The apostle John wrote this scripture 60 years after Jesus’s resurrection when most Jews were questioning the new Christians that they were following a false Messiah. John wrote this in response to these allegations because they (the disciples) have evidence that Jesus was and is the Messiah.
As John was among those in the inner circle, he saw Jesus work firsthand. He had a faith built on a relationship with Jesus. If you know the other gospels, John was the last book to have been written. John was the only apostle to die of old age (about 90-95 AD), and this was his last writings.
So that’s a little bit about John, now let's read some of his books:
Read John 15:1–4
Who here does a little gardening? If you’re pruning a hedge or vine, you’ll notice that it starts somewhere. It all leads back to the main roots. Like John was saying in verses 1 to 4, we need to remain in the Father, and if we do, we will bear fruit. If we don’t, we’ll bear no fruit.
Only God can prune us; he is our gardener and he knows where to prune us. No one said it’ll be easy, but it will be rewarding.
Read John 15:5–8
Let's unpack this: If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.
Jesus emphasizes the importance of staying connected to him. Just as branches draw their sustenance from the vine, we, as Jesus' disciples, are encouraged to stay closely united with him. By doing so, we will bear the fruit of righteousness and good works.
This part of the passage encourages us to maintain a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus, abiding in his teachings and relying on him for spiritual sustenance. Through this connection, we can bear the fruit of a transformed life and fulfill our purpose as his followers.
Read John 15:9–15
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.
Jesus states that remaining in his love is directly connected to keeping his commandments. He models his own relationship with the Father, in whom he remained by obeying His commands.
Similarly, Jesus' disciples are encouraged to abide in his love through obedience. In this passage, Jesus emphasizes the importance of our relationship—remaining in his love through obedience, loving one another selflessly, and experiencing the joy that comes with abiding in him. We see this in Jesus in the way that he establishes a deep connection/ relationship with his disciples, calling them friends and sharing wisdom with them.
Read John 15:16–17
Jesus reminds his disciples that their relationship with him is not a result of their own choosing but because he has chosen and appointed them. He has a purpose for them, which is to bear lasting fruit. Additionally, Jesus assures them that whatever they ask in his name, the Father will grant them, highlighting the power and authority granted to his followers, out of his immense love for them.
This is my command: Love each other.
In this passage, Jesus emphasizes the divine initiative in selecting and appointing his disciples. He assigns them the task of bearing lasting fruit, which could be understood as producing good works, spreading the message of the Gospel, and making a lasting impact in the world. Jesus also assures them of the effectiveness of prayer in his name and reinforces the commandment to love one another, understanding the significance of love in the Christian life.
So I hope with this devotional, you have an idea of some branches within your life you’ll need to get pruned through allowing our loving God to refine you, like a gardener does.
God has been pruning me these last five years, too. For those who knew me back then I was a different young Man. God helped me through it all. From calling off my engagement, to the drama in a prank that went very wrong, to getting baptized in 2021, and to helping me get my house. God is our most loved maker and he wants us to be the best versions of ourselves.