by Joseph Strocchia
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
Nothing?! Is Jesus really saying here that his disciples, and also us, cannot accomplish anything on their own? That they–in their own strength, with their own will, in their own capabilities–will fail? I think so!
If we look earlier in the Gospel of John chapter 5, we read about Jesus talking to a crowd of Jews who are mad at Him because He referred to God as His Father. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.“
So if Jesus–the Son of God, the second person in the Godhead Trinity–could do nothing by Himself, then I think it is safe to say that He meant His disciples, and also us, can do nothing apart from Him.
Let those words sink into your heart, mind, and soul! If we are to do anything–anything of meaning, value, significance–both in this world and in eternity [fruit], then we need to remain in Him. On our own, we just don’t have what it takes.
But, just how do we do that? How can we remain in Him?
If we worship Him, He will be our focus. If we engage in meaningful prayer, He will be our focus. If we study His scriptures, He will be our focus. If we serve Him by serving others, He will be our focus. If we obey His commands, He will be our focus.
Obedience wraps everything up. Look at John 15:10, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love.“
Is Jesus your focus? Does He have your worship, your time, your devotion, your service, and your obedience?
Let us all remain in Him and allow His fruit to be produced in and through us. Jesus is the vine–the source. We are the branches, the outflow from the source. Without the vine, there are no branches!