Wednesday with John – Either/Or

John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 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. 7 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. 9 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. ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
The source of Spiritual growth and fruit is dependent on the connection to Jesus and that the Father is maintaining the vineyard.  We are the branches, pruned by the activity of Jesus in our lives through the Word.  The branches attached to the vine are sustained by it and kept clean by the pruning so their growth can produce fruit able to reproduce the source.  “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus is the true vine and [His] Father is the vinedresser.  The Father is glorified by the growth that proves the life of the branch is its relationship to Jesus.  Jesus’s joy comes from abiding in His Father’s commandments so He can share that joy with us.

What does it say about people?
Pruning happens in life with or without the vine. Abiding is a choice.

Is there truth here for me?
is an action word with two definitions.  Either I choose a) to accept or act in accordance with what it says OR b) I can’t abide or tolerate what it says.  Firstly in only 6 verses the word ABIDE appears 10 times.  Secondly the sing-song rhythm of all those “abides” made it easy for me to slide right over them as if abiding was a “given” because Jesus said “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.”   It wasn’t until I re-read the verses using the Either/Or choice I realized all that repetition is more than a gentle reminder.  There’s an urgency to that word.   To “ABIDE” in Jesus is a choice in life you repeatedly have to make if you’re going to survive the pruning.

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