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On The Book of John
The Gospel of John Chapter 15
I will do the Gospel of John
Commentary similar to my other Commentaries . . . in that
I will bring the verse or verses in the KJV, followed by what
it is saying to me. What I write will be a personal comment,
it is NOT Scripture.
Gospel of John
Jesus is TRUE Vine; disciples are branches.
Just where the entirety of Upper Room Discourse was spoken is debated by commentators. This fifteenth chapter is a major part of the Discourse, although some do not think it was spoken by our Lord in that Upper Room, because the last words of Jesus in chapter 14: "Arise, let us go hence." Some think that somewhere between the Upper Room and the Garden of Gethsemane is where our Lord spoke the words found in chapters 15 and 16, and then prayed the TRUE Lord’s Prayer, recorded in chapter 17, as He entered the garden.
Many think that our Lord gave this chapter in a discourse down in the Valley of Kidron or on the side of the Mount of Olives, because we know that at that time there was a vineyard in that area which covered that valley. We also know that it was full moon because it was the time of the Passover. He may well have spoken these words while in the vineyard. It certainly would have been a fitting place. Others think that that night He went by the Temple, following the Law as He so carefully did. The gates would have been open during the Passover nights.
That the VINE is a symbolize of the nation Israel is obvious from the following Scriptures: Psalm 80:8-9 Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. 9 Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. (KJV) Isaiah 5:1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: (KJV) Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. (KJV) Jer. 2:21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? (KJV) Hosea 10:1 Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. (KJV) It is very clear that the vine is a picture of the nation Israel. But Jesus is also symbolized as as Vine, and He is the TRUE Vine!
Jesus Is TRUE Vine; Disciples Are Branches (John 15:1-27)
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (KJV)
I am the true vine . . . The word for true here means "genuine." Something can be true, not error, not falsehood, or something can be true, and not counterfeit. The latter is the way it is used here. Jesus was NOT, is NOT counterfeit! Just as John the Baptist was just a reflecting light, but Jesus Christ is the TRUE Light. Moses gave bread in the wilderness, but Christ Jesus is the TRUE Bread. So here Jesus tells them, and us, "I am the true vine, the genuine vine."
The apostles had Jewish ideas and their thought patterns had been ruled by the Old Testament. He is telling them now that the nation Israel is not the genuine vine. Their identification with the Jewish nation and the Jewish religion is not the main thing. "I am the genuine vine." The important thing now is for the apostles to be coupled to Christ Jesus. Our Lord used a marvelous figure of speech, and He made it very clear that it is not your identification with a religion or a ceremony or an organization that is necessary. We are to be identified with Christ! We are "in Christ" by the baptism of the Holy Spirit the moment we trust Christ as our Saviour (1 Cor.12:13) and are born again as a child of God (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8).
And my Father is the husbandman . . . this too, is a surprising word. In the Old Testament Passages and in the parables, God is the Owner of the vineyard (Isa.5:5,7; Jer.12:10; Mat.20:1). Here He is the Keeper, the Farmer, the One who takes care of the vineyard. Jesus is the genuine Vine, and the Father takes care of Him. In the Old Testament it is prophesied that the Lord Jesus would grow up before Him as a tender plant and as a root out of the dry ground (Isa.53:2). It is certain, His Father intervened many times to save Jesus from the Devil who wanted Him dead (Mat.2:14-15). The Father is the One who cared for the Vine, and my friend, He will care for the branches, too, because they are part of the Vine! The branches must be joined to the Vine . . . WHY? To bear fruit. If a branch is not attached to the vine, it is dead. A dead branch CANNOT produce any fruit whatsoever!
John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (KJV)
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit . . . "in me," in Christ . . . this is the meaning of being saved! There are some big words like justification, redemption, propitiation, reconciliation and sanctification that speak of salvation, but the complete range of salvation can be summed up in the phrase "in Christ." In Christ: (Rom.3:24; 8:1-2,39; 1 Cor.1:30; 3:1; 2 Cor.5:17; 12:2; Gal.6:15; Eph.2:11; Phil.1:1; 4:1; 1 Thes.4:16; 1 Pet.5:14). There are only two groups of people in the world today: those who are in Christ and those who are NOT in Christ. How do you get "in Christ"? By the new birth, being “born again” spiritually. When you trust Christ as Saviour, you become a child of God through faith. You are born again by the Spirit of God, and the Holy Spirit does something marvelous! He baptizes you (1 Cor.12:13) and He dwells within you (Jn.14:16; Rom.8:9). That is what Jesus means when He says: "every branch in me."
This Passage is directed to believers, to those who are already “in Christ.” Jesus is not talking about how a person gets saved. He is not talking about salvation in this Passage, but instead He is talking about fruit-bearing. “Fruit” is mentioned six times in the first ten verses. As we go further, we shall see that there are three degrees of fruit-bearing: fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. The subject here is fruit-bearing.
He taketh away . . . WHERE does He take it? The Vine-dresser (Husbandman) cuts it off. God removes branches that do not bear fruit in several ways: #1. By the discipline of the church. #2. By allowing them to fall into temptation. #3. By the deceitfulness of riches, and by the cares of the world (Mat.13:21-22). #4. By allowing suffering to come upon the man to be placed in such circumstances as Judas, Achan, and Ananias, to reveal their true characters, and to show that they had no true love for God. #5. By death, for God has power thus at any moment to remove unprofitable branches from the church.
And every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit . . . this is the other branches, the good ones that bear fruit. These are truly “in Christ” and deeply rooted in Him, and are filled by Him with all the fruits of His Spirit, grace and righteousness. These branches are purged (pruned), this He does by the regular pleading by His Spirit in sanctifying them, purifying their motives, revealing to them the beauty of holiness (Ps.96:9). He does it by taking away all that opposes their usefulness, no matter how much they may be attached to it, or however painful to part with. He removes the objects which blind them to the Truth, and makes them dormant. He takes away the things around man, as He did the gourds that Jonah valued (Jonah 4:5-11), so that he may live more to the honor and glory of God, and produce more proof of humility and devoted piety. Every branch: (Mat.15:13).
John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (KJV)
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you . . . this does NOT mean that they were perfect, but that the apostles had been under a process of purifying by His instructions all the time He had been with them. He had removed their mistaken ideas of the Messiah; He had stopped their foolish views respecting earthly honors; He had taught them to be willing to forsake all things; and He had taught them that straightway after His death they would be ready to go and bear fruit among all nations to the honor of His Name. Since Judas had been removed from their number, they were now all TRUE and faithful followers of the Saviour (Jn.13:10). "Ye are clean through the word." The cleansing power of the Word of God is a mysterious thing. 1 Peter 1:22-23 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (KJV) . . . We were born again by the Word of God, washed from our sins. But as we walk in this life, we get dirty and need the Word of God to cleanse us, again and again! Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (KJV) . . . My friend, we really need to stay close to the Word of God, for it does what Jesus said, it cleanses us. A person CANNOT live any kind of life, just as long as you are fundamental in your belief of salvation by the grace of God. God uses His Word to reveal to us when we are NOT walking according to His will. IF a person is genuine and sincere in his relationship to God, they will be setting aside time to spend with the Lord every day and studying the Word of God, and letting it have its way in his life! God intends for His TRUE children to be obedient to His Word. Psalm 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. (KJV) Psalm 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. (KJV) . . . God does use affliction to bring us to the Word of God. Why? That we might become His loving and willing servants. NO one can ever be clean before God if they do not study the Word of God. We really do need to study the Word of God AND apply it to our lives. Now, you are clean: (Jn.17:17; Eph.5:26; 1 Pet.1:22).
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. (KJV)
Abide in me, and I in you. . . “abide in Me” means that we should continue in our faith and love for Christ Jesus, cleaving to Him with our heart, mind and soul (Mat.22:37), for He is our only Resource where we can receive grace, strength and nourishment for this life on Earth. “And I in you” is a Promise that encourages us to “abide in Him.” Christ Jesus abides within the hearts of His people, and He continues there as the living reminder of all His grace.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me . . . we NEED Christ abiding in us. To abide in Christ means constant fellowship with Him, 24/7, all the time. The cleansing power of the Word of God is a part of abiding. We must be cleansed daily. We need to confess our sins to the Lord to abide in Him, to stay in constant communion with Him . . . and too, to abide in Him, we must keep His commandments. Trust AND obey! When a believer falls and departs from Christ, even though it be just for a time, they find themselves in a poor, withered, wretched, fruitless condition. It is a terrible feeling, I know! It is my sincere belief, that a TRUE child of God CANNOT ever totally depart from Him. I believe “Once saved, always saved.” Eternal life is everlasting, NO stopping! http://www.hisservants.org/once_saved,_always_saved_h_s.htm
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (KJV)
I am the vine, ye are the branches . . . Christ here repeats what He said of Himself, "I am the vine," because of the important application of "the branches" to His apostles. This expresses the sameness of their (and our) nature with Christ, their firm and close union to Him and the proclaiming of life and grace, holiness and fruitfulness, of support and strength, and of persevering in love, grace and holiness to the end with Him. Because we have a free will, we can easily break fellowship with God by allowing sin in our life, by stepping out of the will of God, or by going along with the world. Our Lord wants us to abide in Him so that we bear much fruit. There is a similarity to the parable of the sower (Mat.13). Some of the seed fell on good ground and brought forth thirty fold . . . that is fruit. Some of the seed brought forth sixty . . . that is more fruit. Some of the seed brought forth an hundredfold . . . that is much fruit. God wants us to bear much fruit.
He that abideth in me, and I in him . . . once a person is truly saved, “in Christ” . . . we abide in Him, and He in us! It just does not get better than this!
The same bringeth forth much fruit . . . this is the exercise of grace, and the performing of good works. This continues on as long as a person lives, NOT by virtue of his own free will, or his own power and strength, but by the amazing grace continually received from Christ, the Vine!
For without me ye can do nothing . . . nothing that is spiritually good, be it little or big, easy or hard to do, cannot think a good thought, speak a good word, or do a good deed. Nothing is to be done "without Christ" but WITH Him, I can do all things (Phil.4:13). Without His Spirit, without His grace, strength and Presence, we can do NOTHING! We are as "separated from Him." We are dead branches! So, all unbelievers are as dead branches because they are not joined to Him.
John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (KJV)
If a man abide not in me . . . Jesus does not say, "if YE abide not in me" . . . because He would think this of His TRUE apostles. Judas now being gone from them, it seems that this is said to anyone who has made a profession of Christ, but denies the Truths of the Gospel, neglects the decrees of it, or walks unworthy of Him. It also means unbelievers.
He is cast forth as a branch . . . branches that are unfruitful are cut away from the vine, and thrown out of the vineyard. This indicates the ejection of worthless and fruitless ‘professors’ out of the churches, who either are unsound in their doctrine, or are careless and negligent in their attendance of the worship of Almighty God, or are vain and wobbly in their lives and conversations. These are to be removed from communion with the people of God.
And is withered, and men gather them . . . remember that this is talking about our fruit bearing, the product of our salvation. It is NOT talking about how we are to be saved. Paul has another way of saying the same thing: 1 Cor. 3:11-14 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (KJV) . . . This speaks of the WORKS of the believers, the FRUIT produced in the life of a believer. Fire will purify gold and silver and precious stones and throw out the impurities . . . BUT . . . wood, hay and stubble will go up in smoke. That is what this verse is saying . . . the works (or the unfruitful branches) will be cast into the fire and burned . . . BUT if “any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward." I truly do think that rewards will be given only for the fruit in our lives . . . and my friend . . . we do NOT produce the fruit . . . HE produces the fruit when we abide in Him. So, IF a person does not abide in Him, they CANNOT produce fruit! When branches were thrown out of a vineyard, men would come and gather them to be cast into the fire. When unworthy members are put out of a church, the men of the world gather them into their society, or they are taken into the congregations of false teachers, for these are sensual and without the Spirit. So too, wicked men and Christless ‘professors’ will be gathered by the angels at the last day, and severed by them from the righteous, whom they will place at Christ's left hand to receive their awful doom (Mat.25:41,46).
And cast them, into the fire, and they are burned . . . because there is nothing else that an unfruitful branch is good for (Eze.15:2-5). This may mean either the concern of conscience, the distress of mind, the agony of despair, the fearful anxiety of judgment, the fiery righteous anger of God, which are present with apostates in this life. These surely must have some frightful thoughts of their being cast into the everlasting burnings of Hell fire by angels at the last day (Isa.33:14; Mat. 8:12; 13:30,50; 22:13; 25:46), for this shall be the case of every unfruitful tree, of all the chaff (Mat.3:12) and tares (Mat.13:30).
John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (KJV)
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you . . . abiding in Christ means His Words or Doctrines of His Gospel abiding in His apostles. This means the Truths of it. His Words abide when it comes in the power of the Holy Ghost (1 Thes.1:5), and becomes the engrafted word (Jam.1:21). This may be said to do so when this Word has a prominent place in the hearts of God’s children and has taken deep root. This person takes great delight in it and has appreciation for it. A TRUE child of God has a hearty affection for God’s Word and values it as necessary food. When these hold fast to professing it, stand fast in it, faithfully abide by it, and persistently concentrate on it . . . they "shall continue in the Son and in the Father" (1 Jn.2:24). The blessing and privilege that these shall enjoy is:
Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you . . . this does NOT mean temporal things such as riches, honors, profits, pleasures . . . this means spiritual things . . . but there are limitations and restrictions: #1. It must be in agreement to the will of God, #2. it must be for the honor and glory of God, #3. it must be for their own spiritual profit and learning; and #4. it must agree to the words and doctrines of Christ which abide in them. IF what you ask, is in agreement with these things, and it is asked in faith, and submitting to the will of God, you may expect to receive it.
John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (KJV)
Herein is my Father glorified . . . when we are obedient to Him, then we will have successful prayer. The main purpose of the abiding and the praying is that the Father may be glorified! This totally eliminates any prayer for selfish reasons. The matter is fruit-bearing. God is glorified when we bear fruit. God is glorified by the fruitfulness His people.
That ye bear much fruit . . . of correct doctrine, grace and good works, which show them to be trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord (Isa.61:3), and the work of His hands (Isa.60:21); where the glory of His power, grace and mercy, is greatly displayed. All the fruits of righteousness, which were fulfilled by Christ, were by Him to the praise and glory of God. The fruitfulness of grace, life and speech, and His diligent discharge of duty, as well as His doctrine, and value in the care of the Gospel. The apostles and all servants of Christ not only glorify God themselves, but are the means of others glorifying Him. Fruits of righteousness: (Am.6:12; 2 Cor.9:10; Eph.5:9; Phil.1:11; Heb. 12:11; Jam.3:18).
So shall ye be my disciples . . . when we produce fruits of righteousness, we bring honor and glory not only to our Lord Jesus, but also to the Father in Heaven. NOT that any amount of fruitfulness makes them the disciples of Christ, but makes them appear to be so, or makes them honorable ones. Good fruit does NOT make the tree good. The tree first must BE good, and only then can it bear good fruit. When we continue in His Word and abide in His Gospel we are "disciples indeed" (Jn.8:31). When we love one another (Jn.13:35), and do other fruits of righteousness, others may know that we are the disciples of Christ.
John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. (KJV)
As the Father hath loved me . . . the Father loves Jesus for He is His only begotten Son (Jn.3:16). He also loves Him as Mediator (1 Tim.2:5), from everlasting to everlasting! And He shall soon love Him, in His state of humiliation, all through the course of His willing obedience, and in all His sufferings; which He testified more than once by a Voice from Heaven (Mat.3:17; Mk.1:11; Lk.3:22; Jn.12:28). God the Father loves His Son. He conceals nothing from Him as Mediator, He gives all things into His Hands (Jn.3:35; 5:22-27; 13:3; 17:2; Mat.11:27; 28:18; Lk.10:22; Acts 2:36; 1 Cor.15:27; Eph.1:21-22; Phil.2:9-11; Heb.1:2; 2:8-9), by appointing Him the Saviour of the world (Jn.4:42; 1 Jn.4:14), by exalting Him to His right hand (Mk.16:19; Lk.22:69; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom.8:34; Col.3:1; Heb.10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22) and ordaining Him to be judge of quick and dead (Acts 10:12).
So have I loved you . . . just as the Father loves His Son, in a deep, unending love, so too does
Christ love His own, as His spouse and bride (Rev. 21:9), as His dear children (Eph.5:1), as members of His Body (Eph.5:30), as branches in Him the Vine (Jn.15:5), as believers in Him (Jn.11:25-26), and followers of Him (Jn.10:27). This He has shown by assuming their nature, by suffering and dying in their place, and by making all appropriate provision for them, for eternity. Just as His Father loved Him from everlasting, so did He love them that are His! Just as His Father loved Him with a love of pleasure and delight, so too did He. Just as His Father loved Him with a deep, special love, that is unfailing, unchanging and constant love, which will last for ever, in this same way, Christ Jesus loves His people.
Continue ye in my love . . . means to abide in a continuing unity. That really is the relationship of branch and vine. But, my dear friend, many “Christians” think they can live like the devil all week and then come to church on Sunday and all would be well. I had a dear, sweet, wise soul many years ago in a Bible class. Her theory was just as I stated here. I can still hear her speaking those words! She was right! A TRUE child of God, one of His sheep, must be in constant, non-stop fellowship with Him to bear fruit. That means from the time you wake in the morning until you go to bed at night. We must continue in His love!
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. (KJV)
If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love . . . by keeping the commandments of Christ, His disciples show that they love Him, and continue in their love to Him. It is impossible to preserve a sense of God's pardoning love, unless we continue in the obedience of faith. See John 14:23-24. “If ye keep my commandments” (Jn.14:21,23).
Even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love . . . the commandments of the Father were kept by Christ, not only the precepts of the moral law, and the rites of the ceremonial one, which he strictly observed; but the preaching of the Gospel, and submitting to the rules of it, doing miracles, and laying down His life for His people. In His perfect obedience, He had a perfect abiding with the Father! Christ showed His constant and continued love to His Father, which was done by Him, that the world, as well as His apostles, might know how much He loved Him (Jn.14:31).
John 15:11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. (KJV)
These things have I spoken unto you . . . concerning the Vine and branches, His abiding in them, and they in Him, their fruitfulness because of Him, and persevering in Him, His love to them, and theirs to Him.
That my joy might remain in you . . . meaning either that joy with which He rejoiced in as being united to Him, which is of the same kind as the joy of the Bridegroom over the bride, which will always remain and continue the same. There is always reasons for us to rejoice in Him, even in the most afflicting circumstances of our life: His never ending love for us, His Spirit abiding within us, His helping us in our difficulties, knowing that we are forgiven, knowing that we are going to Heaven one day . . . names just a few!
And that your joy might be full . . . He implants the grace of joy within our soul, by the Spirit of God in regeneration. Our joy arises from the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22), and is increased daily by our understanding more of this awesome Person, His amazing grace (1 Tim.1:14), His precious Blood (1 Pet.1:19), His righteousness (1 Cor.1:30), His Sacrifice for us (Jn.1:29; 1 Jn.2:2) and just how "full of glory" He is (Isa.6:3).
John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (KJV)
This is my commandment, that ye love one another . . . it seems that this commandment was so deeply engraved on the apostle John’s heart, that when he reached old age and had to be carried to the public assemblies of the believers, his constant saying was, “Little children, love one another.” There is a church tradition, which says, that when John was an old man in Ephesus, he had to be carried to the church in the arms of his disciples. At these meetings, he was accustomed to say no more than, "Little children, love one another!" After a time, the disciples wearied at always hearing the same words, and asked, "Master, why do you always say this?" "It is the Lord's command," was his reply. "And if this alone be done, it is sufficient." This was the commandment that lay highest on Christ's heart, and which He knew, if they obeyed it, the rest would also be observed. See notes on John 13:34.
As I have loved you . . . the love of Christ, by which nothing can be more strong, effective and forceful. John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (KJV)
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (KJV)
Greater love hath no man than this . . . our Lord proceeds to tell us just how far love to another should extend.
That a man lay down his life for his friends . . . we are to use Christ Jesus as a Model in our lives. As I have stated many times . . . being a TRUE Christian is difficult! It is NOT easy as some say! Forgiving one another, loving our enemy, and now here . . . be willing to lay down our life for a friend. Jesus did it! No doubt about that! But . . . how many of us can really have this kind of love? How many people would YOU lay down your life for . . . 1, or 2, or 3? Do you have that many friends that you would die for? Most people do NOT! And on your own strength, you could not do it! What I am trying to get across here is . . . do you really see just how much Jesus loves us? He DID lay down His life for His friends . . . and His enemies, the world (Jn.4:42:1 Jn.4:14). We ALL were of the world before we came to Christ.
John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (KJV)
Ye are my friends . . . this applies to the foregoing Passage, and more clearly explains it. The character of "friends" is applied to the disciples of Christ; and belongs, not only to his apostles, but to all that love Him, believe in Him, and obey Him . . . to those whom He has showed Himself friendly, by laying down His life for them. This clearly shows that Christ really meant the former words, to His own laying down His life for His people, because of His great love for them. By doing this, He has made them His friends, and if they are friends, they should be grateful by their cheerful obedience to Him. Are you His friend?
If ye do whatsoever I command you . . . by observing His commands from a principle of love, they would make it seem that they were His friends, being influenced by His grace, and controlled by a sense of His love in dying for them, to act in obedience.
John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. (KJV)
Henceforth I call you not servants . . . which He had done at least indirectly (Jn.13:13,16; Mat.10:24-25; Lk.17:10), but He had also before this, on one occasion, called them friends (Lk.12:4), and on one occasion after this He called them servants (Jn.15:20). He here means that the ordinary title by which He would now call them would be that of friends.
For the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth . . . a servant is not told the master’s plans, these are told to him as necessity required, which was pretty much the case of the Old Testament who, had no knowledge of the mysteries of grace, and of the counsels of God, as they are now laid wide open under the Gospel dispensation.
But I have called you friends . . . He considered them His close friends, whom He told all that was on His mind. He treated them as such; by leading them more and more, as they were able to bear it, into the plans of His grace, and the doctrines of His Gospel. Just as Abraham was called the friend of God, and proved to be so, by His not concealing from him the thing He was about to do (Jam.2:23).
For all things I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you . . . not all that Jesus knew as the omniscient God, for there was no need that all such things should be made known to them . . . but all things which He had delivered to them as Man and Mediator, by His Father, regarding the salvation of men; and all things which He Himself was to do and suffer, in order to obtain eternal redemption. He opened up the whole of the Gospel, as to the crucial and substantial parts of it, that they were to preach. There were some things which they were not yet able to bear, and were reserved to another time, to be made known unto them by His Spirit.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (KJV)
Ye have not chosen me . . . the word chosen is comes from the word elect, meaning the same thing (Mat.24:22,24,31; Mk.13:20; Col.3:12). I think it refers here to Jesus choosing or electing them to be His apostles. He says that it was not because they had chosen Him to be their Teacher and Guide, but because He had selected them to be His apostles (Jn.6:70; Mat.4:18-22). He therefore shows them that His love for them was pure and without prejudice. He chose them when they had no affection for Him. He chose them willingly, He had no obligation whatsoever to choose them. Because of this, it placed them under such grateful, tender and holy duty to be totally devoted to serving Him. The same goes for all TRUE Christians. These are those who shall be His followers.
But I have chosen you . . . to be apostles. All those to whom Jesus now speaks were TRUE apostles. Judas had left them. And when Jesus says He had chosen them, I think it means to bear fruit, but also that He had "chosen them to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (2 Thes.2:13). Again, the same goes for all TRUE Christians.
And ordained you . . . this means that He had placed them, appointed them, set them apart. It does NOT mean that He had done this by any formal public act of the laying on of hands, as many today now use the word, but that He had assigned or appointed them to this work (Mat.10:2-5; Lk.6:13-16). This could mean either ordination to apostleship or eternal life, from before the world began (Tit.1:2). Jeremiah was ordained to be a prophet, even before he was born (Jer.1:5). This could mean the installation of them as apostles with that office, and supplying them with all gifts and graces necessary for the discharge of it (Mk.3:14).
That ye should go and bring forth fruit . . . WHEN Jesus chose them, He set them, or planted them in Himself, a fruitful soil, that they might shoot up and bear much fruit to go first into Judea, and then into all the world (Acts 1:8).
And that your fruit should remain . . . this could mean: #1. That the result of their labors would be permanent on mankind. Their efforts would NOT be like those of false teachers, the result of whose labors soon vanish away (Acts 5:38-39), but their Gospel would spread, and would take a deep and permanent hold on people, and would eventually fill the world (Mat.16:18). #2. They were to be diligent in their work, and tireless in their efforts to spread the Gospel, until the day of their death. The Christian, especially the Christian pastor, must be devoted to the Saviour for life. He is to work without intermission, and not be weary of his work, till God shall call him home. The Saviour never calls a disciple to serve Him for just a part of his life, nor should he feel himself free to relax his efforts, nor to assume himself to be a Christian when he has produced NO fruit. He that enlists under the banner of the Son of God does it for life. Anyone that grows weary and ceases to serve Christ Jesus, has NOT yet put on the Christian armor (Eph.6:11-17), or known anything of the grace of God (Lk.9:62), or has the love of God in their heart and life (Mat.22:37).
That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you . . . (Jn.14:14)
this is added to encourage their determination in the work that He chose and called them to do, for it would come with many difficulties, discouragements and persecutions . . . therefore they would need divine assistance.
John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another. (KJV)
These things I command you . . . Jesus means all the doctrines of Truth that Christ spoke to them, as One having authority, concerning the Vine and branches; His love to His disciples, in laying down His life for them, and in considering them as friends and not servants; in choosing, ordaining and sending them forth, as above mentioned. These were delivered by Him to promote brotherly love among them . . . that they love one another. This lay heavy on His heart, for He mentions it often! Since He had declared such strong love and affection for them, it was only right and proper that they should love one another, for nothing else tends to increase mutual love among the saints, than of the unchangeable love of their Lord for them.
John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. (KJV)
If the world hate you . . . they were not expected to be loved by the world, but they were not to be discouraged or side tracked from their work by its hatred. They had Jesus as their Example. NO opposition of the proud, the wealthy, the learned, or the powerful . . . NO persecution or mockery had ever stopped Him from His work. Jesus wanted them (and us) to remember this, and keep His example always in mind. They were to NOT to work less because wicked men would oppose and ridicule them. It is a blessing for the disciple to be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord (Mat.10:25; 1 Jn.3:13). Of the world: (1 Jn.2:15-17; 3:1; 4:5,9; 5:4-5; 5:19)
Ye know that it hated me before it hated you . . . these words are a plea of Christ to His apostles, for He had met head-on with the hatred of the wicked and unbelieving world of the Jews. They had expressed their hatred in many ways: #1. in words, calling Him a glutton, a winebibber, a sinner (Lk.7:34), a Samaritan (Jn.8:48), a madman, one that had a devil (Jn.10:20), and even Beelzebub himself (Lk.11:15), #2. and by deeds, taking up stones to stone him more than once (Jn.8:59; 10:31), leading Him to the brow of an hill, so they could cast Him down headlong (Lk.4:29), trying different ways to take His life, as Herod did in His infancy (Mat.2:13). If He, Who was their Master was hated by the world, they should not think it strange that this would also happen to them as His servants and friends.
John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. (KJV)
If ye were of the world . . . if they were motivated by the values of the world, being vain, earthly, sensual, seeking pleasure, wealth and ambition, the world would not oppose them, BUT, because they were influenced by contrasting principles from men of the world, they were NOT of the world! The apostles were motivated by the love of Christ Jesus, NOT any
The world would love its own . . . this brings to mind something going on in our time, that is NOT good. My friend, no TRUE “Christian” has any right to be more popular than Jesus was . . . nor does a TRUE “Christian” desire fame and glory for themselves. But, it seems to me that there are some supposed “Christian” preachers today who literally eat up the world-wide attention they are given. My dear friend, the world (unbelievers) will NOT love a TRUE child of God. Jesus said so! The world will love you IF you are of the world; proud, money hungry and vain. The world will hate you if you are REALLY a child of God. They absolutely will NOT be popular with the world if they are the children of God. Sad to say, there are people in the church today who are NOT born-again, and they too will hate you if you are a child of God. They will hate the preacher who brings the Truth in the Word of God. They will NOT tolerate sermons on sins and repenting from those sins. That is why these beloved false teachers are getting more abundant with each passing day. BEWARE of those professing “Christians” who are popular with the world. They are HYPOCRITES! See: http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_1_false_teachers.1.htm . . . http://www.worldlychaos.org/w_c_false_doctrines.1.htm . . . http://www.hisservants.org/bible_1_bible_corruptions_h_s.htm
But because ye are not of the world . . . all God’s children were at one time “of the world,” some for short periods but some, like myself, for many, many, long wasted years. We were born into it, brought up in it, lived our lives among the people of it, were ourselves carnal and worldly, both in principles and practices (Eph.2:2). The apostles were once “of the world” . . . BUT being called by Christ, and becoming His disciples, they no longer were of it . . . just as their beloved Master and Friend was not of the world, so too, they were not OF it, even though they were IN it, just like God’s TRUE children today!
But I have chosen you out of the world . . . when Jesus chose them to be His followers, He separated them, set them apart from the society of the world, and placed them under the government of God’s Holy laws, and designated them to serve Him.
Therefore the world hateth you . . . because they do not join in fellowship with those who do not know God, therefore the world hate you. The “world” here means not the Earth, but instead the people of the world under the control of the prince of the world (Eph.2:2), and for this reason they had cause to rejoice; seeing this was proof of their not belonging to the world, and of being chosen and called by Christ out of it. Therefore the world hateth you: (Jn.7:7; 17:14; 1 Jn.3:13). We are blessed when we become God’s children! (1 Jn.3:1-3).
John 15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. (KJV)
Remember the word that I said unto you . . . John 13:16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. (KJV) . . . Remember: (Mat.10:24-25; Lk.6:40). Jesus is stressing to them humility and a common sharing and serving of one another in love. When He first sent them out, He said it, and again after that, and He now speaks it again. Jesus clearly tells them that His servants must not expect to fare better with the world than He did. If they hated the Master, they will hate His servants too. If they persecuted Him, they would also persecute them as well. Love one another: (Jn.13:34-35; 15:12,17; Jesus teaches the apostles humility, self-denial and brotherly love, mainly to teach them to patiently bear up under the hatred of men, and all disgrace, dishonor and insults from them, for His Name's sake. A very important lesson for us today.
The servant is not greater than the Lord . . . no servant of the Lord Jesus can think that they will be better off than Jesus was. He was hated and persecuted, so too shall His servants be. But if we suffer for Him, by the hatred and persecution of the world, we shall reign with Him! 2 Tim 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: (KJV) . . . All God’s children suffer: (2 Tim.3:12; 1 Pet.2:20-21; 3:14). We CANNOT think that we are better than our Lord . . . because we are NOT! What we suffer is but a drop in a bucket, compared to what our precious Lord suffered.
If they have persecuted me . . . and they surely did, by words and deeds, as already seen, they pursued with hateful and wicked intent. "Persecute" is translated many times in the New Testament: (Mat.5:10-12,44; 10:23; 23:34; Lk.21:12; Jn.5:16; 15:20; Acts 7:52; 9:4-5; 22:4-8; 26:11-15; Rom.12:14; 1 Cor.4:12; 15:9; 2 Cor.4:9; Gal.1:13,23; 4:29; Phil.3:6; Rev.12:13).
They will persecute you . . . and so they did in like manner, where ever they went. Division because of Christ: (Mat.10:21-22, 34-36; 24:9-10; Mk.13:12-13; Lk.12:49-53; 21:16-17). Gal. 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. (KJV) . . . Persecution of God’s people will continue until the Kingdom of God comes to the world.
If they have kept my saying . . . there were those who did pay attention to the Lord’s words, and really paid attention to Him, and there were those who did not!
They will keep yours also . . . and there would be some who would also listen to the apostles’ doctrines, and those who would not!
John 15:21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. (KJV)
But all these things will they do unto you . . . Christ here implies that all the hatred and persecutions raised against His people by the world, would not be on their own account. As for the evil actions done to them . . . they would not suffer as thieves, murderers and evildoers . . . BUT as Christians; or as He says, they suffer because they are “CHRISTians.”
For my name's sake . . . because Christians are called by His Name, Christ, and because they profess His Name, and confessed Him to be the Messiah and Redeemer, and because they love His Name, and believe in His name, and hope in Him for eternal life . . . they also preached His Gospel, and preach salvation in His Holy Name. TRUE Christians encourage others to believe in Him, they are never ashamed, but rather rejoice in the love of Christ and the awesome blessings they receive because they are God’s children! They consider it an honor to stand up for the one and only Saviour of the world! (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12).
Because they know not him that sent me . . . many then and in today’s world, do not understand that Jesus was the Christ, the messiah, and that He was sent by God, His Father. They did/do not acknowledge Him to be so, they do not agree that the Father to be the Sender of Him. And because Christ and His apostles clearly affirmed this, they were the objects of the hatred of the world.
John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. (KJV)
If I had not come and spoken unto them . . . the ignorance of the Jews is therefore inexcusable, because Christ did come, as was prophesied (Gen.49:10; Mic.5:2; Isa.7:14; 11:1-2)., and He had preached to them. If He had not come and told them that He was the Messiah, they might have an excuse for their ignorance of him, and his mission, and that the Father that sent Him . . . but since He had come in the flesh (Jn.1:14), and came to His own (Jn.1:11); and came as a light into the world (Jn.1:8-9), speaking such words as never man did; speaking and healing with such power and authority (Lk.4:36; 9:1) . . . declaring in plain words that He was the Messiah of God, and that if they did not believe him to be so, they would die in their sins (Jn.8:21,24). They had no excuse for their ignorance and disbelief. If they had been wise . . .
They had not had sin . . . but they were not wise, they did have sin: unbelief, hatred of the One sent by the Father and rejection of the Him as the Messiah . . . not that they would have been without sin of any kind, but had they believed Christ Jesus, He would not have condemned them to “die in their sins.”
But now they have no cloak for their sin . . . they now could not say, “Had He come to us, and told us that He was the Messiah, and given proof of His being sent by the Father, we would have believed Him, and received Him as the Messiah.” BUT . . . Jesus DID all that, and they totally rejected Him.
John 15:23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. (KJV)
He that hateth me, hateth my Father also . . . this goes along with, and agrees with what Jesus said before. John 5:23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. (KJV) . . . This is a common error of the world today! Many say or pretend to love God, BUT they hate Christ Jesus and His Gospel! Our precious Saviour and Lord says that this is impossible! Whosoever hateth Him Who is sent, hateth also Him that sent Him. God the Father and Christ are one (Jn.10:30). NO one can hate Christ, or be His enemy, without being an enemy to His Father! It is a great comfort to God’s people, that all those who are their enemies were in reality God's enemies too. The hatred the world has to the followers of Christ, is essentially hatred to Christ Himself; and hatred to Christ Himself, is none other than hatred to His Father.
John 15:24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. (KJV)
If I had not done among them the works . . . our Lord brings up another argument, revealing how inexcusable their ignorance, infidelity and sin were, going by the works that Christ did: healing the sick, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, causing the dumb to speak, the deaf to hear, the lame to walk, cleansing lepers and casting out devils. ALL these were clear proofs, and full demonstrations of His deity, and of His being the true Messiah.
And which none other man did . . . NO other person, EVER, had done such things in His own Name, and by His own power! And NONE of the great men of God ever did either: not Moses, Elijah, Elisha, or any others, and especially giving sight to one that was born blind. And ALL these miracles were done among them, openly, visibly, and publicly,
They had not had sin . . . their sin of unbelief would not have been so great, or been so infuriating, or they would not have been guilty of the sin against the Holy Ghost (Mat.12:3), as many of them were . . . who saw His works and miracles, and were not convicted in their own consciences that He was the Messiah, and rejected Him, against all the light and proof which the Spirit of God gave by them, and by whom Christ worked His miracles.
But now have they both seen . . . the miracles which were done by the Messiah, proved His mission was from the Father.
And hated both me and my Father . . . their rejection of Him as the Messiah, in spite of the doctrines He taught, and the miracles He did, clearly came from stubbornness, malice and entrenched hatred against Christ, and against the Father that sent Him.
John 15:25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. (KJV)
But this cometh to pass . . . the hatred against Christ, and which also is pointed at His people for His sake, reaches far above to the Father also on His account.
That the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law . . . the whole Scripture is sometimes called the law, as here. The law of Moses is not meant, or the five books of Moses, but all the writings of the Old Testament; which the Jews had in their hands.
They hated me without a cause . . . Jesus quotes this as a fulfillment of Psalm 35:19 and 69:1, when He says they hated Him without a cause. The Jews hated Jesus without any reason for it. He had not provoked them, or given a just cause of offence, anger or hatred. This sin of hating without a cause, is a very dreadful one. Hatred without a cause is equal to the three major transgressions: idolatry, adultery and murder. This sin was a supreme one that abounded in the time while Christ Jesus was on Earth. It seems that today, many hate Christ Jesus because they have created a false god who is not the God of the Bible. I speak of the multitude of cults with their false preachers and their damnable heresies (2 Pet. 2:1).
John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (KJV)
But when the Comforter is come . . . the Holy Spirit, who was and is, an Advocate for Christ against the world for His people, for He stands against all their enemies. It is He Who reproves the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (Jn.16:8), in favor of Christ. The Holy Spirit was sent by the Father and the Son to assist the people of God, plead their cause, and help them, acquitting them before the princes of the Earth. He was also to act as a "Comforter" to them, when they undergo all the hatred and violence they come in contact with from the world; He applies the blessings of Christ to them; by making the love of God clear to them, by applying the Promises of the Gospel to them; by witnessing their adoption (Rom.8:15), and sealing them for the day of redemption (Eph.4:30). Comforter, Holy Spirit: (Jn.14:16-17,26; 15;26, 16:7; 1 Jn.5:6).
Whom I will send unto you from the Father . . . this was done in a marvelous way on the day of Pentecost, visibly in cloven tongues as of fire (Acts 2:3); and invisibly into their hearts (Gal.4:6). The influence of His light and grace implies that the Spirit is not inferior to either the Father or the Son. The Holy Spirit is of equal deity with Christ, and His united power and authority with the Father.
Even the Spirit of truth . . . the Holy Spirit is the TRUE Spirit of God, He is Truth itself, for He is the TRUE God, equal with the Father and Son. He is One of the Persons of the Trinity . . . our Triune God! The Spirit IS Truth; the Controller of the Scriptures of Truth; He leads God’s people into all Truth, because He IS the Spirit of Truth. He is a witness or testifier of Christ (1 Jn.5:9-10). He was Promised and He did come! Spirit of Truth: (Jn.14:17; 15:26; 16:13; Eph.1:13; 5:9; 2 Thes.2:13; 1 Jn.2:27; 4:6).
Which proceedeth from the Father . . . Christ not only describes the Holy Spirit by His work and office, as Advocate and Comforter, and as the Spirit of Truth, and that He was sent on His mission by Christ from the Father, all which reveal His value and authority . . . but also describes His nature and essence, which is the same as the Father's, His divine, distinctive and personal character, made clear by His proceeding from the Father. The Holy Spirit’s mission that is mentioned, is different and separate from the mission of Christ Jesus.
He shall testify of me . . . the job of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Jesus’ deity and sonship, of His incarnation, of His being the Messiah, of His sufferings and death, of His resurrection and ascension, of His being dignified and exalted to the right hand of God (Mk.16:19; Lk.22:69; Acts 2:33; 7:55-56; Rom.8:34; Col.3:1; Heb.10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet.3:22),
and of his ordination to be the Judge of quick and dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim.4:1; 1 Pet.4:5). All these things the Holy Spirit bore witness to: by the gifts bestowed upon the apostles, by the great grace that was upon them all, by the signs, wonders, and many miracles, by which the Gospel of Christ was confirmed and by the power, influence and success which was with them in their preaching every where. He testified of Christ against the blaspheming Jews and persecuting Gentiles, rebuking and confusing them. He testified of Christ to the apostles then, and all true believers, from then on to this day, bringing great joy, comfort and support to them, under all the malice and hatred of the wicked world. The Holy Spirit’s main job is to witness for Jesus (Jn.15:16; 16:13-14).
John 15:27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. (KJV)
And ye shall also bear witness . . . remember that Jesus is speaking to His apostles. They too would bear witness of Christ, and of all the things that He did in Jerusalem, and in the land of the Jews. They were eyewitnesses of what He had done and said, and they were also ministers, or servants of the Word. They had continually been with Him, and had seen all the good He had done to the bodies and souls of men, through the different miracles He had done, and had heard the doctrines of Truth which were taught by Him. They were witnesses to all that they saw with their eyes, heard with their ears, and with their hands handled of the Word of Life (1 Jn.1:1). They did declare and bore a faithful witness to His life as they knew it, and were witnesses of His sufferings and death, of His resurrection from the dead, and His ascension to Heaven (Acts 1:9). These specially chosen by our Lord were a group of special men, chosen before by God for this purpose (Ps.38:11; 41:9; 55:12).
Because ye have been with me from the beginning . . . from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, the apostles were with Him, for as soon as He started His public work, He called them to be His apostles, followers of Him. Eleven of these continued with him to the end, and therefore were very capable of bearing the Truth about His person, His doctrines, His works . . . of all that He did and suffered, from beginning to end.
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