pleasant vineyard.  Yahweh was careful with this vineyard, since he watered it every day.  He guarded it night and day, so that no one could harm it.  He was not angry.  However, when the thorns and briers came, he was going to burn this vineyard.  He wanted the vineyard to cling to him and make peace with him.  Thus, we see the obvious connection of Yahweh to the people of Israel.  Jeremiah, chapter 2:21, said that Yahweh had planted them as a vineyard from the purest stock.  However, they had become degenerate and a wild vine.  No amount of lye or soap could cleanse them from this stain of their guilt.  Psalm 80:8-13 had the great parable about the vine and Israel that was so familiar to all.  The vine was taken from Egypt.  Then the ground was prepared for it and planted.  Thus, nations were cleared out to let the vine grow as it took deep root.  This vine spread all over the land as it covered the mountains and the trees.  Its branches went from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River.  However, then its walls were broken down.  Now anyone can come along and pluck its fruit.  All the wild animals and any animals could come to feed on it.  Israel was being ravaged by all sets of animals and people.  The vineyard was not sustained.  Here in John, Jesus is the vineyard with the God the Father as the caretaker.  Do you like the comparison with a vineyard?