Reading for Friday, Jan. 20: John 15
John 15 is one of those “red letter chapters” where we receive nothing but teaching from Jesus. No narrative, no commentary — just words of life from the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Jesus uses the metaphor of vines and branches to illustrate the importance of abiding in Him. The word “abide” carries a great deal of meaning: dwell, remain, endure, persevere, stand firm — all of these are translations of the original Greek word. In light of what the next few hours will hold for them, it’s no surprise that Jesus encourages His followers to remain strongly rooted in their faith. I love what He says in v4, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” It helps me to know that Jesus is persevering and enduring right alongside of me as I continue to abide in Him. He remains stead fast; he stands firm. As I continue to believe in Him, so too does He continue to believe in me. What a great thought!
He continues the thought by emphasizing the importance of abiding in love. He highlights this with another landmark verse: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (v13)” The most complete demonstration of this love is yet to come: the cross. But Jesus is preparing them to receive the understanding that the Holy Spirit will impart: that Jesus HAD to die as a demonstration of the Father’s enduring love TOWARD US.
Jesus also understands that there are forces that are diametrically opposed to this kind of sacrificial, self-giving, radical love. “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” When you enlist in the Jesus Movement, understand that you’re signing up for a counter-cultural revolution. The world says “If they hit you, hit ’em back harder.” Jesus says, “In love, turn the other cheek.” The world says, “Accumulate, hoard, get what’s rightfully yours.” Jesus says, “Store up treasure in heaven. Give to those who are in need.” The way of Jesus goes against the grain. It runs counter to the way of the world. And Jesus is honest about this, telling us we should count the cost before we enlist. But Jesus also reminds us that we never face this opposition alone. He promises us “the Counselor”, the Holy Spirit, who empowers our testimony about Jesus in the world.
What are your thoughts on John 15?