John 15

15:1 [the last of Jesus’ “I am” sayings] “I am the true [genuine] vine, and my Father is the gardener [farmer; vinedresser; the owner of the vine; the one who cultivates the vine so that it will produce its maximum yield].

15:2 He cuts off [to lift up; to take away; to trim clean; to prune] every branch [shoot of a vine; in this case a reference to people; removal of dead wood] in me that bears no fruit [perhaps those who have not made a genuine commitment of faith to Jesus or unproductive believers], while every branch [trimming of live wood to increase fruit-bearing potential] that does bear fruit he prunes [cleanse by pruning] so [purpose: to produce more fruit] that it will be even more fruitful.

15:3 You are already clean [sincere devotion; describes the condition of being forgiven of sins; same as justified or born again; cf. Jn. 13:10] because of the word I have spoken to you.

15:4 Remain [abide or continue; denotes a vital union between Jesus and believers; same relationship as being “in Christ” (cf. 1 Cor. 5:17); cf. 1 Jn. 2:19; an imperative] in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself [or apart from the source of life that is in the vine]; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain [have a vital, spiritual union with] in me.

15:5 “I am the vine; you [Jesus’ disciples] are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will [certainty; the inevitable result of being in vital union with Christ] bear much fruit [fruitfulness is normal for believers]; apart from [without] me you can do nothing [nothing worthwhile or lasting].

15:6 [cf. 15:2] If anyone does not [we have a choice in this matter] remain [have and maintain a vital, spiritual union with] in me, he is like a branch that is thrown [cast] away [out of the vineyard] and withers [to become dry]; such branches [cf. Jn. 17:12 re: Judas] are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned [cf. warnings re: punishment of the wicked: Matt. 13:42,50; Mk. 9:48; Lk. 16:24; 2 Thess. 1:8; Jude 7; Rev. 20:14,15].

15:7 If [this word reminds us that it is possible for a believer to turn away from Christ; note two conditions] you [1] remain [abide] in me and [2] my words [the Scriptures] remain [abide] in [cf. Ps. 119:11; Col. 3:16] you, ask whatever [that which is in line with His words or with what Jesus would desire] you wish, and it will be given you.

15:8 This is to my Father’s glory [praise], that you bear much fruit [personal godliness, loving deeds to others, witnessing to the lost], showing yourselves to be my disciples [proof of discipleship is fruit-bearing].

15:9 “As the Father [the source and the model for all love] has loved [Gr. agape; without ceasing] me, so have I loved [without ceasing] you. Now remain [continue or abide; continue to live in] in my love.

15:10 If you obey [to guard, to observe; the evidence of love is obedience] my commands [what He had been saying to His disciples;all other instruction He had given to them], you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands [concerning the incarnation and the cross that lay just ahead] and remain in his love.

15:11 I have told you this [cf. Jn. 15:1-10] so that my joy [His own joy or the joy He imparted to others] may be in you and that your joy may be complete [to fulfill].

15:12 My command is this [repeats substance of 13:34]: Love each other as I have loved you [summation of Jesus’ commands (15:10), as taught in Gal. 5:14].

15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life [cf. Rom. 5:7-8; 1 Jn. 3:16] for [a substitute (as Jesus was our substitute on the cross)] his friends.

15:14 You are my friends if you do [keep on doing] what I command [cf. Lk. 6:46].

15:15 I no longer call you servants [slaves; a slave is not expected to maintain an intimate friendship with his master, but to carry out the master’s orders], because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything [does not mean the disciples knew all that Jesus knew; likely indicates that they understood all things necessary to carry out their work] that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

15:16 You did not choose me, but [unlike rabbis and philosophers whose disciples chose them] I [Jesus took initiative] chose you [cf. Lk. 6:13] and appointed [a specific calling] you to go and bear fruit [purpose to which they were called] — fruit that will last [cf. Isa. 55:11]. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name [phrase limits our requests to that which is consistent with His will].

Note: Apart from prayer, no productive ministry exists through the life of a believer. Prayer is the key to a believer’s spiritual development and productive ministry.

15:17 This is my command: Love each other [appropriate in light of Lk. 22:24].

15:18 “If [clause expresses a condition assumed as true; presents a fact rather than a possibility] the world [denotes the world order which takes no account of God or His will and purpose; society apart from and opposed to God; sinful people in their rebellion against God] hates [to detest, to abhor, to regard with ill will, rejection; cf. Matt. 5:12; hate is a choice] you, keep in mind [be aware of; discern; understand] that it hated [hated and still hates] me [Jesus; cf. 1 Pet. 4:1,12-13] first [King Herod sought to kill Jesus (cf. Matt. 2:13-16)].

15:19 If [clause expresses a condition which is unfulfilled or contrary to the fact] you belonged to the world, it would love [Gr. phileo] you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world [believers must be distinctive], but I have chosen you out of [we are in the world physically but not spiritually] the world. That is why [the world hates those who are identified with Christ] the world hates [keeps on hating] you.

15:20 Remember the words [cf. Jn. 13:16] I spoke [earlier, Jesus had spoken to His disciples about imitating His acts of humble service] to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted [“to chase like a wild beast” (Robertson)] me [disciples had witnessed the criticism, opposition, and hatred Jesus faced], they will [inevitably] persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

15:21 They [the world] will treat you this way [cf. Jn. 15:18-20] because of my name [or because of Jesus], for they do not know [the world is spiritually ignorant and blind] the One [God] who sent [on a redemptive mission; cf. Jn. 17:3] me [Jesus].

15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin [of the sin of rejecting Jesus (God in the flesh)]. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.

15:23 He who hates me hates my Father as well.

15:24 If I had not done among them what [works; miracles] no one else did, they [religious leaders and people of Israel] would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles [cf. Nicodemus’ words in Jn. 3:2], and yet they have hated both me and my Father.

15:25 But this is to fulfill what is written [cf. Ps. 35:19; 69:4] in their Law [the entire OT]: ‘They hated [the cross shows the extent of that hatred] me without reason.’

15:26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I [the Father and the Son together would send the Spirit (cf. 14:26)] will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify [to bear witness; a ministry of the Holy Spirit] about me [Jesus is the focus of the Holy Spirit’s ministry].

15:27 And you [in the power and under the guidance of the Spirit] also must [believers have moral obligation to testify] testify [or witness that Jesus is the Messiah], for you [refers to Jesus’ original disciples; by application this verses extends to all Christians] have been with me from the beginning [of Jesus’ ministry].

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