The True Vine - Part 1
As John chapter 14 concludes, so too does the upper room discourse as Jesus says to His disciples “Arise, let us go from here”. However, this is not an end to His teaching. From that which follows, it is evident that the subject of “abiding” remains very much at the forefront of our Saviour’s thoughts. Therefore, John 15 commences with another of the “I am” proclamations of Jesus.
Throughout John’s gospel, there are seven such proclamations; I am the bread of life. I am the light of the world. I am the door. I am the good shepherd. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the way, the truth and the life and now here in John 15:1, He says, I am the true vine.
And here, as Jesus headed toward His pending crucifixion and subsequent departure for heaven, He was preparing His disciples for life without Him physically. He had just told them that He would be leaving them and therefore, understanding how disturbed and upset they would feel at this prospect, He gave them this metaphor as a source of great encouragement.
This is a teaching that John, the apostle of love, must truly have taken to heart. The subject of the abiding presence of God with us and us with Him, forms a significant part of his writings, both in his gospel account and epistles. John is very much offering us the same great consolation and encouragement he received from our Lord. So important is the “abiding” presence of God in our lives, that John even informs us of how we might test to be sure that we have it. (And we shall be considering further some of the tests in Sundays message). Moreover, much of that which he writes of is very much wrapped up in God’s love toward us.
There is much John wants us to know, in order that we might be sure of something very important. And that which He wants us to be sure of is this. That God abides in the one who loves Jesus and confesses Him as the Son of God.
By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:13-16)
Most famously, John expresses the love of God toward us in John 3:16 as the gospel of Christ.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
And again in 1 John 4:9 in the same manner.
In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
If God is love… and He is, then the way in which we know that God loves us, the way in which He has shown us His love for us, is that He gave His only begotten Son for our sakes…
And (as Jesus prayed) this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Now these things may seem profoundly simple to you, but they are simply profound. This is the gospel of Christ and it is eternal life to all who believe. Because eternal life can only be found in Jesus Christ. And our understanding of God’s great love for us is manifested in the giving of His Son for our sakes. And this we must constantly remember. Because he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
Never tire of the message of the cross, for in it is contained the evidence of God’s love for you.
And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.