John 15-17 Recap
The scene where John 15-17 takes place is intimate. The disciples are alone, together, and with Jesus in the upper room.
Judas, the betrayer, has just left the room, the fellowship, and the very the kingdom of God, and is headed to tell the Jewish authorities where they can find and arrest Jesus. One can only imagine the thoughts and emotions running through him, as his heart races and breathing pushes him further to his destination.
Around a table, Jesus, shares His heart with the remaining 11 with a command, a warning, a gift, and a prayer.
The Command – Abide
The word abide is used 15 times by Jesus in John 15:1-17. What does it mean? Of course, if this was a definitional idea, then Jesus would have used one. Instead, he gives a word picture, which is what we came back to – the vine and the branches. We a constantly prone to think of ‘what are the things I need to do to be a good Christian’ but Christ says, ‘what are the things you do, now that you already are a good Christian.’ In vineyards, you will notice that the central trunk of the vine is thick, and continues to thicken with time, and that the vines coming off are 1) short and 2) very fruitful. Pruning, cutting back, are the processes that create this. We compared this to our constant and continual focus on the ‘gospel root’ or foundation of our faith. Just like real vinedressers focus on the thickening trunk, so we must focus on thickening our nutrient draw from the foundation of our faith – Christ and death and resurrection for our salvation. The results of this affect our fruitfulness.
Abide means ‘remain’ or ‘stay’ and Christ in the same vain as above, asks us to not wander from what we already have in Him. The Beatitudes in Matthew 6 describe how a person of God lives and is not the prescription of how to become a person of God. John 3, being born-again, is the means, through faith alone, that one becomes a person of God. From there, every day is abiding in what we already are. Stay rooted in Christ, don’t graduate to something else. Draw your nutrition, accept the pruning, and anticipate the grow that God will provide.
What is the fruit that he describes?
Lastly, it may be our tendency to think of this passage from our perspective – what are we do to? Turn that around. What does this passage tell us about the character of Christ? What kind of God wants us to so deeply be united to his people? He is a loving, lavishing, rooted and connected God. And He is good. He calls you friend.
The Warning – They will hate you
Why does the world hate Christ? Because he takes away their power. Because he removes the earning prospect. Because “they have no cause.” Some hate very intentionally. Others hate with more of an indifference – their lifestyle ignores Christ, and because they are comfortable, they believe they are fine.
The world will chew anyone up that seeks to oppose it. No matter what part of the world you’re in, if you say the wrong things, act the wrong way, you’re on the outs.
Compare the loving and abiding Jesus with the nature of the world in this section. Do you, or do you know someone who has fallen into the ‘great inversion’? That is they make God out to be hateful and the world, or some part of it wonderful. No. God is amazing. Christ is wonderful. He is forgiving. Yet, we often dress up the world like putting a bonnet on a cobra. The invitation of Christ through the gospel is to see that God is what we are desiring and that the world and its offerings will ultimately disappoint.
A gift – the Holy Spirit and I have overcome the world
Jesus considers the gift of the Holy Spirit as a great gift. Why does he? Because he knows the trajectory of God’s presence in the world. Where is God’s presence now? Where is he working? Start in the Old Testament. He was in the temple. You only got close if you were a certain type of person – a priest in particular. How about in the gospels? It was in the presence of Christ Himself. But in chapter 16, he is saying that we, our very heart, will be the location of God’s presence. Amazing. His presence is not out there at some event, or in some passionate display of emotion, it’s right within us.
The Holy Spirit convicts the world and comforts His people, drawing them back to the words and the heart of Christ. He is not an independent operator. He will finish the message of Christ and He will do it within your heart. The very core of your operating system.
How many situations and circumstances in your daily life would be different if you remembered this quote: “I have overcome the world.”
A prayer – the Lord’s prayer
This is the ‘real’ Lord’s prayer. We recited Christ’s prayer to close our time together and were reminded that we are a people who are prayed for by the God who desires our prayers. What a God.
Post a comment of your thoughts from these chapters!