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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 3 - Light Shines in the Circle of the Apostles (John 11:55 - 17:26)
D - The Farewell on the way to Gethsemane (John 15:1 - 16:33)

1. Abiding in Christ brings much fruit (John 15:1–8)

JOHN 15:1-2
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. 2 Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Jesus descended with his disciples after supper from the Holy Mountain passing through the gates of the city walls at the Kidron valley and climbing towards the Mount of Olives through vineyards. As they journeyed, Jesus further clarified the meaning of their faith to his disciples and the purpose of their love, using the vine as an illustration as they passed along.

Jesus described God as the vinedresser who planted vines throughout the world. One of these was the people of the Old Testament, as we read in Psalm 80:8-16, and Isaiah 5:1-7. God was displeased with this vine as it did not bring forth good fruit. So God planted a new shoot in the ground, His Son, born of the Spirit, so that he might become the true Vine, and bring forth a new kind and a new generation that would be sound, to produce spiritual fruit in plenty. The subject that Jesus pointed out to his disciples was the fruit of the Holy Spirit in humanity, precious fruit of spiritual virtues. He knew that human teaching was deceptive – a beast lives in man waiting for someone to arouse him to trample others and devour them. Jesus said this at the early stage of his teaching, that he alone brings fruits that are acceptable before God, and he is the peacemaker and builder of the Church.

Jesus first showed the negative aspects of this allegory, that he who does not open up to the impulses of love, or bring forth spiritual fruit and refuses to allow the flow of the sweet juices from the vine to himself – God will cut him off from the vine as a useless branch. If God does not find the fruit of the Gospel in you, or does not see the death of Christ and his rising in you as influence and result, He will cut you off from His Son’s vine.

However, as soon as He sees the juice of the Holy Spirit, He will establish the signs of growth in you, as the branch in the vine. It will come to leaf and fructify. The vinedresser will cut those parts that are useless so that you may bring forth more fruit. This fruit is not yours, but Christ’s in you. We are unprofitable servants, he is all in all. Do you know that the vine needs to be pruned every autumn, to bring forth ample fruit next year? God, too, cuts out all human failings, so that your stubbornness may be ended, and you die to sin. And so the life of Christ in you will be crystallized towards maturity. The Lord has many ways to save you from yourself. Events, failures and maladies will attack you to break you down. Do not live for yourself but in the Lord; you will become a loving person through his power.

JOHN 15:3-4
3 You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me.

Jesus bestows comfort upon you. God will not cut us off the Vine because of our natural corruption and many sins. Jesus offered each of us a radical cleansing initially, loading us with this when we believed. Do not say, "We shall in the future be cleansed by our rites and forms of prayer." He cleansed us in the past; he is the one who forgave us once for all and redeemed us on the cross. The Gospel exudes power for cleansing. So it is not our efforts nor our suffering or our maturity that cleanse us but God’s word alone. Just as the Creator fashioned the world in the beginning by a word, so also Christ creates purity in us, if we open up to his word. It is not the sacrament of baptism or the Lord’s supper that cleanse us, but faith in Jesus’ word and our deepening meditation on it. Read at least some portion of the Bible daily, preferably at a regular time, otherwise without spiritual nourishment you will fall.

Jesus concentrated on one term on which our growth and fruitfulness depend. That is ABIDING. This word appears ten times in Chapter 15. Many meanings can be inferred from this term – we abide in him and he in us; we are made holy in abiding; his power and sap flow through us. All proceeds from him so we must abide in him. If we part from him, then the flow of his loving power ceases in us. If a branch is broken off, even for a moment, it will wither. What an ugly picture of a withered and dead church. A most vital prayer for believers is to ask that we abide in him, and thereby the Lord can work in us constantly for growth, fruit and action, and keep us in his name night and day. Abiding is not from us, it is the grace of the Holy Spirit. No one can abide on his own in Christ, but we can thank him for this gift and ask him to keep us abiding so that others might also abide.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, you are God’s holy Vine in the soil of our earth. From you we derive all good virtues. Our hearts are sources of all evils. We thank you that you have cleansed us through the Gospel. Keep us in your name, so that the energy of your Holy Spirit may bring forth the fruit of love constantly. Without you we can do nothing. Strengthen the resolve of our brethren to live not for themselves in weakness, but to abide in you.


  1. How does Jesus become the true Vine?


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