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October 26, 2021
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” ~John 15:7-8
I recently had an opportunity to study this passage in great detail and in several translations, going back to the original Greek. While we understand it on one level, when we really study the passage, it has so many meanings and value in our daily walk with Christ.
Before we get to the passage, it will help if we understand the context of the passage. The parable was written as part of the final message Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion. He knew his time was nearing its end; as such, we need to understand that what he said must have had a great deal of importance. Who of us, if we knew our days were coming to an end would waste our words on trivial matters? We would instead focus on those things that we wanted our loved ones to remember, words that would last far beyond us.
The story of the vine and branches was introduced to the disciples, and then passed on to us, to help us remember our dependence on God and the Holy Spirit and how we will know that we are abiding in Christ. As we read the passage, it is easy to visualize a beautiful vineyard full of luscious grapes hanging from the vines.
While a story about a vineyard is not commonplace for us, during the time Jesus walked the earth, the image of the vine and the vineyard would have been a common one. The vine represented the covenant people of Israel that had been planted by God to produce fruit by sharing God with others. Unfortunately, as we are all aware, the people of Israel were much like we are today, and they failed to produce fruit…we read over and over in the Old Testament that they did not obey God and do the things he had instructed them to do.
Now, in this passage, Jesus declares he is the true vine taking the place of Israel as God’s planting (15:1). As Christians, we must be attached to the vine for life-sustaining growth. Our English verses use the term abide to indicate we must stay attached to the vine. But, the original Greek version uses the term menos. Menos is used in several places throughout the Bible to indicate that God’s people are expected to keep the faith by obeying God.
John 15:7-8 gives us the key! We must remain (or reside) in Christ, then we can ask whatever we want and it will be done. Recognize that when we are in Christ, we will ask for those things that align with the will of God. When we do so, God is honored; the original Greek says glorified. Then, we will bear much fruit and show the world that we are disciples of Christ.
It is important to note here that bearing fruit and being a disciple are one action. Bearing fruit is the outward sign – what others see—-sort of the proof that we are indeed disciples of Christ.
As nonprofit and ministry leaders, it is essential that we abide in Christ, that we are bearing fruit and being the disciples of Christ here on earth. We must remain dependent on him as we make decisions and plan for the future for it is only when we are dependent on him that we can be fruitful (both as individuals and as an organization). How does the world see you and your life? Is it dependent on God or do you rely more on yourself?
Our prayer for you is that you would find strength and encouragement knowing that you are part of the vine—connected directly to Jesus. Through this connection, you are producing fruit through the work you do on a daily basis.
Sweet Blessings My Friends!