The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
John 15:3 should be a tremendous encouragement to Christ’s people. In it, Jesus, immediately after speaking about how dead wood is cleaned off of branches, tells his disciples that they are clean already. They don’t have to worry about whether they are genuine disciples of Christ. They don’t have to worry about whether or not Jesus has purified them. They are clean. All they need to do is to remain in him.
The natural result of remaining in Christ, according to verse five, is that the Christian will bear fruit. Again, it is common for Christians to be taught that they need to get busy bearing fruit or they might not be Jesus’ people after all. But Jesus doesn’t give a command. It wouldn’t be any good. As an example, my command to my apple tree to give me apples rather than walnuts will have no influence on the tree. It will bear the fruit it is meant to bear. Christians bear the fruit of the Spirit. That’s what their nature brings forth.
Is there a warning in this passage? Certainly. In verse six we read that if someone doesn’t remain in Jesus, just like a useless branch, there is cutting off and burning up. This is a warning to everyone. However, the warning is in between statements which should lead us to comfort and security. The big message of John 15 is comfort. The Christian can know that God, the good gardener, is going about his business, caring for his vineyard.
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