Union with Jesus

In themselves believers have no life, strength or spiritual power. All that they have comes from Jesus Christ. If he is likened to a vine, they are likened to the branches, which means that they can bear spiritual fruit only as they are united in him. As they allow the Father to remove the hindrances of sin from their lives, they will bear even more fruit (John 15:1-5).

Those who bear no fruit are like the dead branches of a vine. Though attached to it, they receive no life from it. They say they are disciples of Jesus, but they have no spiritual union with him and in the end they will be destroyed. Such a person was Judas Iscariot (John 15:6).

If people are true disciples, they will prove it by the fruits that their spiritual union with Jesus produces. Among those fruits are obedience, love, joy and effective prayer (John 15:7-11). Jesus wants his disciples to serve him willingly, lovingly and with understanding. For this reason he chose the twelve apostles and trained them to know God’s ways. If their service is based on a true knowledge of God and the true exercise of self-sacrificing love, they can expect it to result in lasting fruit (John 15:12-17).

Union with Jesus, however, will bring some suffering, because disciples, like their master, will be hated by the world. Loyalty to Jesus will bring persecution (John 15:18-20). Jesus’ teaching and work showed clearly that he came from God. Those who heard and saw him had no excuse for not believing him. In fact, their clearer knowledge increased their guilt. They may have claimed to be worshippers of God, but if they hated Jesus they hated God (John 15:21-25).

The apostles also had heard Jesus’ words and seen his works, but they had believed. Therefore, they could be assured of the Spirit’s help as they witnessed to Jesus during the difficult time that lay ahead (John 15:26-27; cf. Acts 4:8-12; 5:32).

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