JOHN 15 – Continuing the “Farewell Discourse” (John 13-17), Jesus is continuing to share vital truth that can keep our hearts from being troubled (Jn 14:1, 27) in tough times.
Jn 15:1 – The last of the “I AM” statements in John’s Gospel, showing all that will listen that Jesus is the eternal I AM (see Ex 3:13-15, Jn 8:56-59). Israel is often compared to a vine in the OT, but they were so often unfruitful, with many not being true believers and part of the true Israel (see Rom 2:28-29, 9:6). But Jesus IS the true vine, and all who are abiding in Him (a description of ALL who are true believers) WILL bear fruit to God’s glory.
Jn 15:4-5 – We cannot produce eternal fruit by our self-will or our hard work (though hard work is INVOLVED – see 1 Cor 15:10, Phil 2:12-13) – it comes by abiding in Christ. Notice that apart from Jesus we can do NOTHING of eternal value! Abiding in Christ is linked with Jesus’ teachings (Jn 15:7; cf Jn 8:31-37 where Jesus makes clear that only those who continue to hold to His teachings are TRULY His disciples, no matter their profession), and OBEYING His commands (Jn 15:10, 14).
Jn 15:6 – Those whose lives are not characterized (not sinless perfection, but their clear direction and desire) by abiding in Christ are not truly saved and will be thrown into eternal fire. This is one more place in John’s inspired writings where we’re reminded that many have SOME level of belief or profession of faith that is not true saving faith (also Jn 2:23-24, 8:31-37, 1 Jn 2:19).
Jn 15:7-8 – ANOTHER emphasis on prayer (also 14:12-19, 15:16, 16:22-28). Note the link between prayer and “much fruit” to the Father’s glory. If we you are abiding in Christ “whatever you wish / desire / want” (v 7) will be aligned with what Jesus desires / wills / wants and it WILL be done. What Jesus wants is for His Father to be glorified (compare Jn 14:13, 17:1-4, 12:27-28, Matt 6:9-10, 1 Cor 15:24-28). Praying to this end is praying that will be successful and be used by God to bring much fruit to His glory.
Jn 15:9-17 – This abiding in Christ DOES involve careful obedience (see v 10, 14), but is ultimately characterized by LOVE. God the Father has eternally loved His Son (compare 15:9 to 17:24), Jesus has given that love to those that then come to Him (the order is important – HE FIRST LOVED US – see 1 Jn 4:19), and we then abide in His love (v 9) and share that love with His other followers (v 12, 17).
Jn 15:10-11 – Our obedience isn’t dry duty, but linked with love (see v 10, 14) and fullness of joy!
Jn 15:13-14 – Jesus died in a very special, precious, and specific way for those that will become His (see also Jn 10:11, 15-16, Eph 5:25, Rev 5:9 – “from” means that Jesus’ death paid the price to select from out of the world a people for Himself, Gal 2:20). Those that belong to Jesus will give EVIDENCE in their obedience (see the careful order of salvation in Eph 2:8-10 – it’s ALL depending on God and His enabling grace and WILL lead to God-glorifying good works).
Jn 15:15 – We DO still belong to Him, happy to be called His servants / slaves (see this very same Apostle John who wrote this happily referring to himself and other believers this way in Rev 1:1; compare Ex 21:1-6). But those that belong to Jesus are much more than JUST His servants / slaves but are friends of the living God! From ESV Study Bible: [“In the OT, only Abraham (2 Chron. 20:7; Isa. 41:8) and by implication Moses (Ex. 33:11) are called “friends of God.” Here Jesus extends this privilege to all obedient believers.”]
Jn 15:16 – The apostles’ wills WERE involved in following Jesus – they DID make a meaningful choice (see 1:35-37, 40-42, 43-46), but ULTIMATELY what was foundational to HUMAN choice was God’s choosing THEM (see also Jn 6:37, 6:44, 6:65; Rom 9:18-24; 1 Cor 1:22-31).
Jn 15:17 – One more reminder in this whole section (Jn 15:9-17) that this abiding in Christ is a life of LOVE. And we’ll need that going into the next section…
Jn 15:18-26 – Christians are known by God’s love for us and our love for Him and for each other (see Jn 13:34-35, 15:9-17), but ALSO by who hates us. The Lord Jesus is the only PERFECTLY LOVING human that’s ever lived, and even He was hated by most of the world. The biblical Jesus (contrary to the Jesus many build in their own image) is POLARIZING. The biblical Jesus who is the ONLY WAY to God the Father (Jn 14:6) who is Himself fully God in the flesh (Jn 1:1, 5:18, 5:23, 8:56-59), whose words must be fully believed and followed (Jn 8:31-47; not like a buffet – picking out what you like).
Jn 15:26-27 – In this world where so many will hate and persecute true followers of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will bring people to Jesus and enable us to continue to bear witness to Him. These verses had particular significance for the Apostles. They had a special role as first-generation eyewitnesses. They were able to say “We’ve been with Him during His entire ministry, and are witness that the same Jesus that we knew before the cross is the same Jesus that was resurrected.” [Compare Acts 1:21-22 where they were considering how to replace Judas.]
Optional Psalm 59:9-17 – See yesterday’s notes. Ps 59:11-13 is an example of Imprecatory Prayer – a prayer for God to take righteous vengeance on His enemies. Notice the praying for the glory of God to be seen – compare Ps 59:13 to today’s notes at Jn 15:7-8).
Ps 59:16-17 – What a contrast! The believers is singing praises to the living God while the world is howling, prowling, and growling (see Ps 59:6-7, 14-15).
Optional Proverbs 15:25-29 – Pr 15:25, 27 – two more verses about BIBLICAL justice, which God cares so much about. Connect Pr 15:29 to Jesus’ focus on prayer in the Farewell Discourse (John 13-17).