Books of the Book: John

The Vine and the Branches

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Deyvy Rodriguez & Jon Paulien


Series Code: JBOTB

Program Code: JBOTB00020A

00:21 Hello, friends and welcome back
00:22 to this program "Books of the Book."
00:25 My name is Deyvy Rodriquez
00:26 and I am so happy that you can take this time
00:28 and study the Word of God with us.
00:31 If you have a Bible or if you don't,
00:32 go ahead and grab it and turn your pages with us
00:37 in the Gospel of John and we are in Chapter 15.
00:41 With us is Dr. Jon Paulien and my name is Deyvy Rodriquez,
00:45 together we will be studying this gospel,
00:47 at least portion of it in this program.
00:49 And Dr. Paulien is a Bible scholar
00:52 and he comes all the way from Loma Linda, California.
00:55 And again, Dr. Paulien,
00:57 I have been blessed to study this gospel
01:00 and you call it a spiritual gospel.
01:02 And as I continue to learn more and more
01:05 I understand why its a spiritual because you say that
01:07 some of these characters have a more of a parable.
01:12 And so tell us before we get into the chapter,
01:15 you where or what do you do at Loma Linda?
01:20 I am the dean of the School of Religion
01:22 and so our mission is to integrate religion
01:27 into all the different curricula in the school,
01:30 medicine, dentistry, pharmacy
01:33 and that's a very creative and unique way of doing religion
01:38 integrating it into science or so.
01:40 It's quite a challenge but it's also very exciting.
01:43 And you said earlier that you are responsible
01:45 of organizing the religion classes
01:49 so that each student of Loma Linda University
01:53 will take at least some religion courses.
01:57 At least one class every year.
01:59 Okay. Yeah.
02:00 So we have about 5,000 different students
02:04 taking classes from us in any given year.
02:06 Wow. All right.
02:07 Well, we are in Chapter 15.
02:10 Where are we in this chapter because in previous one
02:14 they were-- Jesus was giving discourse in the upper room
02:18 but now we are in Chapter 15. Right.
02:21 Well, Chapters 13 through 17 are all connected narrative.
02:27 It starts with the foot washing and then after Judas leaves,
02:32 Jesus begins to talk to the disciples,
02:34 does a little bit of debate back and forth.
02:37 So through Chapter 14, Jesus is discussing with the disciples
02:42 but then at the end of Chapter 14,
02:45 there's an interesting marker.
02:47 If you go to the very last verse,
02:49 the very last part of the verse, 14:31,
02:53 Jesus says, "Come now, let us leave."
02:57 And so that sounds like they are gonna get up and go.
03:01 But then in Chapter 15, He continues talking
03:06 and you're saying, well, are they talking on the way?
03:09 Is this somewhere else?
03:11 But then you get to Chapter 18
03:14 which is the end of this farewell discourse part of John.
03:18 In 18:1, it says, "When he had finished praying,
03:23 Jesus left with His disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley.
03:29 On the other side there was an olive grove,
03:31 and He and His disciples went into it."
03:34 So Chapters 15, 16 and 17 which includes a long prayerof Jesus,
03:38 none of that is happening in Gethsemane,
03:41 rather it's happening probably still in the upper room
03:45 and it's after Jesus prays in Chapter 17.
03:49 Then they go out and go off to there.
03:53 Now you notice He doesn't say Gethsemane,
03:55 just says an olive grove and that's where they went to.
03:59 So at the end of Chapter 14,
04:01 it seems like they get up from the table,
04:04 they are ready to go but like people often do,
04:07 you get up to leave then you kind of linger
04:09 and talk some more and one thing leads to another
04:11 and one story leads to another and couple of hours can go by.
04:15 That seems to be what has happened here.
04:17 After all, if the disciples have the sense
04:19 and Jesus has the sense
04:20 this is their last calm meeting together,
04:24 they kind of doesn't want to make it last as long as possible
04:27 even though it's late at night by now, they lingered there.
04:30 So Chapter 15 really continues on Chapter 14,
04:35 except that in Chapter 14 there's a lot of back and forth.
04:39 Disciples raise objections, ask questions, make comments
04:42 and Jesus is going back and forth with them.
04:46 We didn't point any of that out in our last program
04:50 but if you read the chapter you will see it.
04:53 One another thing we didn't do in Chapter 14
04:55 is note the passages about the Holy Spirit.
04:59 In 14, 15 and 16 are some of the strongest mentions
05:03 of the Holy Spirit in the entire New Testament.
05:06 So what we are going to do
05:08 is do Chapters 14, 15 and 16 separately
05:12 and then we gonna go back and do a whole program
05:15 just on the Holy Spirit in the Gospel of John.
05:18 Okay. So where are we reading?
05:20 I think we should go to Chapter 15 then
05:23 and we can read verses 1 through 8.
05:27 "I am the true vine,
05:28 and My Father is the vinedresser.
05:31 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away,
05:35 and every branch that bears fruit He prunes,
05:38 that it may bear more fruit.
05:40 You are already clean because of the word
05:42 which I have spoken to you.
05:44 Abide in Me, and I in you.
05:46 As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
05:48 unless it abides in the vine, neither can you,
05:51 unless you abide in Me.
05:54 I am the vine, you are the branches.
05:56 He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit,
05:59 for without Me you can do nothing.
06:02 If anyone does not abide in Me,
06:04 he is cast out as a branch and is withered,
06:07 and they gather them and throw them into the fire,
06:10 and they are burned.
06:11 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,
06:14 you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
06:18 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit,
06:22 so you will be My disciples."
06:24 So here we have an analogy.
06:26 As we've mentioned many times
06:28 the Gospel of John doesn't have parables
06:31 in the way that Matthew, Mark and Luke do
06:34 but the closest you get to a parable is may be right here.
06:37 This analogy we could call it of the vine and the branches.
06:43 Grape vine basically has two uses.
06:47 You can use it to produce food and drink,
06:49 the grapes and juice and wine or you can use it for fire.
06:55 You see, the branches of a dead vine
06:58 can be use to start a fire and keep people warm.
07:01 So there's two uses.
07:03 Now in an analogy like this the food and drink
07:07 would be positive if you stay in Jesus.
07:11 You know, if you remain connected to the vine,
07:13 the fruit would be produced as productive,
07:16 this is a positive thing.
07:18 But if you don't,
07:19 if you get separated from the vine, you dry out
07:21 and all that you're good for is the fire now to be used as fuel.
07:26 So the fuel would be negative type of approach here.
07:30 So Jesus uses an analogy. He's not the first to do this.
07:35 Plenty of times in the Old Testament
07:37 you have analogies of Israel as a vine.
07:41 The interesting thing is in the Old Testament
07:43 all of those analogies are negative.
07:46 There's never a positive thing.
07:48 So when Jesus brings this out,
07:51 probably the readers are wondering,
07:53 you know, where is the dark side
07:55 and the dark side of course is the implied threat
07:58 that if they don't stay connected to Jesus,
08:01 they will end up useless and be destroyed.
08:06 Now most Christians through the years have come to this
08:12 and thought of themselves as the branches.
08:16 I think that's a helpful devotional approach to this text
08:19 the idea of remaining connected to Jesus.
08:23 But as you look at this
08:25 from the perspective of the original disciples,
08:29 Jesus isn't talking directly to us,
08:32 He is talking to His disciples and He's saying,
08:35 "If you remain in Me, you will bear much fruit."
08:39 And in the light of the whole second generation
08:42 theology of the Gospel of John this becomes significant.
08:45 We connect to Jesus through the disciples.
08:48 Unlike the disciples we don't have
08:50 the direct connection with Jesus.
08:52 We don't see Him.
08:53 We don't hear Him.
08:55 We don't touch Him.
08:56 So we have our connection through the disciples
09:00 and we connect to the disciples through the word.
09:03 So these words, the gospels,
09:05 the Gospel of John is our connection to the disciples
09:09 and through them to Jesus.
09:11 So when He says, "I am the vine,
09:13 you are the branches if you remain in Me,
09:15 you will bring forth much fruit."
09:18 We would be the fruit that is recognized here.
09:21 You mean that we would be the fruits of the disciples.
09:24 Of the disciples' efforts, yeah.
09:26 Disciples witnessing through what they learned of Jesus
09:29 writing these things down etcetera.
09:31 Now we were talking a little bit earlier,
09:33 you were saying but you know, if you or someone were preaching
09:37 or holding a class and you bring this up
09:40 that will make them very uncomfortable and so on,
09:43 feel like you are attacking them.
09:44 I just want to tell you,
09:45 devotional readings are perfectly fine.
09:49 There's nothing wrong with the devotional reading
09:51 because I-- and I don't bring my scholarship to church
09:55 or to class of people who are doing devotional studies.
10:00 Devotional study is when you sit down with the word
10:03 and you lay yourself before God
10:04 and say, God, what do You want to say to me today? Okay.
10:09 And the Holy Spirit can use any turn of phrase in the Bible
10:12 to say something to me that I need to hear.
10:16 The problem is when the only things
10:20 we get out of the Bible are devotional readings,
10:23 we tend to end up in the same place all the time.
10:26 In another words we only learn from the Bible
10:27 what we already know.
10:29 The beauty of an exegetical reading
10:31 like we've been doing together here
10:33 is that the Bible takes you where it wants to go, you see.
10:38 You are not limited to what you knew before
10:40 but you can learn new things from the Bible
10:42 because the exegetical approach
10:44 points you to things that you didn't see before.
10:46 And when we realize that the vine and the branches
10:49 actually had a different use originally,
10:52 it gives us an added understanding that is helpful.
10:56 And it's applicable if I read the verse,
10:58 you know, if I abide in Christ then,
11:01 you know, I am the branch, He is the vine.
11:04 Without Christ I personally can do nothing. Right.
11:07 And that would still be applicable to me.
11:10 And then the fruits would be like the fruits of the spirit.
11:12 If you stay close to Christ then you will be a better person.
11:16 And that's perfectly fine.
11:18 Even if that wasn't Jesus' original intention
11:20 or the disciple's original understanding it works well.
11:24 And God has used that reading very powerfully
11:27 but when we take the second look to this gospel
11:31 that is always taking us
11:32 a little bit different place than we expected.
11:34 We can see that this gives
11:37 a powerful message to the second generation.
11:40 People who didn't have the kind of direct connection with Jesus.
11:44 How do you connect with Jesus?
11:46 To a lot of people you say, "Well, remain in Jesus."
11:50 Okay. What does that mean?
11:53 How do I do that, you know?
11:55 Where is He that I can remain in Him?
11:57 And when people really try to get practical
12:01 it becomes difficult but when you read it
12:04 this way you realize, now, we remain in Jesus
12:07 by connecting to the disciples
12:09 through the words that they left behind.
12:11 We remain in Jesus by studying His words
12:14 and by obeying them, by carrying them out.
12:17 And that's what you see in verses 9 and 10.
12:20 If you would take a look.
12:23 "As the Father loved Me, I have also loved you,
12:26 abide in My love.
12:28 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love,
12:31 just as I have kept My Father's commandments
12:34 and abide in His love."
12:36 So Jesus connects to the father in this loving relationship.
12:39 We have a loving relationship with Him
12:42 through hearing His words and obeying what He says.
12:45 So this remaining in Jesus is not something we can do
12:49 like you and I are talking to each other here.
12:51 You know, we can touch each other, right?
12:53 Just like that. Okay.
12:55 I know you are there. This is real.
12:57 I can get my head around this very easily
13:01 but to remain in Jesus, someone I've never seen,
13:03 heard or touched, that's a bit tougher.
13:06 And this gives us a practical idea that
13:09 now we remain in Jesus by staying connected to these words
13:13 so as we study these words,
13:15 as we do it what we are doing right here,
13:16 we are connecting to Jesus in a very real way.
13:19 And the Apostle John even said what we have seen
13:23 and what we have heard this we preach to you.
13:26 So it is that you are saying that its through the testimonies
13:29 of that first generation-- Exactly.
13:31 Who are disciples who did see Jesus, they saw His miracles.
13:36 It is through their testimony
13:38 that we are then the fruit of that testimony.
13:42 Beautifully put. Beautifully--
13:43 Is that how I understand it? Absolutely.
13:45 See, that's I think exactly what John is saying
13:48 that through this book we are connected
13:50 to the testimony of the disciples
13:52 who had a living, physical, real connection with Jesus.
13:56 And that relationship, our relationship,
13:58 the one we have with Jesus
14:00 and the relationship the disciples had with Jesus
14:03 would still be the same one.
14:04 It's the same in quality but it takes place in a different way.
14:09 We don't have that advantage of having that personal,
14:12 direct physical relationship with Jesus
14:15 instead we relate to Him through the words that are here.
14:20 And through the Holy Spirit, the quality of that relationship
14:23 is as good and often even better
14:25 than the one they could have with Him in the flesh.
14:29 Well, friends we are going to continue on this gospel,
14:32 again we are in Chapter 15,
14:34 so stay with us after this break.


Revised 2014-12-17