John 15

The true vine ( η αμπελος η αληθινη ). "The vine the genuine." Assuming that the Lord's Supper had just been instituted by Jesus the metaphor of the vine is naturally suggested by "the fruit of the vine" (Mr 14:25; Mt 26:29).  Αμπελος in the papyri (Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary) is sometimes used in the sense of ampelon (vineyard), but not so here. Jesus uses various metaphors to illustrate himself and his work (the light, 8:12; the door, 10:7; the shepherd, 10:11; the vine, 15:1). The vine was common in Palestine. See Ps 80:8f. "On the Maccabean coinage Israel was represented by a vine" (Dods). Jesus is the genuine Messianic vine.

The husbandman ( ο γεωργος ) as in Mr 12:1; Jas 5:7; 2Ti 2:6. cf. 1Co 3:9,  θεου γεωργιον (God's field).

Branch ( κλημα ). Old word from  κλαω, to break, common in LXX for offshoots of the vine, in N.T. only here (verses 2-6), elsewhere in N.T.  κλαδος (Mr 4:32, etc.), also from  κλαω, both words meaning tender and easily broken parts.

In me ( εν εμο ). Two kinds of connexion with Christ as the vine (the merely cosmic which bears no fruit, the spiritual and vital which bears fruit). The fruitless (not bearing fruit,  μη φερον καρπον ) the vine-dresser "takes away" ( αιρε ) or prunes away. Probably (Bernard) Jesus here refers to Judas.

Cleanseth ( καθαιρε ). Present active indicative of old verb  καθαιρω (clean) as in verse 3, only use in N.T., common in the inscriptions for ceremonial cleansing, though  καθαριζω is more frequent (Heb 10:2).

That it may bear more fruit ( ινα καρπον πλειονα φερη ). Purpose clause with  ινα and present active subjunctive of  φερω, "that it may keep on bearing more fruit" (more and more). A good test for modern Christians and church members.

Already ye are clean ( ηδη υμεις καθαρο εστε ). Potentially cleansed (Westcott) as in 13:10 which see and 17:19.

Abide in me ( μεινατε εν εμο ). Constative aorist active imperative of  μενω. The only way to continue "clean" (pruned) and to bear fruit is to maintain vital spiritual connexion with Christ (the vine). Judas is gone and Satan will sift the rest of them like wheat (Lu 22:31f.). Blind complacency is a peril to the preacher.

Of itself ( αφ' εαυτου ). As source (from itself) and apart from the vine (cf. 17:17).

Except it abide ( εαν μη μενη ). Condition of third class with  εαν, negative  μη, and present active (keep on abiding) subjunctive of  μενω. Same condition and tense in the application, "except ye abide in me."

Ye the branches ( υμεις τα κληματα ). Jesus repeats and applies the metaphor of verse 1.

Apart from me ( χωρις εμου ). See Eph 2:12 for  χωρις Χριστου. There is nothing for a broken off branch to do but wither and die. For the cosmic relation of Christ see Joh 1:3 ( χωρις αυτου ).

He is cast forth ( εβληθη εξω ). Timeless or gnomic use of the first aorist passive indicative of  βαλλω as the conclusion of a third-class condition (see also verses 4,7 for the same condition, only constative aorist subjunctive  μεινητε and  μεινη in verse 7). The apostles are thus vividly warned against presumption. Jesus as the vine will fulfil his part of the relation as long as the branches keep in vital union with him.

As a branch ( ως το κλημα ).

And is withered ( εξηρανθη ). Another timeless first aorist passive indicative, this time of  ξηραινω, same timeless use in Jas 1:11 of grass, old and common verb. They gather ( συναγουσιν ). Plural though subject not expressed, the servants of the vine-dresser gather up the broken off branches.

Are burned ( καιετα ). Present passive singular of  καιω, to burn, because  κληματα (branches) is neuter plural. See this vivid picture also in Mt 13:41f.,49f.

Ask whatsoever ye will ( ο εαν θελητε αιτησασθε ). Indefinite relative with  εαν and present active subjunctive of  θελω, to wish, to will, and aorist middle imperative of  αιτεω, to ask. This astounding command and promise ( γενησετα, future middle of  γινομα, it will come to pass) is not without conditions and limitations. It involves such intimate union and harmony with Christ that nothing will be asked out of accord with the mind of Christ and so of the Father. Christ's name is mentioned in 15:16; cf. 14:13; 16:23.

Herein ( εν τουτω ). That is in the vital union and the much fruit bearing. It points here backwards and forwards.

Is glorified ( εδοξασθη ). Another gnomic or timeless first aorist passive indicative.

Bear ( φερετε ). Present active subjunctive, "keep on bearing" much fruit.

And so shall ye be ( κα γενησεσθε ). Rather "become." Future middle indicative of  γινομα, though B D L read  γενησθε (after  ινα like  φερητε ). "Become" my disciples (learners) in the fullest sense of rich fruit-bearing according to the text in

Abide ( μεινατε ). Constative first aorist active imperative of  μενω, summing up the whole.

In my love ( εν τη αγαπη τη εμη ). Subjunctive possessive pronoun, "in the love that I have for you." Our love for Christ is the result of Christ's love for us and is grounded at bottom in the Father's love for the world (3:16). John has  εμος 37 times and always in the words of Jesus (Bernard). But he uses  μου also (verse 10).

Ye will abide ( μενειτε ). Future tense of  μενω, conclusion of the third-class condition ( εαν and first aorist active subjunctive  τηρησητε ). The correlative of 14:15. Each involves the other (love and keeping the commandments of Jesus).

And abide ( κα μενω ). The high example of Jesus (the Son) in relation to the Father is set before us as the goal.

That my joy may be in you ( ινα η χαρα η εμη εν υμιν η ). Purpose clause with  ινα and the present subjunctive  η (some MSS. have  μεινη, may remain), Christ's permanent absolute joy in the disciples.

And that your joy be fulfilled ( Κα η χαρα υμων πληρωθη ). Same construction with first aorist (effective) passive subjunctive of  πληροω, consummation of the process preceding.

That ye love one another ( ινα αγαπατε αλληλους ). Non-final use of  ινα, introducing a subject clause in apposition with  εντολη (commandment) and the present active subjunctive of  αγαπαω, "that ye keep on loving one another." See 13:34.

Than this ( ταυτης ). Ablative case after the comparative adjective  μειζονα and feminine agreeing with  της αγαπης (love) understood.

That a man lay down his life ( ινα τις την ψυχην αυτου θη ). Object clause (non-final use of  ινα in apposition with the ablative pronoun  ταυτης and the second aorist active subjunctive of  τιθημ. For the phrase see 10:11 of the good shepherd. Cf. 1Jo 3:16; Ro 5:7f.

For his friends ( υπερ των φιλων αυτου ). "In behalf of his friends" and so "in place of his friends." "Self-sacrifice is the high-water mark of love" (Dods). For this use of  υπερ see Joh 11:50; Ga 3:13; 2Co 5:14f.; Ro 5:7f.

If ye do ( εαν ποιητε ). Condition of third class with  εαν and the present active subjunctive, "if ye keep on doing," not just spasmodic obedience. Just a different way of saying what is in verse 10. Obedience to Christ's commands is a prerequisite to discipleship and fellowship (spiritual friendship with Christ). He repeats it in the Great Commission (Mt 28:20,  ενετειλαμην, I commanded) with the very word used here ( εντελλομα, I command).

No longer ( ουκετ ). As he had done in 13:16. He was their Rabbi (1:38; 13:13) and Lord (13:13). Paul gloried in calling himself Christ's  δουλος (bond-slave).

Servants ( δουλους ). Bond-servants, slaves.

I have called you friends ( υμας ειρηκα φιλους ). Perfect active indicative, permanent state of new dignity. They will prove worthy of it by continued obedience to Christ as Lord, by being good  δουλο. Abraham was called the Friend of God (Jas 2:23). Are we friends of Christ?

But I chose you ( αλλ' εγω εξελεξαμην υμας ). First aorist middle indicative of  εκλεγω. See this same verb and tense used for the choice of the disciples by Christ (6:70; 13:18; 15:19). Jesus recognizes his own responsibility in the choice after a night of prayer (Lu 6:13). So Paul was "a vessel of choice" ( σκευος εκλογης, Ac 9:15). Appointed ( εθηκα ). First aorist active indicative ( κ aorist) of  τιθημ. Note three present active subjunctives with  ινα (purpose clause) to emphasize continuance ( υπαγητε, keep on going,  φερητε, keep on bearing fruit,  μενη, keep on abiding), not a mere spurt, but permanent growth and fruit-bearing.

He may give ( δω ). Second aorist active subjunctive of  διδωμ with  ινα (purpose clause). Cf. 14:13 for the same purpose and promise, but with  ποιησω (I shall do). See also 16:23f.,26.

That ye may love one another ( ινα αγαπατε αλληλους ). Repetition of 13:34; 15:12. This very night the disciples had been guilty of jealousy and wrangling (Lu 22:24; Joh 13:5,15).

If the world hateth you ( ε ο κοσμος υμας μισε ). Condition of the first class. As it certainly does.

Ye know ( γινωσκετε ). Present active second person plural indicative of  γινωσκω or present active imperative (know), same form.

Hath hated ( μεμισηκεν ). Perfect active indicative, "has hated and still hates."

Before it hateth you ( πρωτον υμων ). Ablative case  υμων after the superlative  πρωτον as with  πρωτος μου in 1:15.

The world would love its own ( ο κοσμος αν το ιδιον εφιλε ). Conclusion of second-class condition (determined as unfulfilled), regular idiom with  αν and imperfect indicative in present time.

But because ye are not of the world ( οτ δε εκ του κοσμου ουκ εστε ). Definite and specific reason for the world's hatred of real Christians whose very existence is a reproach to the sinful world. Cf. 7:7; 17:14; 1Jo 3:13. Does the world hate us? If not, why not? Has the world become more Christian or Christians more worldly?

Remember ( μνημονευετε ). Present active imperative of  μνημονευω, old verb from  μνημων, in John again in 16:4,21. See 13:16 for this word.

If they persecuted me ( ε εμε εδιωξαν ). Condition of first class. They certainly did persecute (first aorist active of  διωκω, to chase like a wild beast like the Latin persequor, our "persecute") Jesus (5:16). They will persecute those like Jesus. Cf. 16:33; Mr 10:30; Lu 21:12; 1Co 4:12; 2Co 4:9; Ga 4:29; 2Ti 3:12 for proof that this prophecy came true. But the alternative is true and is stated by Jesus with a like condition of the first class, "if they kept my word" ( ε τον λογον μου ετηρησαν ). The world does praise the word of Jesus, but dreads to follow it.

Unto you ( εις υμας ). Like the dative  υμιν (Textus Receptus) as in the papyri and modern Greek (Robertson, Grammar, p. 594).

For my name's sake ( δια το ονομα μου ). See verse 20. See this same warning and language in Mt 10:22; Mr 13:13; Mt 24:9; Lu 21:17). There is little difference in meaning from  ενεκεν μου (Mr 13:9; Lu 21:12). Loyalty to the name of Christ will bring persecution as they will soon know (Ac 5:41; Php 1:29; 1Pe 4:14). About the world's ignorance of God see Lu 23:34; Ac 3:17; Joh 16:3.

They had not had sin ( αμαρτιαν ουκ ειχοσαν ). Conclusion of condition of second class without  αν because context makes it clear ( νυν δε ) without it (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1013). The imperfect active indicative with  -οσαν instead of  -ον (also in verse 24) as common in the LXX, and occurs in the papyri and the inscriptions and the Boeotian dialect.

Excuse ( προφασιν ). Old word (1Th 2:5) either from  προφαινω, to show forth, or  προφημ, to speak forth. Mere pretence, in John only here and verse 24.

My Father also ( κα τον πατερα μου ). Because Christ reveals God (14:9) and to dishonour Christ is to dishonour God (5:23). The coming of Christ has revealed the weight of sin on those who reject him.

They have both seen and hated ( κα εωρακασιν κα μεμισηκασιν ). Perfect active indicative of  οραω and  μισεω, permanent attitude and responsibility. The "world" and the ecclesiastics (Sanhedrin) had united in this attitude of hostility to Christ and in reality to God.

But this cometh to pass ( αλλ' ). Ellipsis in the Greek (no verb), as in 9:3; 13:18.

In their law ( εν τω νομω αυτων ). Cf. 8:17; 10:34 for this standpoint. "Law" ( νομος ) here is for the whole of Scripture as in 12:34. The allusion is to Ps 69:4 (or Ps 35:19). The hatred of the Jews toward Jesus the promised Messiah (1:11) is "part of the mysterious purpose of God" (Bernard) as shown by  ινα πληρωθη (first aorist passive subjunctive of  πληροω, to fulfil).

Without a cause ( δωρεαν ). Adverbial accusative of  δωρεα from  διδωμ, gratuitously, then unnecessarily or gratis (in two Koine tablets, Nageli) as here and Ga 2:21.

When the Comforter is come ( οταν ελθη ο παρακλητος ). Indefinite temporal clause with  οταν and the second aorist active subjunctive of  ερχομα, "whenever the Comforter comes."

Whom I will send unto you from the Father ( ον εγω πεμψω υμιν παρα του πατρος ). As in 16:7, but in 14:16,26 the Father sends at the request of or in the name of Jesus. Cf. Lu 24:49; Ac 2:33. This is the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son.

Which ( ο ). Grammatical neuter to agree with  πνευμα, and should be rendered "who" like  ο in 14:26.

Proceedeth from the Father ( παρα του πατρος εκπορευετα ). "From beside the Father" as in the preceding clause.

He ( εκεινος ). Emphatic masculine pronoun, not neuter ( εκεινο ) though following  ο.

Shall bear witness of me ( μαρτυρησε περ εμου ). Future active of  μαρτυρεω. This is the mission of the Paraclete (16:14) as it should be ours.

And ye also bear witness ( κα υμεις δε μαρτυρειτε ). Present active indicative or imperative (do ye bear witness), same form of  μαρτυρεω. "Ye also" as well as the Holy Spirit, ye also when filled with and taught by the Holy Spirit the things concerning Jesus. It is here that Christians fail most.

Have been ( εστε ). Progressive present of  ειμ, "are with me from the beginning of my ministry as in 14:9. They were chosen to be with Christ (Mr 3:14).

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