John 15:1-17: The Secret of Remaining
The final weekend before Christmas is not the time to visit a shopping mall. If you are fortunate enough to find a parking spot, the press of people inside makes shopping almost impossible. I overheard one mother giving these final instructions to her young son before plunging into the crowd: "Stay close to me and hold my hand all the time. We won't get separated if we hold on to each other."
As Jesus prepared his disciples to face life without his visible presence, he impressed on them the importance of staying close to him spiritually. He said, "Remain in me."; If you’ve ever longed to understand the secret of spiritual growth, you will find it in Jesus’ words to us in John 15.
Warming Up to God
Have you ever felt far from Christ since becoming a Christian? What circumstances made you feel that way? Be still before God and feel his presence with you now.
Discovering the Word
- Jesus' instructions to his disciples in this passage revolve around three symbols—the vine, the gardener and the branches. What is Jesus trying to communicate by calling himself the true vine?
- What does it mean to remain in Christ (v. 4)?
- The Father prunes fruitful branches to make them more fruitful (v. 2). In what ways have you experienced the Father's "pruning"?
- What spiritual benefits result from remaining in Christ (vv. 7-11)?
- What are the requirements and benefits of friendship with Christ (vv. 14-17)?
Applying the Word
- There are three categories of branches described in this passage—those bearing no fruit, those bearing some fruit, and those bearing much fruit. In which category would you place yourself and why?
- If you are not bearing much fruit, what is Jesus' counsel to you in these verses?
Responding in Prayer
Picture yourself as a tree laden with plump, healthy fruit. Ask God to help you become the person he wants you to be.