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The Gospel of John: Revealing the Invisible God 

A Bible Study by Fred Kenison

 

Chapter 15


 

 

The parable of the vine

 

Summary Highlights of Chapter 15

 

 

This book is a verse-by-verse commentary.  To go to the commentary for any particular verse in Chapter 15, please click on a number below.

 

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The parable of the vine

 

15:1     I am the true vine, and my father is the husbandman.

 

The word true indicates that there is only one such vine. Jesus often used agricultural examples since most of Israel at this time was rural, and people understood this kind of example. Jesus makes two statements here that are essential to properly understanding this parable.

 

Although he is "the true vine," he is overseen by someone else. Who could that be? Again, Jesus showed his subordination to the Father when he said, "my father is the husbandman."

 

Psalms 80:8 says,

"Thou has brought a vine out of Egypt; thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it."

 

This referred to the time when Jesus was a babe, and his parents returned from their flight to Egypt to save his life from Herod, who was seeking to find and destroy him. He was "brought back a vine, and was planted in Israel." Verse 15:1 indicates the fulfillment of the scripture in Psalms. Jesus is the "true vine," or the one planted by The God.

 

Not only that, but since he "was planted," someone else would tend that vine. Jesus said that the one tending the vine is his father, "the husbandman."  Husbandman comes from georgos, which means one who tills the soil and tends to the plants. In this case, it would be the vine dresser of the vineyard.

 

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15:2     Every branch in me not bearing fruit, he takes it away; and everyone that bears fruit, he cleanses it that it may bear more fruit.

 

Branch comes from klema, which means,

"a tender and flexible branch; specifically the shoot or branch of a vine as a vine-sprout" (Thayer, p. 348).

 

These are the parts of the vine which support the cluster of grapes, or the fruits of a vine. Jesus was describing the pruning of a vine. Useless branches, or those not carrying any fruit, waste the energy of the vine, and, therefore, were cut off and taken away.

 

Taken away means they were not left in the vineyard as clutter on the ground. The God is a good husbandman and he keeps a neat vineyard. Not comes from me, which is the not of possibility. This leaves open the possibility that the pruner may or may not cut it away. Jesus was pointing out that the promises of The God come with responsibility. Those who do not obey will be removed, just as the Israelites were removed from the promised land.

 

"Everyone that bears fruit, he cleanses it that it may bear more fruit." Everyone refers to the branches, not to people. Fruit refers to the grapes. However, because this is a parable, they may be likened to the disciples to whom Jesus was speaking. These are the ones who will bear fruit. Of course, most evangelicals claim that this fruit is all those that "get saved." However, it is highly doubtful that this is even a part of the meaning for bearing fruit.

 

Bearing fruit means that each of the disciples would fulfill the gift of grace he was given. All are expected to execute that gift to the glory of The God by submitting to holy spirit, which is upon them to guide and empower. For those who are obedient, the husbandman, or The God, prunes away the excess growth in order that all the energy of the vine goes to produce that fruit.

 

The branches only bear, or carry, the fruit; they do not produce it. Producing fruit is the work of the vine. Those who strive to produce fruit, are into fleshly works. However, we are saved by his (Jesus') life (see Hebrews 12:6). It is only by allowing his life to be lived through us, that we may bear the fruit that he, the vine, produces. These are the only fruits which will withstand the judgment seat of Jesus, the Christ.

 

Other scriptures tell us that

"The God chastens every son whom he receives" (Hebrews 12:6).

 

Or, according to John's parable, he cleanses them.

 

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15:3     Already ye are clean by reason of the word which I have spoken to you.

 

The phrase, "ye are clean," means that Jesus has already pruned the lives of the disciples who are with him. Why were they already pruned? "By reason of the word which I have spoken to you."  What Jesus had taught them, had cleansed them, and prepared them to be bearers of fruit.

 

I have spoken is written in the perfect tense, and therefore the effects of his words, or teachings, will remain with them. The believers of today are cleansed in the same manner: by reason of the word. Hosea 4:6 says,

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."

 

That same lack will destroy people today, or render them useless to the cause of The God.

 

This verse from Hosea has weighed heavily upon this author for many years, spurring me to study and write for the benefit of others. Isaiah 5:12b.-13a is also meaningful.

"But they regard not the work of the lord, neither consider the operation of his hands. Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge."

 

This was speaking of his people, Israel. The reason for the ignorance of the people was that,

"Their honorable men are men of famish" (Isaiah 5:13).

 

These honorable men should have been teaching others how to honor their god; but they could not because they were so famished themselves, insofar as any real knowledge of the scriptures was concerned. Many people today are no better off.

 

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15:4     Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch is not able to bear fruit of itself unless it abide in the vine, so neither [can] ye unless ye abide in me.

 

Abide in me is written as an imperative, or command, and translated simply, means to "remain close to me in your spiritual relationship."  If they did that, then Jesus said he would remain close to them. The reason for this imperative is that "the branch is not able to bear fruit of itself unless it abide in the vine."  If that small sprout which holds the cluster of grapes is not attached to something greater than itself, then it cannot bear, or hold, the fruit.

 

"And neither can you unless ye abide in me."  The only manner in which a person can be useful to the cause of The God is by remaining in a close relationship with Jesus, and his father, The God. Does this mean that only those who know about what Jesus has done can be of any use? Absolute not! Any person who goes to The God in worship will grow and abide in Jesus whether they know it or not.

 

I Corinthians 1:27-31 says,

"But the foolish things of the world The God chose, that the wise he might put to shame; and the weak things of the world The God chose, that he might put to shame the strong things; and the low-born of the world, and the despised, The God chose, and the things which are not, that the things that are he may annul; so that all flesh might not boast before him. But of him ye are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from god, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; that, according as it has been written, He that boasts, let him boast in a lord."

 

l John 2:29 says,

"If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that everyone who practices righteousness has been begotten of him."

 

I John 3:7 says,

"Little children, let no one lead you astray; he that practices righteousness, is righteous, even as he is righteous."

 

People do not have to actually hear the name of Jesus in order to be found righteous. That is why The God had Jesus pour out some of holy spirit upon all flesh. This portion of spirit can guide those who are committed to The God into the way of righteousness. None who worship The God will be left behind, and they will abide in Jesus, whether or not they know it.

 

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15:5     I am the vine. Ye are [the] branches. He that abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me, ye are able to do nothing.

 

This verse is largely a repeat of the previous verse. Jesus apparently repeated this point because of its importance. He knew the tendency of the flesh to strive on its own to bring forth fruit. In the work of The God, those are all empty gestures and profit neither the work of The God nor the one doing the striving. The religious world is filled with those who believe that what they do will earn them "points" with The God. Jesus said, not so.

 

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15:6     Unless anyone abide in me, he is cast out as the branch, and is dried up, and they gather them and cast into a fire, and it is burned.

 

Again, please keep in mind that Jesus was speaking only to the disciples whom he taught and nurtured. Even so, he found it necessary to warn them again about the consequences of falling away from their abiding. If they did, as a consequence, they would be "cast out as the branch, and dried up."  This is very descriptive of those who have walked far with the lord, and then failed in faith. These disciples had been blessed above all others in their walk with Jesus, and, therefore, they also were more responsible.

 

"They gather them and cast into a fire and it is burned."  Contrary to what some would have us believe, this is not a condemnation to hell. It is a part of the parable, not a stated fact. It indicates how the dry branches were used to fuel the household fire. So, who are "they?"   They are part of the parable, and does not necessarily mean any certain "they," but only those who gather branches out of the vineyard for fuel.

 

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15:7     If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, whatever ye will, ye shall ask, and it shall come to pass to you."

 

Here is another promise which was made exclusively to the 11 disciples, and was not meant for all believers. These 11 were called for a special purpose, and in order that they might fulfill that calling, they would need these extra promises of his help. These were the primary people who would further the work of Jesus after he returned to the Father.

 

Here again, many preachers have taken this promise inappropriately, and have used it to put believers under bondage. Many have been accused of lacking the faith to exercise this promise. Others have been accused of lacking faith because the things they ask for do not come to pass. Either way, this is an erroneous teaching when applied to the ordinary believer.

 

Each person has his or her own calling, but only these 11 disciples had this particular calling. And this promise was intended only for them. But, even for them, this promise was conditional, requiring them to maintain a continuing close abiding with Jesus, and allowing his words to abide in them. Unless these two conditions were met, this promise was null and void.

 

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15:8     In this is my father glorified, that ye should bear much fruit, and ye shall become disciples to me.

 

Remember, it is the vine that produces the fruit. The branches only hold the fruit on the vine so it can be nourished and ripen properly. Jesus, by holy spirit, living among the disciples, produces proper works, or fruit, that will glorify his father. Again, Jesus' main purpose is yet that his father will be glorified.

 

"And ye shall become disciples to me."  This may sound as though Jesus did not yet consider them as his disciples. But, he was speaking of the future when he would not be here, when they would be under the auspices of holy spirit. If they followed his instructions, then they would become his disciples. Although they were his disciples at that time, they would be even more so later.

 

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15:9     As the father loved me, I also loved you: abide in my love.

 

As comes from kathoos, a compound word composed of the preposition kata, according to, and the comparative oos, exactly the same. Therefore, Jesus was saying, "exactly as the father loved, I also loved you."  Jesus was again speaking in the past tense, as though he were no longer with them.

Then Jesus spoke another imperative. "Abide in my love."  In the next verse, he provided instructions about what was needed to abide in his love.

 

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15:10     If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, as I have kept the commandments of my father, and abide in his love.

 

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love."  This is a first conditional sentence, one which could be accepted as truth. Jesus placed a condition upon the ability to abide in his love. An underlying commitment of faith is necessary for a life of obedience.

 

Faith and obedience are similar to the opposite sides of the same coin. Both sides make up the total coin, and faith and obedience are similarly linked. In truth, when the Greek word for faith is prefixed with the Greek negative, a, then it may be translated as either disobedience or disbelief.

 

Love comes from agapao, which means that those who keep his commandments abide under his will to "wish them the best."

 

They are to keep the commandments of Jesus exactly as he had kept the commandments of his father. Although Jesus had done this perfectly, such perfection was not expected of his disciples. However, it was adamant that they try.

 

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15:11     These things I have spoken to you that my joy may abide in you, and your joy may be full.

 

This verse provides the reason that Jesus spoke so many things to the disciples. Jesus had found great joy in keeping his father's commandments. He knew that they would experience that same joy if they obeyed him. These commandments would equip the disciples to be a "joy-full" group.

 

Joy finds its source within oneself and within one's relationship with The God, and his son, Jesus, the Christ. This differs from pleasure. There seems to be an insatiable appetite in today's society for pleasure. Joy brings peace of mind; pleasure brings a desire for more pleasure.

 

Pleasure may begin innocently enough, but soon falls into more and more degradation to satisfy the fleshly needs of an ungodly audience. It creates a never ending desire for more pleasure. The flesh constantly requires more as it becomes accustomed to what was once considered to be the ultimate.

 

Pleasure, therefore, is an addiction. Joy, however, is a fulfillment resulting from fellowship with the Father and the son.

 

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15:12     This is my commandment, that ye love one another as I have loved you.

 

Jesus earlier spoke of "keeping his commandments," but here he combined whatever "my commandments" were into one commandment. That singular commandment was "that ye love one another as (kathoos) I have loved you."  As Paul said,

"Love is the fulfilling of all the law" (Romans 13:10).

 

Could this be the reason that Jesus combined all the commandments into one commandment?

 

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15:13     Greater love than this, no one has, that one should lay down his life for his friends.

 

It is difficult to discern exactly what Jesus meant here. Lay down comes from titheema, which, in this context, means to willingly give one's life (even figuratively) for his friends.

 

Friends comes from phileo, which means the love based upon emotion, or attachment. This limits the friends to those with whom one has strong emotional feelings and a close relationship. In context, since Jesus was speaking to his disciples, it would seem reasonable to believe that he could have been speaking of what their relationship should be to one another.

 

However, within this saying, there is another meaning which is most likely the correct one. Jesus was speaking of his own future, of literally laying down his life by crucifixion. This is most likely the example he was leaving them, that he wanted them to have a sacrificial relationship with one another.

 

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15:14     Ye are my friends if ye practice whatsoever I command you.

 

This promise of being his friends again came with a condition attached That condition was "if ye practice whatsoever I command you."  This was limited to the 11 disciples to whom he was speaking. Does this mean that no others will later be his friends? Not at all. But, in context, it was his disciples to whom this promise was made.

 

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15:15     No longer I call you bondmen, for the bondman knows not what his master is doing. But you I have called friends, for all things which I heard of my father I made known to you.

 

The word bondmen literally means slaves. Metaphorically, it means,

"one who gives himself up wholly to another's will" (Thayer, p. 158).

 

Normally, a slave was not informed about what his master was doing. He was simply told what to do, and he was expected to do it. Jesus was telling his disciples that they would no longer have that kind of relationship, "for all things which I heard of my father I made known to you."  Although they often did not understand, Jesus knew that in the future, when holy spirit came upon them, then they would understand.

 

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15:16     Ye chose me not, but I chose you, and appointed you that ye should go and ye should bear fruit, and your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye may ask the father in my name he may give you.

 

This statement must have astounded the disciples. Chose comes from eklezasthe, an aorist middle. The aorist shows it to be a one time choice, and the middle shows that the disciples participated in the result. The disciples would probably have said that they were the ones who chose to follow Jesus.

 

This is another proof that "without me ye can do nothing."  Neither they, nor ourselves, are able of our own power to choose to serve The God, and his son Jesus, the Christ. The empowerment to do what we think of as "choosing" comes because first we have been chosen, and then enabled to not rebel against that chosen.

 

At the risk of being redundant, it should be stated again that only those things done through us by the son is pleasing to The God. We may only bear the fruit; we never produce it.

 

"And appointed you that ye should go and ye should bear fruit, and your fruit should abide."  Appointed comes from tithema, which means,

"to set, put, place" (Thayer, p. 622).

 

Jesus not only chose them, but he also put them in the place where he wanted them to serve.

 

How great it is to discover where we have been placed to serve. When we act as channels for The God's son, Jesus, then we not only bear fruit, but that fruit will abide, or continue to be.

 

This verse also contains another conditional promise made to the disciples. Jesus said, "whatsoever ye may ask the father in my name, he may give you."  In order to receive what they asked, the disciples had to be sure they "asked in my name."

 

Asking "in my name" deserves a study of its own. For the sake of brevity, it means here that what the disciples ask for must be to further the purposes of the son of The God. That purpose has always been, and still remains, to bring glory to his heavenly father. This asking is not for selfish reasons!

 

May give comes from dooi, an aorist subjunctive. It is written in the subjunctive because this was speaking of a future asking by the disciples. It was written in the aorist subjunctive because it was a promise of something certain to occur.

 

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15:17     These things I command you, that ye love one another.

 

Jesus stated this as a command, not a request. Jesus changed the word for love to agape, not phileo (as in verse 15:12) . Agape is not based on emotional feelings, but on an act of will, to wish the best for another.

 

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15:18     If the world hates you, ye know that it has hated me before you.

 

Jesus warned of the possibility that the world would hate the disciples. Hate comes from miseoo, which means to

"to pursue with hatred, to detest" (Rienecker, p. 293).

 

In other contexts, this same word may mean only to love less. However, as used here, it means active hatred. Whatever small comfort it may have been to his disciples, Jesus told them not be surprised because "ye know it has hated me before you."

 

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15:19     If ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, on account of this the world hates you."

 

This verse should cause concern in the religious world today. Why does the world love the church? Does the church escape hatred because it is as worldly as any other organization? Where are those who face the disdain of worldly people for the cause of Jesus, the Christ?

 

Jesus told his disciples that "if ye were of the world, the world would love its own."  The world today does not, for the most part, hate church organizations. The reason is simple. The organized religions of today are based upon worldly concepts. They are not scriptural organizations following the leadership of holy spirit. There is little or no separation between the religions of today and other worldly concepts. The world has taken over the religious organizations and "the world loves its own."

 

"Because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, on account of this the world hates you."  Followers of Jesus today are to be

"in the world, but not of the world" (John 17:14).

 

The true followers of Jesus, the Christ, are those whose aims are to glorify The God, and his son, Jesus, the Christ. True, they must live in the world, and operate according to some of its concepts. But, their primary concern is not this world's goods, but that which will promote godliness. Even if their calling might be the accumulation of wealth, then they should recognize that this also entails a responsibility to The God concerning its disposition.

 

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15:20     Remember the word which I said to you, A bondman is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also.

 

Jesus was reminding his disciples of a basic principle. If people are not afraid of the master, then they certainly will not be afraid of the servant. Jesus was denoting himself as the master, and his disciples as the bondmen, or servants.

 

"If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."  Persecute comes from diookoo, defined by Thayer (p. 153) as

"l. To make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away. 2. To run swiftly in order to catch some person or thing, to run after. 3. In any way whatsoever, to harass, trouble, molest one, to persecute."

 

Perhaps a test of our own commitment to the cause of The God would be to ask if we have ever experienced any of the items enumerated in this definition. If we have never been persecuted, perhaps it is because of our silence or other evasions.

 

Jesus also told his disciples how they could identify true followers. "If they kept my word, they will keep yours also."  Any who will not keep the word, or message, of the disciples after Jesus left were not true followers. If they were, they would keep, or guard, the message of the disciples.

 

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15:21     But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they know not him who sent me.

 

"All these things" refers to the hate and persecution Jesus spoke of earlier. Why would these things happen? "On account of my name."  Even today, references to God may not bring many repercussions. But, add the name of Jesus to the conversation, and there is likely to be a negative reaction from someone. With so many different religions in our country today, there is a growing tendency to relegate the name of Jesus to the list of things not to be discussed in polite society. This is often done in the name of respecting diversity.

 

Why did Jesus warn that people would react in this manner? "Because they know not him who sent me."  Not comes from ouk the absolute no. Know comes from eideoo, and Thayer (synonym, p. 173) says,

"Perception as denoted by idein, when conceived of as completed, permits the sensuous element to be forgotten and abides merely as an activity of the soul."

 

These people lacked the ability to retain in their souls any knowledge of The God. It just was not important to them, and they did not, absolutely did not, retain such knowledge. Herein lies the reason for the hatred and the persecution which awaited the disciples.

 

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15:22     If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin; but now a pretext they have not for their sin.

 

There is an interesting concept expressed in this verse which could easily be overlooked. The ones who will persecute the disciples would not have known they would sin unless Jesus had come and spoken to them. Since he did, though, they now have no excuse.

 

This statement implies that ignorance is an excuse for sin. Jesus based his conclusion upon the Old Testament teaching about the sins of ignorance. But, once knowledge about The God has been given to people , then there is no longer "a pretext for their sin."  Sin comes from hamartia, which means missing mark, or missing the kingdom of The God.

 

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15:23     He that hates me, also hates my father.

 

Jesus could make this statement because he was so closely allied to the character and purposes of the Father. To hate one is to also hate the other. According to the Greek grammar, this hatred is both active, pursuant, and virulent. In the case of Jesus, it was a matter of life and death.

 

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15:24     If I had not done the works among them which no other has done, they had not had sin, but now both they have seen and have hated both me and my father.

 

Jesus was clearly speaking about the Jewish people to whom he had come as messiah. Although they claimed to be expecting the messiah, when Jesus came with a different message than expected, they turned against him, even to the extent that his life was now in imminent danger. Jesus had clearly demonstrated his superiority to any other prophet, priest, or king by doing what no other had ever done. His many miracles should have been enough to convince any who saw him.

 

Jesus again repeated his statement that "they had not had sin."  If they had not seen him work and heard him speak, that ignorance would not have counted against them. This statement also clarifies that if people have the opportunity to hear, and they believe not, then they are no longer considered ignorant of the truth (that he is the messiah.) Such rejection not only leaves them with no excuse for their unbelief, but Jesus looks upon them as those who "have hated both me and my father."

 

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15:25     But that might be fulfilled the word written in their law, they hated me without a cause.

 

Some may construe this verse as meaning that the people had no choice in the matter. However, that conclusion would be in error. The God does not tempt anyone to sin. This sin of rejection arose within themselves. Their response, however, to what Jesus said and did was foreseen long before his time. They were simply fulfilling the prophecy of Psalms 35:19:

"Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause."

 

Jesus clearly stated that he had wronged no man during his ministry, that no one had a cause to hate him. Therefore, the source of this hatred was to be found within those who did the hating. Psalms 69:4 is similar to Psalms 35:19, but elaborates on how great is the number of those are who hate him.

"They that hate me are more than the hairs of my head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty."

 

Both these psalms were cries of David to his lord for deliverance, but they became what are commonly referred to as messianic psalms. This means that the miseries expressed by David were later to be recognized as the very same miseries experienced by Jesus.

 

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15:26     But when the paraclete is come, whom I will send to you from the father, the spirit of the truth, who goes forth from the father, he will witness concerning me.

 

"But when the paraclete is come" is written in the future tense. The holy spirit had always been around throughout Old Testament times, but never had some of it been poured out upon all flesh. Previously, only prophets, priests, kings, and those called to a special cause, such as building the tabernacle, were endued with holy spirit.

 

There are several items of note in this verse. First, although holy spirit was later poured out upon all flesh, please remember that at this time Jesus was speaking only to the 11 disciples.

 

The second thought to be noted is "whom I will send to you from the father."  The holy spirit finds its source in "the father," who is its point of origin.

 

The third point is that Jesus said, "I will send [it] to you."  When Jesus returned to the Father after his resurrection, then the Father would give the holy spirit to him, to dispense as he pleased. Jesus would simply be returning to the authority which he had with the Father during his time as Jehovah. Although he emptied himself of all that authority when he became flesh, it will be returned to him as a glorified man (see Philippians 2).

 

Fourth, this paraclete would be "the spirit of the truth."  Truth comes from aleetheias, which means,

"The true notions of God which are open to human reason without his supernatural interventions" (Thayer, p. 26).

 

This "the spirit of the truth" will speak only truth about the matter to which it is called. And Jesus, himself, defined this in the next verse.

 

The fifth item of concern mentioned in this verse is "who from the father goes forth."  This again identifies the source of the holy spirit. The key word here is ekporeuetai, a present indicative, translated as goes forth. This means that when this "spirit of the truth" was given to Jesus to be dispensed to mankind, that it would be a constant flowing forth from the Father.

 

Holy spirit is not to be considered a one-time, past-tense event, as so often portrayed. It is a never ending process, a constant flowing forth of the truth from the Father.

 

The sixth point is, "he will bear witness of me (Jesus)."  Holy spirit will recall to the disciples all the things which Jesus said and did to reveal the character of the heavenly father.

 

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15:27     And ye also will bear witness, because from [the] beginning ye are with me.

 

These disciples had followed Jesus from the beginning, and when the spirit of the truth came, they would understand the things they did not yet understand.

 

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Summary Highlights of Chapter 15

 

# Although he is "the true vine," he is overseen by someone else.  And

     since he "was planted," someone else would tend that vine. Jesus said

     that the one tending the vine is his father, "the husbandman."

 

# Branches are the parts of the vine which support the cluster of grapes,

     or the fruits of a vine. Jesus was describing the pruning of a vine.

     Useless branches, or those not carrying any fruit, waste the energy of

     the vine, and, therefore, were cut off and taken away.

 

# Those who do not obey will be removed, just as the Israelites were

     removed from the promised land.

 

# Bearing fruit means that each of the disciples would fulfill the gift of

     grace he was given. All are expected to execute that gift to the glory of

     The God by submitting to holy spirit, which is upon them to guide and

     empower. For those who are obedient, the husbandman, or The God,

     prunes away the excess growth in order that all the energy of the vine

     goes to produce that fruit.

 

# The branches only bear, or carry, the fruit; they do not produce it.

     Producing fruit is the work of the vine (Jesus). It is only by allowing his

     life to be lived through us, that we may bear the fruit that he, the vine,

     produces. These are the only fruits which will withstand the judgment

     seat of Jesus, the Christ.

 

#  If the disciples remained close to Jesus in spiritual relationship, then

     Jesus said he would remain close to them. The reason for this

     imperative is that "the branch is not able to bear fruit of itself unless it

     abide in the vine."  If that small sprout which holds the cluster of

     grapes is not attached to something greater than itself, then it cannot

     bear, or hold, the fruit.

 

# The only manner in which a person can be useful to the cause of The

     God is by remaining in a close relationship with Jesus, and The God.

 

# The portion of holy spirit poured out upon all flesh can guide those who

     are committed to The God into the way of righteousness. None who

     worship The God will be left behind, and they will abide in Jesus,

     whether or not they know it.

 

# The religious world is filled with those who believe that what they do

     will earn them "points" with The God. Jesus said, not so.

 

# Many preachers have taken this promise (15:7) inappropriately, and

     have used it to put believers under bondage. Many have been accused

     of lacking the necessary faith because the things they ask for do not

     come to pass. This is an erroneous teaching when applied to the

     ordinary believer.

 

# Each person has his or her own calling, but only these 11 disciples had

     this particular calling. And this promise (15:7) was intended only for

     them. But, even for them, this promise was conditional, requiring them

     to maintain a continuing close abiding with Jesus, and allowing his

     words to abide in them. Unless these two conditions were met, this

     promise was null and void.

 

# Remember, it is the vine that produces the fruit. The branches only hold

     the fruit on the vine so it can be nourished and ripen properly. Jesus, by

     holy spirit, produces proper works, or fruit, that will glorify The God.

 

#  Faith and obedience are similar to the opposite sides of the same coin.

     Both sides make up the total coin, and faith and obedience are

     similarly linked. When the Greek word for faith is prefixed with the

     Greek negative, a, then it may be translated as either disobedience or

     disbelief.

 

#  Jesus found great joy in keeping his father's commandments. He knew

     that they (the 11 disciples) would experience that same joy if they

     obeyed him. These commandments would equip the disciples to be a

     "joy-full" group.

 

#  Jesus earlier spoke of "keeping his commandments," but here he

     combined whatever "my commandments" were into one

     commandment:  "that ye love one another as (kathoos) I have loved

     you."  He wanted them to have a sacrificial relationship with one

     another.

 

# Neither the disciples, nor ourselves, are able of our own power to choose

     to serve The God, and his son Jesus, the Christ. The empowerment to do

     what we think of as "choosing" comes because we have been chosen,

     and then enabled to not rebel against that chosen.

 

# At the risk of being redundant, it should be stated again that only those

     things done through us by the son is pleasing to The God. We may only

     bear the fruit; we never produce it.

 

# Asking "in my name" deserves a study of its own. For the sake of

     brevity, it means here that what the disciples ask for must be to further

     the purposes of the son of The God. That purpose has always been, and

     still remains, to bring glory to his heavenly father. This asking is not for

     selfish reasons!

 

#  Loving one another was stated as a command, not a request. Jesus

     changed the word for love from phileo to agape, a love not based on

     emotional feelings, but on an act of will, to wish the best for another.

 

# The world today does not, for the most part, hate church organizations.

     The reason is simple. The organized religions of today are based upon

     worldly concepts. They are not scriptural organizations following the

     leadership of holy spirit. There is little or no separation between the

     religions of today and other worldly concepts. The world has taken

     over the religious organizations and "the world loves its own."

 

# If people are not afraid of the master, then they certainly will not be

     afraid of the servant. Jesus was denoting himself as the master, and his

     disciples as the bondmen, or servants.

 

# Even today, references to God may not bring many repercussions. But,

     add the name of Jesus to the conversation, and there is likely to be a

     negative reaction from someone.

 

# The God does not tempt anyone to sin. This sin of rejection arose within

     themselves. Their response, however, to what Jesus said and did was

     foreseen long before his time.

 

#  The holy spirit finds its source in "the father," who is its point of origin.

     When Jesus returned to the Father after his resurrection, then the

     Father gave the holy spirit to him, to dispense as he pleased.

 

#  This "the spirit of the truth" will speak only truth about the matter to

     which it is called.

 

# Holy spirit is not to be considered a one-time, past-tense event, as so

     often portrayed. It is a never ending process, a constant flowing forth of

     the truth from the Father.

 

 

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October 2009