John 15:5 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.
Let us consider the whole of John 15:1-14, and the words of the Lord himself as the vine and the Father as the vine dresser. In John 15:1-6 we see that unless the branch is in the vine and is tended by the Father, it cannot receive nurturing from the root that goes down deep.
As we see in John 15:7, Jesus gives us more characteristics of branches in the vine. The branches are those that dwell in Christ. Because there is a relationship, one that is a matter of life or death for the branch, it would make sense for us to attribute nourishment to the Words of Christ, which are essential to the branch. You and I, fellow disciples, depend upon the truth of the Lord. If the Word is in you, then the desire for the Father’s will is in you, and that which you ask of him is given you, because you do his will.
The Father is glorified through the fruit bearing branch, a distinction of disciples who dwell in the vine. Jesus Christ provides the foundation of the Father’s nourishment, and it is a trickling down of grace, feeding the fruit of righteousness that bears out glory for the Father. The Father is glorified in the Son, the Son is glorified in the disciple. Therefore, God is glorified in Man. We should be characterized as products of God glorifying behavior (John 15:8)
The Father loves Christ, the vine. The Christ loves us, the branches, and we shall go on in this love, which bears fruit. Jesus again shows us a relationship occurring here, keeping his commandments, is abiding in his love. Jesus personifies this with obedience to the Father’s commandments, which abide in the Father’s love. And the Father and the Son are one. Abiding in Christ is abiding in the Father (John 15:9-10).
The clearest command is that the Lord’s joy might remain in the disciples and that their joy might be full. John the Baptist experienced joy that was full. Examples in the fourth gospel, the epistles of John, Phillipians, and in 63 other New Testament uses all convey a literal ‘fulfillment’ and experiential ‘joy.’ Keeping the commandment of God gave Jesus joy. Obedience to God is fulfillment of the commandments, and the love, spilling over from that which welled up within him, love for the disciples, fulfills the commandments as well. (John 15:11-12)
He gives us yet another command, “…love one another, as he loved you.” The love for his own, of which no man can have any greater portion of, is to lay down his life for his friends. If you are a friend of God, you do whatsoever he commands you. (John 15:13-14).
We abide in Christ by keeping his commandments, and therefore we abide in the Father. The product of this flow of affection is an outpouring of mercy, grace, and a proclamation of truth. This as James states, results in us being doers of the word, not just hearers (James 1:22).
We cannot just hear it, and respond to it. We must speak it. John the Baptist did it, the disciples did it, Paul did it, and most importantly, the Lord did it. We must abide in the Father.
Lord, I give you thanks for being obedient to the Father. To you I beg, to feed me from the soil of your truth.