Leaving the Upper Room (Joh 14:31) and crossing the Kedron
Valley toward Gethsemane, they pass a vineyard...
TRUE: Alethinos, real, in ct to symbolic (cp Joh 1:9;
6:32; Heb 8:2; 9:24).
VINE: The vine: the best illustration of relationship
between Christ and brethren. Christ does not say, "I am stem" -- but "I am vine"
-- the entire organic unit: Even the branches are Christ (cp Mat 25:40-45), ie,
part of his "Body" (Eph 4:12,16; 1Co 12:12; Col 1:18). Thus, Christ's blood =
"fruit of the vine" (Mat 26:29).
Seven "I am's" of John: "the bread of life" (Joh 6:35); "the
light of the world" (Joh 9:5); "the door" (Joh 10:9); "the good shepherd" (Joh
10:11); "the way" (Joh 14:6); "the resurrection and the life" (Joh 11:25); and
"the vine" (Joh 15:1).
GARDENER: Gr "georgos" = lit, "one who works (ergon) in
the earth (ge)". Cp imagery in Psa 80:8-11; Isa 5:1-7; Jer 2:21; Mar 12:1-11.
Israel was the imperfect vine, but Christ (together with his brethren) is the
true, or genuine, "vine" of God. Cp Hos 14:8: "Your fruitfulness comes from
"Our fruit comes from God as to wise husbandry. The gardener's
sharp-edged knife promotes the fruitfulness of the tree, by thinning the
clusters, and by cutting off superfluous shoots. So is it with that pruning
which the Lord gives to thee. 'My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me
that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit He
purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit' [Joh 15:1,2]. Since our God is
the author of our spiritual graces, let us give to Him all the glory of our
HE: That is, "my Father" (v 1): God, not man, cuts off
unfruitful branches (1Jo 2:19; Rev 1:16).
PRUNES: May sig "cleanses" (Heb 10:2; Jer 2:22, for
washing away fungus). Cp "clean" (v 3 here). For the first 3 years, the fruit of
a newly-planted tree is "forbidden", or "uncircumcised" (AV) -- ie, not pruned
Cp Joh 13:10.
REMAIN IN: Or "abide with": to make one's home with (cp
Joh 14:16,17,20,23; 15:5-7.
No power of ourselves to: (1) think (2Co 3:5), (2) speak (Num
22:38), or (3) do (Joh 15:5).
HE WILL BEAR MUCH FRUIT: Fruit-bearers abiding IN
Christ (Joh 15:5); witness-bearers speaking FOR Christ (Act 1:8); cross-bearers
following AFTER Christ (Luk 14:27); burden-bearers being LIKE Christ (Gal
DOES NOT REMAIN IN ME: Example of Judas, who was "not
clean" (v 3; ct Joh 13:10,11), and who did not remain, but "went out" (Joh
BURNED: Fiery judgment: Mat 3:10; Heb 6:8; Eze
Similar to Joh 14:14: ...If your asking conforms to God's will
(Mar 14:36) -- ie, if it has to do with "bearing fruit" (vv 1,16 here) and
keeping commands (v 10).
...Returning to the theme of "glory" in Joh
BEAR MUCH FRUIT: "By their fruits you will know them":
Mat 7:20; Luk 6:43,44.
To remain in love = to continue to drink wine of the true Vine
-- ie, to partake of the "agape" or "love-feast" (cp Joh 6:53,56)!
Repeated from Joh 14:21,24.
JOY: Gr chara, as a greeting, equivalent to Heb
"shalom" (Joh 14:27).
LOVE: Cp Joh 13:34. Perhaps related to the "agape", or
"love-feast" (Joh 13:1) of fellowship.
FRIENDS: Greek philos = those who are loved
All that God has given us... riches, talents, intelligence,
health... diminish with the passing of time. Man grows old and dies. Only love
remains, as a bridge between this life and the life to come, a bridge over the
chasm of eternal nothingness. Every other gift or talent will fail, just as the
Holy Spirit gifts finally ceased. The only thing that endures is the character
of a man, engraved in the infinite mind of God.
"Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his
life for his friends." The bridge over that chasm is constructed from the two
timbers of the cross. On one is written, "Love God". And on the other, "Love
your neighbor as yourself." By those two principles he lived and died, and he
asks us to do the same -- to fill up in ourselves, as best we can, the measure
of the perfect man. We have been children, petulant and selfish and impatient.
Let us now be men, and put away childish things. We have seen in our mirrors
blurred images of the perfect man who is striving to be "born" in us, but one
day we will see the man himself face to face, and we will know at once by his
look whether or not we have made his love our example. For, lest we ever forget,
that is the test by which we shall stand or fall.
Unlike servants, friends learn what Christ thinks (cp Abraham,
God's friend: Jam 2:23; Gen 18:17). Unlike servants, friends are not forced, but
may choose to follow/eat with their Leader.
"Friends are God's way of taking care of us."
"True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is
seldom known until it be lost" (CC Colton).
"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world
"Friendship is one mind in two bodies" (Mencius).
"I'll lean on you and you lean on me and we'll be okay" (Dave
"Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say.
Best friends listen to what you don't say."
"We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we
go, we take a little of each other everywhere" (Tim McGraw).
"My father always used to say that when you die, if you've got
five real friends, then you've had a great life" (Lee Iacocca).
"Hold a true friend with both your hands" (Nigerian proverb).
"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to
you when you have forgotten the words."
"Not... but" = Heb "not only... but also".
...Now, dramatically, Jesus switches the theme from love to
hate. How closely connected are these two emotions! How easily Christ's love
inspires hatred in others!
WORLD: Kosmos, particularly the Jewish "world": Joh
1:10; 6:14; 7:4,7; 8:12,23,26; 9:39; 11:27; 12:19,31; etc.
"Those first believers turned to Christ with the full
understanding that they were espousing an unpopular cause that could cost them
everything. Shortly after Pentecost some were jailed, many lost all their
earthly goods, a few were slain, hundreds were 'scattered abroad.' They could
have escaped all this by the simple expedient of denying their faith and turning
back to the world. This they steadfastly refused to do.
"To make converts, we are tempted to play down the
difficulties and play up the peace of mind and worldly success enjoyed by those
who accept Christ. We will never be completely honest with our hearers until we
tell them the blunt truth that, as members of a race of moral rebels, they are
in a serious jam, and one they will not get out of easily. If they refuse to
repent and believe on Christ, they will most surely perish. If they do turn to
him, the same enemies that crucified him will try to crucify them"
As in Joh 13:16, and citing Mat 10:24,25.
THEY WILL ALSO PERSECUTE YOU: "Saul, Saul, why do you
persecute me?" (Act 9:4). The vine is one with the branches (Joh
NO EXCUSE FOR THEIR SIN: Lit, "no cloak for sin" (cp
and ct with Joh 13:4-12). Hearing Christ's word removes excuse for sin, ie makes
THEY HAVE SEEN THESE MIRACLES: ...And seeing the works
of Christ makes one doubly "responsible". Cp Joh 3:2; 5:36; 7:31; 9:30-33;
Psa 35:19; 69:4; 109:3: Primary refs to Ahithophel, the
traitor. Irony: The men who best knew the Law were fulfilling that Law by hating
the One who himself was the true fulfillment of the same Law (Act
COUNSELOR: Paraklete: Used 5 times, all in John's
writings: here, Joh 14:16,26; 16:7; 1Jo 2:1. The one who is called to stand
alongside, as a legal counselor ("Advocate") or personal "Comforter". The
Counselor/Holy Spirit is personified ("he") because it is implemented by an
angel. This was the source of inspiration to the apostles who would write the