This passage of GJohn should be taken in context of the whole of chapter 15. The chapter begins with the last of the seven I Am’s of Jesus. I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. CJB The image of Israel as a grape vine is found in Psalms, Isaiah, Jeramiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea. Sadly, the image is generally spoken of as a failed vine; that is, the unfaithful and fruitless vine of Israel must be cut off and thrown into the fire.
As we read the Gospels, the image of the vine is not common. The Synoptics record a couple of parables; only John makes such a strong connection with Jesus being the vine, and only at the end of his ministry.
We read also that God is the gardener now. In Genesis we find that Adam was given the job of God’s gardener, but he failed. Too bad because the work was almost effortless. He might have had a good set of Feelme Electric Pruning Shears, Cordless Electric Pruning Shears with backup batteries.
This is how my Father will be glorified—in your becoming fruitful and being my disciples…There is no greater love than this—that a man should lay down his life for his friends…But because you do not belong to the world and I have chosen you out of it, the world will hate you. Phillips
We would rather skip that last part. What, I must give up my twenty-room house with air-conditioning and three-car garage? Jesus, tell me the only people in heaven will be WASPs.
Bearing fruit on the Jesus vine has nothing to do with the how much money we have, how many vacations we take, how many times we eat at nice restaurants (ouch). Yes, we have to work a job we may or may not like to put food on the table and clothes on the kids, but that is not being fruitful.
While you are working, or in the break room, how often to you listen to other people’s problems and commensurate with them? How often do you make remarks about the failings of people you know? How often do you build up other’s morale? It is these innocent interactions that make up fruit bearing, or lack of same.
When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. NIV That same Spirit is given to each of us to help us see the truth of others.
One of the earliest non-Apostolic authors, writing about 195, made this comment on this verse. The Lord promised to send the Comforter who would join us to God. For as a compacted lump of dough cannot be formed of dry wheat without liquid, nor can a loaf possess unity, so, in the same way, neither could we, being many, be made one in Christ Jesus without the water from heaven. And as dry earth does not produce fruit unless it receives moisture, in the same way we also, being originally a dry tree, could never have produced life-bearing fruit without the voluntary rain from Above. ACCS
At the Council of Constantinople in 381, the following Greed was agreed upon.
And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord and giver of live,
who proceeds from the Father,
who with the Father and Son
together is worshiped and glorified;
who spoke by the prophets. ACCS
And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. NIV You might assume this verse applies only to the Twelve; think again. Yes, Jesus was speaking to the Twelve and he meant it for them, but only for the early decades. Once the Twelve had died, the testifying was taken over by the next generation. And the next, down to you and me.
Yet I am telling you the simple truth when I assure you that it is a good thing for you that I should go away. For if I did not go away, the divine helper would not come to you. But if I go, then I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convince the world of the meaning of sin, of true goodness and of judgment. Phillips
Jesus leaves his ministry in our hands, but only if we listen to his guidance through the Spirit.
Be righteous and do good.