John 15:1 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept 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. (NIV)
Today we have one of my favorite passages from John’s Gospel. I very much enjoy the imagery of staying connected to The Source. In our world today, we hear a lot about staying connected. There is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and literally hundreds, if not thousands, more. The one thing that this should teach us is that humans want to stay connected in some way with others. This passage, for Christians, teaches us that we must stay connected in some way with God.
The word in this passage that we translate as ‘remain’, was the Greek word μένω. Some translations have it as ‘abide’, but the Greek word carries more weight. It’s an interesting word, and we need to understand the fullness of this word. The Greek implies that one should stay put no matter what the circumstance. It even suggests that staying put would be a matter of survival. For the sake of our spiritual survival, we must remain connected to the one true vine.
I would imagine that if we were given the choice of holding something close to us, or dying, we would give all of our attention to holding that object close! Sadly, there are times when the world easily distracts us from holding God close to us. Jesus’ call for us to remain in him is for our benefit. God desires us to be spiritually strong. God does not want us to be tossed about by the forces that are loose in the world.
In verse five Jesus says: “apart from me you can do nothing.” In our language, double negatives give an opposite meaning, but in many other languages a double negative is used for emphasis. In the Greek, Jesus said: apart from me you can’t do nothing! The emphasis should not be lost on us. Without God we are lost. Without God, we are tossed about by the world and we will not produce any spiritual fruit.
Let’s make it our priority to remain, abide, and stay put in God through prayer, Bible study, worship, and through our fellowship with other Christians. Remember, apart from Jesus, we can’t do nothing!
Posted by Ramón Torres