John 15:1–17: The Fruit of Jesus
In the allegory of the vine (John 15:1–17), Jesus continues to explain how he will continue completing his mission after his departure. To describe this work, Jesus uses the agricultural metaphor to describe himself as a vine that will bear much fruit in the world. The intriguing aspect of this allegory, though, is not so much in the fact that Jesus will bear much fruit in the world, for that fits with the thrust of the rest of the Gospel.
Instead, the surprising aspect of this allegory is that Jesus will not bear the fruit directly, but through his branches—that is, through his disciples. They will bear fruit through Jesus alone, and Jesus will bear fruit through them alone. The rest of the mission will depend on the fruit-bearing vitality of Jesus himself, but the rest of the mission will be carried out by the disciples and through the Holy Spirit. To this day, and until he returns, Jesus bears fruit through his people.
1. What kind of fruit does God demand in the garden of Eden (Gen. 1:28; 2:15)? What kind of fruit does God demand from Israel? What kind of fruit does God demand in and through our union with Jesus? What kind of fruit will God produce in the new heavens and the new earth (Rev. 22:1–2)?
2. Why is Jesus able to produce fruit when both Adam and Israel failed to do so? Why does Jesus want to produce his fruit through us? What does that fruit look like in our lives, practically speaking? Why does Jesus focus specifically on love as the fruit he seeks?
3. Explain the Father’s role of vinedresser (John 15:1–2). What does the work of pruning/cleaning look like? What does it feel like? How should we evaluate the Father’s pruning work in our lives? Does a theological framework of “pruning” help us in the midst of suffering?
4. What does it mean to abide in Jesus? How does abiding in Jesus involve his word? How does abiding in Jesus involve prayer? How is the Holy Spirit involved in our abiding in Jesus? What does it mean practically for us to seek to continue abiding in Jesus? In what areas of our abiding in Jesus do we need to repent, seek forgiveness, and pursue new obedience by the power of the Holy Spirit right now?