What Does John 15:4 Mean?

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

John 15:4(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Jesus knew how important it was for His disciples to be clear about their relationship to Himself. And using the familiar symbol of a vine He identified Himself as the True Vine. For centuries, Israel had been an unfruitful vine, and only days before His crucifixion, Jesus taught the parable of the tenant farmers who killed the son of the vineyard owner - prophesying His own rejection and death which would be instigated by the priests and Pharisees who were looking for a way to arrest Him and were plotting His death.

While most of Israel would reject Him, Jesus wanted His own disciples to understand that HE, and not Israel was the True Vine to Whom they must remain attached. Those who believed in Him were to be joined to HIM in the unity of the Spirit. Jesus explained that He was the True Vine and His Father was the husbandman, Who prunes away the unfruitful branches so that new growth - new believers can begin to grow and flourish - Jew and Gentile alike would be branches that would grow on the True Vine, and together they would become the Church - at Pentecost. 

And so Christ called for them to abide in Him. "Abide in ME," He told them. Jesus wanted them, and us, to be fruitful branches. "Abide in Me, and I in you."  He explained that unless we remained attached to HIM, we will also become unfruitful, for a branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine and draws its strength and succour from the vine. Without Jesus, we can do nothing. Without Him, we will become as unfruitful as those who rejected Him 2000 years ago.

To abide in Christ is a cleaving to Him, in love. It is a holding fast to Him in trusting obedience. It is believing the truth of His Word with an unshakable assurance. It is a steadfast confidence that His word is true and His promises are sure. If we are to abide in Him, we will adhere to Him in every way -  we will be united with Him in mind and motives; resting in His gracious love; abiding in the arms of the beloved Son of God – and having a deep, trusting dependence on Him, in every area of life.

The love that Christ has for each one of His children is compared with the mutual love that God the Father has towards His dearly beloved Son. Such a thought staggers the imagination – that Christ loves each one of us as dearly as the Father loves Him – and the Father loves each of His blood-bought children with the same depth of love that He has for His only Begotten Son.

The astonishing truth that Jesus shared with His disciples on that day should affect each one of our lives. Christ's teaching was to those who believe in Him - those who were saved by grace through faith in Him. This was not a teaching for the unbeliever, but a warning to those that are born-again, that if we are to be fruitful in our Christian life and honour our Father in heaven, we will abide in Christ and bring forth much fruit.

If a Christian fails to abide in Christ, he will live a defeated life and suffer loss of reward, in the ages to come - saved, yet as though by fire. But if a  Christian obeys Christ's command to abide in Him and He in us, he will bring forth much fruit - 10-fold, 50-fold and maybe 100-fold, and he will hear Jesus say, well-done good and faithful servant.

To abide in Christ and to rest in His love is to know, with absolute certainty, that He alone is life’s sufficiency and to act on this knowledge. To abide in Him is to recognise that without Him we can do nothing, because all the grace and nourishment, refreshment and strength we need, comes from His bountiful supply. Wonderful though “abiding in Him” is to the believer, it is only half of the equation, for as we rest and abide and remain in Him, so He abides in us.

As our hearts cleave closely to Him and our minds are flooded with His beauty, so His Spirit abides within each one of us, teaching and training, leading and guiding, helping and comforting with an ever-increasing intimacy, as we grow in His grace and in a knowledge of our precious Saviour.

Let us seek to rest in His love and abide in Him, moment by moment and day by day, for He will take each burden and all the pain of life and provide for each of us, the wisdom and strength we need to face the future, until abiding in Him and He in us becomes as natural as breathing.

My Prayer

Loving Father I pray that more and more I may abide in You, rest in Your love, and trust Your Word, forgetting the things that are past and just looking to Jesus, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.

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