15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 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.5 “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. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12
We may understand how we can do “greater things than these” by connecting today’s passage to Jn14:12
1. We are branches that remain in the vine (v.4). Apart from God, we can do nothing, but Jesus promised that as long as we remain in the vine, we will bear fruits. If you want a fruitful life, you have to be connected with God all the time. The vinedresser (Father) will also prune us by removing unwanted growth, and small/dead branches that don’t produce fruits. You may see those as the habits, characters, and speeches that don’t honor God or build up people.
2. God’s word remains in us (v.7). We are guaranteed to be fruitful as long as we are committed to DO God’s word. It’s not how much we know or study but how much we live out. I once heard a statement, “If you don’t tithe, you don’t believe in the teaching of tithing in the Bible.” Or “If you don’t go to church, you don’t believe the teaching of the church in the Bible.” So, what do you really believe in the Bible?
3. We remain in God’s love (v.9). Love is a powerful thing. Love endures. Without God’s love, no human power/endurance can do greater things for God, at least not for long. Building a church and shepherding the flocks are impossible for humans….unlesss God’s love is in us and we remain in God’s love. But how? “keep my commands”(v.10) and how? “Love each other as I have loved you.”(v12)
4. Our joy is complete (v.11). The joy of being right with God is a joy surpassing anything the world can offer. Out of this exhilaration, the strength to do greater things for God comes. Out of this complete joy, we can overcome obstacles and setbacks. After all, God is there with us in all of the ups and downs.
Dear Lord, apart from you we can do nothing. we want to live a fruitful life. We want to remain in you, keep your commands and do your word. Amen!