This week I want us to read and meditate on the following passage from John 15:1-17 and wrestle with what it might look like to live the type of Christian life of which Jesus is speaking in these verses as well as what the larger implications might be for a community of Christ-followers living this kind of life.
John 15:1-17 (The Message)
1-3 "I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
4"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce Fruit, when you mature as my disciples.
9-10"I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done—kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.
11-15"I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy completely mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father.
16"You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
17"But remember the root command: Love one another.
What kind of ideas have you had about the goal of the Christian life and the means of achieving it? (In other words, what’s the point of being a Christian and how do I do it?)
How did you come by these ideas?
When you look at these verses from John 15 what does it say to you about what God wants to do with us?
And how does Jesus tell us this will happen?
Why do you think that Jesus uses the metaphor of a grape vine? Why not a metaphor from the world of economics, or politics, or even building or construction? (these would have all been familiar aspects of life to the original hearers)
This passage talks of our connection to Jesus. Are there any other connections you see in this passage?