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Joh 15:1-27. DISCOURSE AT THE SUPPER TABLE CONTINUED.
1-8. The spiritual oneness of Christ and His people, and His
relation to them as the Source of all their spiritual life and
fruitfulness, are here beautifully set forth by a figure familiar
to Jewish ears
2. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit . . . every branch that beareth fruit--As in a fruit tree, some branches may be fruitful, others quite barren, according as there is a vital connection between the branch and the stock, or no vital connection; so the disciples of Christ may be spiritually fruitful or the reverse, according as they are vitally and spiritually connected with Christ, or but externally and mechanically attached to Him. The fruitless He "taketh away" (see on Joh 15:6); the fruitful He "purgeth" (cleanseth, pruneth)--stripping it, as the husbandman does, of what is rank (Mr 4:19), "that it may bring forth more fruit"; a process often painful, but no less needful and beneficial than in the natural husbandry.
3. Now--rather, "Already."
4. Abide in me, and I in you; as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, &c.--As all spiritual fruitfulness had been ascribed to the mutual inhabitation, and living, active interpenetration (so to speak) of Christ and His disciples, so here the keeping up of this vital connection is made essential to continued fruitfulness.
5. without me--apart, or vitally disconnected from Me.
6. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch . . . withered . . . cast into the fire . . . burned--The one proper use of the vine is to bear fruit; failing this, it is good for one other thing--fuel. (See Eze 15:1-5). How awfully striking the figure, in this view of it!
7. If ye abide in me, and my words . . . in you--Mark
the change from the inhabitation of Himself to that of His
words, paving the way for the subsequent exhortations
(Joh 15:9, 10).
9-11. continue ye in my love--not, "Continue to love Me," but, "Continue in the possession and enjoyment of My love to you"; as is evident from the next words.
10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love--the obedient spirit of true discipleship cherishing and attracting the continuance and increase of Christ's love; and this, He adds, was the secret even of His own abiding in His Father's love!
12-16. That ye love one another, &c.--(See on Joh 13:34, 35).
13. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends--The emphasis lies not on "friends," but on "laying down his life" for them; that is, "One can show no greater regard for those dear to him than to give his life for them, and this is the love ye shall find in Me."
14. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you--hold yourselves in absolute subjection to Me.
15. Henceforth I call you not servants--that is,
in the sense explained in the next words; for servants He still calls
and they delight to call themselves so, in the sense of being "under
law to Christ"
16. Ye have not chosen me, but I . . . you--a wholesale memento after
the lofty things He had just said about their mutual indwelling, and the
unreservedness of the friendship they had been admitted to.
22-25. (See on
24. If I had not done . . . the works which none other . . . did--(See on Joh 12:37).
27. ye also shall bear witness--rather, "are witnesses"; with reference indeed to their future witness-bearing, but putting the emphasis upon their present ample opportunities for acquiring their qualifications for that great office, inasmuch as they had been "with Him from the beginning." (See on Lu 1:2).