This post by christinecoltman was originally published at GRACE PLACE
Fancy a run around in a vineyard? I can promise it’ll be a wild adventure!
This month we’re going to run (or casually wander) up and down the rows, weaving in and out of the vines, but then stopping to focus right in on one vine in particular…! But mind the low hanging grapes! They’re nearly ripe and the sun’s (or Son’s?!) warmth means we can smell just start to smell the juice right through their tender skins.
Start with prayer
Maybe, like me, you’ve read these verses so many times, it’s like being in your own back garden? So perhaps you might ask the Spirit to give you fresh eyes and a soft heart.
Maybe, you’ve struggled with some of these verses – you’ve got questions, concerns or even fear? So perhaps you might ask for the Spirit to calm your heart and show you the Father through this encounter with his Son.
Maybe this is new territory?
So perhaps you might ask the Spirit to do what he does best and help you know the love of God in these verses!
Now, let’s read John 15
To get the flow, read 1-27
Time to zero in
1“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
- What do you make of Jesus’ statement, “I am the true grapevine”?
- Do you have any experience gardening? What’s the difference between branches that you cut off and ones you prune? (Don’t worry if you don’t know this! Take a guess!)
- Jesus says in verse 3 that those who know him are ‘already purified’ or ‘already clean’ because of the word that he has spoken; why is this?
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
- Verse 5 contains the well-quoted statement, “For apart from me you can do nothing.” If then, we came to saving faith through Jesus alone, how then do we go on to live each day?
- Take time to consider verse 6 – but look at it in the context of the surrounding verses. Then consider this:
- Is it possible to believe in Jesus but refuse to remain (abide) in Him?
- How can we remain (abide) in Jesus? (Hint: think back to Hanna’s talk on 11.27)
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.17 This is my command: Love each other.
- Did you notice how many references to ‘remain’ (or abide, depending on your translation) are mentioned between V1-17? Do you think this is significant? (Why? Or, why not?)
- Dane Ortlund, in his book Deeper, makes the statement, “God in me. God does everything to save me and then, by his Holy Spirit, he unites me spiritually to his Son. The result is that, in our growth and holiness, like Edwards puts it, we are not merely passive in it, nor does God do some and we do the rest. But God does all and we do all. We are, in different respects, holy passive and holy active.” Dig right down deep into this rich soil! How can this be? And what does this look like in your everyday life-journey with the Trinity? (Hint! Zero in on verse 11! Is this your ‘everyday’ experience?)