It would be understandable to read the first seventeen verses of John fifteen and derive that the emphasis of Jesus’ message is  fruit bearing. That is after all the purpose of the branches and why the disciples were chosen and appointed; to bear fruit and not just a little and not short lived. And it is evident from the passage that the desired fruit is love. While bearing the fruit of love is the expected outcome of the pericope, it is not the exhortation being given by Jesus (the Vine). Many sincere disciples read the analogy and determine to work harder than ever at being more loving and bearing more fruit only to discover it is an insurmountable task. We can always be more loving and bear more fruit. Am I good enough yet? No, the imperative is not love or fruit bearing but abiding. Eleven times in seventeen verses the Vine implores the branches to abide. The natural outcome of abiding in the vine is fruit. As great as our desire may be to bear good fruit, no effort on our own can produce it. It is the Vine who works in us to will and to produce (Philippians 2:13). As much as we may understand that we are commanded to love, there are some people we will never love unless the life of the Vine flows in us. It should be self evident: cut off from the vine the branch can do nothing.


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