Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned… ( A consideration of John 15:4-6)
Jesus warmly invites us to abide in him, to bear much fruitage with Him as He abides in us. We are invited to be attached to Him, to grow and to be pruned in His presence. As we receive and savor His life-saving words it is to the glory of the Father who is over us all. (Ephesians 4:6) Jesus wants us to rest in His presence and to bask in the glow of His glory all while growing spiritually. We bear much fruitage when we are attached to Him. We are healed by His words. We are revealed by His words. He is the divine vinedresser but not only that, as He is dressing us for himself, He desires to abide in us and we in him. This invitation is open to all who would believe.
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. (John 6:53-56)
Did Jesus mean to literally feed on His flesh and blood to abide in Him? No, though many of the disciples in his audience believed that this was so. This teaching was shocking to the audience and it sounded like cannibalism. Instead, Jesus explained that to feed on Him – the source of eternal life -is believing. This would later foreshadow the Lord’s evening meal where His disciples are invited to share a meal with Him and to commune with Him. For Jesus, eating and drinking with Him was also believing in Him. (John 17:3).
Believing in Jesus and communing with Him gives us access to the flowing waters of eternal life. (John 17:3) This flow of waters allows us to completely rest in our hope to eternally abide in Christ as He abides in us. Jesus’ sayings mean life for us and for those that we love. Many left from following Jesus that day, rejecting His invitation to be grafted into the True Vine, Himself. (John 6:66) Jesus then asked,
“Do you want to go away as well?”
Our response to the Lord’s invitation to abide in him should be that of his disciple, Peter:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that only 144,000 persons throughout history have been invited to commune with Jesus. They teach that only this limited number of persons can “drink the blood and eat the flesh” of Jesus to inherit life. Rather than commemorate Lord’s evening meal by partaking in the symbols of the body and blood of Christ ( bread and wine) they choose to instead celebrate His death by having a “Memorial” for Jesus Christ. Make no mistake, Jesus did not sanction a celebration of His death nor a meal where no one partakes of the emblems but rather there is a room of “observers” as all reject the body and blood of Christ that it represents. Feeding on the words of Christ is not enough to receive the gift of eternal life. We must be in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. The alternative is to be “thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned”. (John 15:6)
Jesus invites all to rest from our works and to rest in His presence.(Matthew 11:28) Resting in His everlasting love and grace is a gift to all who choose to follow Him. Following our Lord means that we show Him that we love Him by obeying His commands and abiding in His words. We can do nothing apart from our Lord, just as fruit cannot bear fruitage apart from a vine.(John 15:5)
In our next consideration of John 15, we will examine consider what His commandments are and how we can abide in the Father’s love.