“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“- John 15:4
In John 15 Jesus describes Himself as being like a vine, with us being the branches, and just as the branch of a vine can only bear fruit if it remains attached to the vine, so are we to remain attached to Him so that we too can live fruitful lives.
We see this in today’s verse, where Jesus tells us to ‘remain in Him as He remains in us’. But what does this really mean? How are we to ‘remain’ in Him?
The Greek word here is ménō which means to remain in, to stay, to dwell, to abide. It also means to continue in, which indicates that the intention is of a permanent, indwelling relationship, where we remain attached to Him, just as He remains attached to us!
‘Remain’ speaks of how we live, of our obedience to doing and following what Jesus says, of the submission of our will to His will, of our desiring what He wants. However, the idea behind this is not of a forced or coerced relationship, but of a mutual, loving, abiding relationship. It’s what we see in Song of Solomon 6:3 ‘I am my beloved’s, And my beloved is mine’.
The result of us abiding or remaining in Jesus like this, which we read in the subsequent verses, is that we will live fruitful lives. We will have His joy in us, causing our joy to be full. His love in us, enabling us to love as He loves. Our prayers being answered.
And then Jesus says the most remarkable thing to us, that as we remain in Him, ‘He no longer calls us servants but friends’ – John 15:15. How incredible is that, that the Son of God would call us His friends!
So my encouragement to us all today is that the closeness we feel to God during these 21 days of prayer and fasting would not be transient, but that as we progress through the rest of this year and beyond, that we would keep this intensity alive. That just as the vinedresser has to
continue to work at keeping his vine healthy so it remains fruitful, that we too will we work on our relationship with Jesus, keeping Him at the centre of every area of our lives. That way we will live the fruitful lives that He intends for each and every one of us.
– Dr Dermot Murphy