Jesus and the disciples had left the Seder but He continued to teach them. Perhaps they had gathered together in the Garden of Gethsemane or perhaps He taught them as they walked there. Jesus had a lot of important things to say.
He begins with an illustration of fruit vines. Verse 1 reads,
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser”
Jesus called Himself the true vine. He didn’t say a vine, but “the true vine.” He is the original genuine vine. Without Him, no other vines could have been grown. All the branches stem from Him and have their origin and root in Him.
Then Jesus referred to the Father as the vinedresser. According to Chron.com, the job description of a vinedresser is “an agriculturalist involved in the daily pruning and cultivation of grapevines.” He works daily and year round to ensure the vines produce grapes. He prunes, keeps pests away, irrigates, and harvests. Without the vinedresser, the vines wouldn’t produce good fruit.
In verse 2 Jesus tells says,
“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
Bearing fruit means to display or manifest the consequences of Salvation. As you continue your walk with Christ, the Spirit transforms you more and more and you show the effects of it. You mature, you act differently, speak differently, you even begin to want different things for your life than before salvation. That is the fruit. And God knows the difference between real fruit and fake fruit. You can fake it with the world, but you can’t fake it with God. Wax fruit might look like the real thing but it can’t make wine.
Believer, pruning isn’t fun by any means, but it means that you are producing fruit and that God wants you to produce more and better fruit. If you aren’t being regularly disciplined, shaped, or pruned, it is not a good thing. It doesn’t mean you don’t need it. It means you aren’t producing fruit and you are not part of the true vine. You never surrendered yourself to Christ if you bear no fruit. The Father, our Vinedresser will take whatever fruit you bear, prune you and make you produce better fruit.
Jesus was talking to the disciples and that includes you and me, Believer. He told them they had already been forgiven of their sins and they had to continue following Him. Verses 3-6 read,
“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned”
Abide means, to wait for, to endure without yielding, to bear patiently, to accept without objection, to remain stable or fixed in a state, to continue in a place, sojourn, to conform to, to acquiesce in. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). We wait in Jesus, accept Him, stay patiently in Him and acquiesce or submit to Him and He does the same in us. He waits patiently in us, He accepts us without question, He submits to us. Jesus does that! Do you see how amazing that is? Jesus, the Son of God abides in you!
And moreover, He makes it possible for you to bear fruit. The branch can’t produce fruit without the vine. It withers and dies. It has no source of life without the vine. Dead branches are of no use to Vinedresser, He tosses them into the fire.
Jesus promises more than producing good fruit if you abide in Him. He promises that you will be used and that you will glorify the Father, or reflect the Father’s image to the world. You will make the Father known to those who wouldn’t have known Him. How will you do that? Verses 7-8 say,
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
Asking the Father whatever you wish doesn’t mean you can ask Him for a Porsche and He’ll give it to you. If you abide (wait, acquiesce, and conform) in Jesus and Jesus words abide in you, you will ask for what would please the Father. You will ask for what would make His love known. You will ask for what will expand the Kingdom of God.
Believer, don’t be afraid to ask the Father for anything. Ask and it will be done for you! Jesus promised this a few times. Too often I catch myself not asking for the big stuff, being timid about it. No! Ask God to heal the cancer! Ask God to provide for the poor family about to be evicted. Ask Him for miracles! Let Him be glorified. What glory is there to God if you pray some weak faithless prayer like, “if it is your will let the doctors heal Joe.” God will always do His will. Pray for a miracle. Pray with knowledge of who God is and how deeply He loves. Pray, “Thank you Father that you are Healer. Heal Joe. Sickness leave Joe now. Father, refresh him and heal Him in Jesus’ name.” You don’t have to give God permission to do His own will. If He doesn’t want Joe healed for some reason, He’ll let you know. God will tell you what and who to pray for. If you abide in Jesus and Jesus abides in you, don’t you imagine He will tell you His will, that your desires will conform to His and that His power and strength is with you? When you pray like that, when you ask God for whatever you wish, you will bear more, bigger, and better fruit. You will mature.
Apart from Jesus you can do nothing! But in Him, nothing is impossible. Nothing. Ask the Father whatever you wish and it will be done. The Father’s love is perfect, boundless, and lavish. He is love. And through Jesus, that love is heaped and poured on you. That love is amazing. It is active and tangible. Sometimes that love means pruning, but it always means the best for us. Abiding in Jesus means abiding in the love of the Father. That can give you joy even through the pruning. It gave Jesus joy through His suffering. He knew the Father’s will was being done. Verses 9-11 read,
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
How do you abide in Jesus? Keep His commandments. Jesus kept the Father’s commandments. He loves the Father with His soul, strength, heart, and mind. He loves us the same way. Jesus commanded that we love others as He loves us. In doing that, we abide in Him. By doing that we can have complete joy regardless of the circumstances.