Understanding the Rest of John 15:5
After Jesus states that He is the vine and we are the branches, the rest of John 15:5 reads this way:
“...If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
The key action is to remain. It is translated in different ways: to stay, to abide, to live, to live in union. I like to state it this way: “If you stay at home in me and I stay at home in you, you will bear much fruit.” Jesus is to be so much a part of our daily existence that He feels like home. Talking to Him becomes like talking to your best friend. Being with Him is like being at home on your favorite couch.
We become like Jesus and do His great deeds not by trying harder or pumping up some kind of spiritual energy. We do all of this by simply staying at home with Him. Bearing fruit then just happens—because it’s ultimately His fruit, not ours.
To make this point even stronger, Jesus concludes this verse by stating the same truth in the negative: There is nothing you can do in terms of bearing fruit by yourself. Nothing. Zero. Zip. Let that sink in. It will change you.
Where Else Does the Bible Explain the Concept of Remaining in Jesus?
The other place in the New Testament that describes something parallel to remaining in Jesus is Paul’s letters. It’s his catchword, a simple two-word expression continuously repeated without apology: in Christ.
Paul uses this phrase to describe almost everything about being a follower of Jesus. We aren’t just believing a set of truths. We aren’t just practicing wholesome ethics. We aren’t just doing good things for others. We are in Christ, literally and figuratively.
We are in such close proximity to Him that when He died on the cross, we died with Him, and when He rose from the dead, we did as well into a new life (see Romans 6:1-10).
To even add more shape to the idea, Paul uses another metaphor. We are the body of Christ, and He is the head. Our whole life is dependent on staying connected to Him, remaining in Him (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). To try to do otherwise would be to try to function as a decapitated body!
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