A Meditation on John 15.

In this chapter the Lord Jesus speaks of Himself as the true vine, the source of all vitality and spiritual power to the branches. The eleven disciples, to whom He spoke, were the branches, for it was while He was on earth that the blessed Lord was the true vine. They were connected with Him that they might bring forth the fruit that would give joy and delight to the Father's heart. This could only be through their abiding in Jesus, through dependence and communion with Him. Nothing from the natural heart could bring pleasure to God, only that which is derived from His own dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 15:6 shows that there is responsibility, for of Judas and such it is written, "Unless any one abide in me he is cast out as the branch, and is dried up; and they gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." Judas had been long in the company of the Lord, but he abode not in Him; to the very end he was unmoved by the grace and love so richly bestowed, and came to a dreadful end.

As abiding in Him, and His words abiding in us (John 15:7), whatsoever we should ask would be granted. His words give the direction in which we could be here for the Father's will and pleasure; and these controlling all our thoughts and affections, would lead us to ask what would produce what would glorify the Father. Hence we read, "In this is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, and ye shall become disciples of mine." How great is the privilege of the believer of being in this world to bring glory to the Father, and to be a true disciple of the Lord Jesus; following in the steps of Him Who constantly brought glory to the Father's name.

During the absence of the Lord Jesus, we are to continue in His love, a love whose character and measure are seen in the love of the Father to the Son in Manhood. Only as abiding in such love can we respond to the Father as He desires. But we are to keep the commandments of the Lord; commandments of which He Himself was the expression in His life on earth. It is not like the demand to keep the ten commandments, which held out life to those who kept them; but having communicated His own life to us, He has given us also the power to manifest in love towards one another, the same love that He expressed towards us. We have also His joy, that by which He carried out all for the Father's pleasure; and having this our joy will indeed be full.

To bring His own into closest intimacy with Him, He was laying down His life for them; and to them as His friends He would communicate all the things that He had heard from the Father. How He delights in the company of His own, and desires the real confidence of our hearts, so that we may be truly here as those in whom His own blessed features can be manifested. We are His by sovereign choice: we did not choose Him; He chose us that we should bear fruit, and that that fruit should remain. This fruit is surely the divine product of His love in us, that which is ever pleasurable to the Father.

All these communications have been given in relation to the place of testimony. In this path He marks out the sufferings through which His own will pass during His absence. The world would pour upon the disciples of Jesus the same hatred that was shown to their Master, and mete out to them the same persecution; and all because they hated the Son and the Father. The presence of the Son fully exposed the true character of the world. The light in which the Father was seen in the Person of the Son also exposed the utter wickedness of the world, leaving the leaders of the world with no cloak for their sin; their true moral condition completely revealed.

He now speaks to His own of the Spirit Who would come and bring witness of His present place with the Father, presenting Him to them as a glorified Man at God's right hand, above all principalities and powers, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. We see this manifested to Stephen, who saw Jesus in the centre of the glory of God; and we have the results of that moment of witness in Saul of Tarsus, who was taken up by God to bring out the Gospel of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The disciples, who had companied with Him here, were to be witnesses of His humiliation, death and resurrection; and this is recorded for us in the Acts. Their witness was carried out in power and through suffering, but they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. We have also their witness brought out in the 1st Epistle of John, left on record for His own, who should remain until His coming, that they might walk in the light and enjoyment of that which abides.
R. Duncanson.