Jesus Prayed: Made Perfect in One

John 17:20-26 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, are in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me. And the glory which thou gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou have sent me, and have loved them, as thou have loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou have given me: for thou loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou have sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou have loved me may be in them, and I in them. 

‘One’ – this request for absolute unity is made five times (17:11, 17:21-23). Unity among Christians is necessary to convince the world that He had been sent by God. Is this why the world has not been convinced?

‘Are in me, and I in thee’ – the so-called doctrine of interpenetration, that is, persons entering physical into each other, is false. The Bible does speak of the Corinthians and Philippians being in Paul’s heart (2Cor. 7:3; Php. 1:7); God being in Christ (2Cor. 5:19); Christ being in God (John 14:20); God and Christ being in each other (John 14:10-11); men being in both the Father and the Son (1Jn. 2:24); men being in Christ (2Cor. 5:17); men and the Spirit being in each other (Rom. 8:9); Christ being in men (Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10); man and Christ being in each other (John 14:20); all creation being in God (Acts 17:28); and satan entering into men (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). However, these passages refer to being in union with, being consecrated to the same end – one in mind, purpose, and life. They do not teach physical entrance of one being into another. It may be best understood by a man and woman becoming one in life together, being in each other’s plans, life, etc. Hence, satan entering into Judas simply means Judas submitted to satan’s temptation to betray Jesus. He became one with satan, like men become one in spirit with God when joined to Him in consecration (1Cor. 6:17).

‘That the world may know’ – if Christians want to know how to convince the world that their religion is of God, then let them become one as God and Christ are one. Make no mistake about it – this is the secret of the world’s recognition of Christianity. See what it did in the early congregations when they were one (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 46; 4:24, 32; 5:12). James 3:16 is so true: “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”

‘Before the foundation of the world’ this is the second statement here of Christ’s preexistence – see also Micah 5:1-2; John 1:1-2; Revelation 1:8, 11; 2:8; 22:13 and Col. 1:15-18.

‘Righteous Father’ – eight facts about the Father: He is righteous (17:25); He is holy (17:11); He originates from heaven (Matt. 6:14, 26, 32); He is the Father of Mercies (2Cor. 1:3); the Father of Glory (Eph. 1:17); the Father of Spirits (Heb. 12:9); the Father of Lights (Jas. 1:17) and the Lord of Heaven (Matt. 11:25).

‘Them’ – there are 169 pronouns used in this prayer. Plural pronouns are used of God and Christ in the same sense as used of disciples, proving plurality of persons in the Godhead (17:11, 21-23). There are 65 singular personal pronouns used of Christ and 53 of the Father; 43 plural pronouns are used of God and disciples.

Jesus Prayed: Be One

John 17:9-12 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou has given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou has given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gave me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 

‘I pray for them’ – here 7 things are mentioned that can be prayed for believers: to be kept from evil (17:11, 15); unity of all believers, as God and Christ are one (17:11, 21-23); the joy of Christ fulfilled in all believers (17:13); sanctification or separation of believers to the full work of God, as He had been set apart for this work (17:17-19; 10:36); world recognition of God’s love to believers (17:24); reunion with Christ (17:24); and to see His glory (17:24).

‘And all mine are thine, and thine are mine’ – this is a claim to perfect equality with God. Any believer can say that “all mine are Thine,” but only Christ can say all “Thine are Mine.” The claim is that all of Christ was the Father’s and all of the Father, is Christ’s.

‘None of them is lost, but the son of perdition’ – none is lost, but Judas who fell from the apostleship by transgression (Acts 1:20-25; Psa. 41:9; 69:25-29). Judas was included with those whom God gave to Christ (Matt. 10:1-20; Mark 3:13-19; 6:7-13; Luke 6:12-16).

‘Lost’ the Greek word apollumi. Used in John: to lose (6:12, 39; 12:25; 17:12; 18:9); perish (3:15-16; 6:27; 10:28; 11:50); destroy (10:10); and die (18:14).

‘Son of perdition’ – literally means the son of destruction, because he was destined to destruction. Used also of the Antichrist (2Thess. 2:3), and in the Septuagint of children of transgression (Isa. 57:4). Hebrews and Greeks called anyone who had a particular destiny, quality, or trait, the child of that thing, as “children of the kingdom” (Matt. 8:12; 13:38); “children of the bridechamber” (Matt. 9:15); “children of hell” (Matt. 23:15); “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3); “children of wisdom” (Matt. 11:19; Luke 7:35); etc. Judas and the Antichrist have no relationship to each other as to parents, birth, life, death, etc. Both are simply destined to destruction by their own deeds. The Antichrist will die at the hands of Christ, while Judas hung himself (Dan. 7:11; Isa. 11:4; 2Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:20).

‘That the scripture might be fulfilled’ The 11th Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John (Psa. 41:9; 69:25-29; 109:8; Acts 1:20-25). Judas was not lost that prophecy might come to pass, but prophecy foretold the fact of his willful sin and lost state. He was lost because he refused to be saved; lost through his own avarice and stubbornness to come back to Christ even after his crime.

Jesus Prayed: Glorified

John 17:4-8 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gave me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gave me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gave them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou has given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou did send me. 

‘Glorified thee on the earth’ this is done by demonstrating the will of God in teaching, healing, and holy living.

‘Work which thou gave me to do’ this is the work of Matthew 4:23 and Acts 10:38. The work of redemption was to be finished in a few hours at the crucifixion (John 19:30). The work in heaven is still going on (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25).

‘With the glory which I had with thee before the world was’ – a plain reference to His self-emptying (see Php. 2:7) where the Greek word kenoo means to empty out, drain. It is translated “make void,” “make of none effect,” and “make of no reputation.”

Here He refers to three experiential states: Eternal pre-existence (Mic. 5:1-2; John 1:1-2; Rev. 1:8, 11; 2:8; 22:13; Col. 1:15-18); Earthly self-emptying (Luke 2:40, 52; John 1:14; Php. 2:5-11; Heb. 1:3-9; 2:9-18; 4:14-16; 5:7); and Restored glory (John 17:5; Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-23; Php. 2:9-11; 1Pet. 3:22; Heb. 12:2; Rev. 3:21).

‘Thy name’ – speak of authority in His name (John 5:43; 10:25). ‘The men which thou gave me out of the world’ These men not only included the 12, but also the 70 disciples and many others that had come to believe in Him. Note ten things about these men: Jesus has manifested the Father’s name and glory to them (17:6, 22, 23); they were the Father’s (17:6, 9); they had received and kept His Word (17:6, 8); they knew God and believe that Jesus came from the Father (17:7, 8, 25); the world hated them (17:14); they were not of the world even as Jesus was not (17:14-16); Jesus was glorified in them (17:10); the Father gave them Jesus (17:2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 24); Jesus gave them eternal life (17:2-3); those that the Father gave Jesus He has kept, and none of them was lost, except for Judas (17:12).

Jesus Prayed: Life Eternal

John 17:1-3 These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou has given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou have sent. 

These words that Jesus spoke, refers to all of John 13:32-16:33. Then the Lord prayed His longest recorded prayer, which may be divided into four sections: verses 1-5 for Himself; 9-19 for His disciples; 20-24 for all disciples and 25-26 for His disciples again.

‘Power’ the Greek word exousia meaning the authority, delegated power and the right to give eternal life to all whom God gives to Him. As He died for all, He has the power to give eternal life (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17).

Man was given power over all creation and had he remained master of all things he would have continued to live forever. Satan, evil spirits, and sin got the mastery over him and he had to die (Gen. 2:17; Heb. 2:14; 1Jn. 3:8). Christ came to bring man complete mastery over these powers so he can again live forever in union with God. Eternal correspondence and relationship with the eternal God bring eternal life.

When man passes beyond the finite and the material realm where his life does not depend upon these things he enters into the infinite, spiritual, and eternal. Because of partaking of the nature of the eternal and having perfect correspondence with the spiritual and the eternal he can live forever (John 17:3; 2Cor. 4:18; 2Pet. 1:4). Such a life in the spiritual world possesses the elements of eternity, provided that this life, correspondence, environment, and union with the eternal is not broken off by sin and rebellion thereby incurring the death penalty (Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 1:29-32; 6:16-23; 8:12-13; 1Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21).

To know God eternally is eternal life. To know Him for a time like Adam is temporary life (Gen. 2:17). Eternal life is not prolonged existence or eternal continuance of being, for all the wicked have this and will be punished in conscious existence forever (Isa. 66:22-24; Matt. 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-49; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:10-15; 21:8). It is not merely eternal existence, but eternal knowledge of God in eternal and perfect correspondence and perfect, eternal, and infinite environment. This life is only in God’s Son (1Jn. 5:11-12). Thus everlasting life is not merely an everlasting existence.

This scientific proof of the possibility of eternal life through eternal correspondence with God also proves the possibility of the opposite – eternal death or separation from God because of the lack of correspondence with God. If eternal life is only in God’s Son, then all who are not in Christ do not have eternal life, even though they will continue to exist forever. Furthermore, those who do not continue abiding in Christ lose true eternal life.

Just as anything in nature lives to the extent and as long as it continues in the environment producing its life or keeping it from dying, so the believer lives according to his knowledge. Like all things in nature die when they cease to have correspondence with and utilize the environment which keeps them alive, so the believer dies and is separated from God when he ceases to live in God and appropriate by faith the benefits provided him on the grounds of obedience to the gospel (John 6:27; 10:1-28; 15:1-8). Nothing in nature is given unqualified and unconditional life in itself, and nothing in nature is ever blessed with any degree of life without meeting the conditions upon which that life is given and maintained. The believer also must meet the conditions of maintaining life in God and in Christ, according to Scripture, if he is to live forever.

‘Know thee’ Knowing God is eternal life. This is why knowledge is stressed in Scripture. The words know, knowledge, known, etc. are found 1,401 times in the Bible. All Scripture centres around the idea of knowing God and conforming to His eternal will. Ignorance of Him and refusal to know and believe in Him are condemned many times. This is what will damn the soul.

Into Joy

John 16:16-24 A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he said unto us, A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he said, A little while? we cannot tell what he said. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do you enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remember no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And you now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man take from you. And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name: ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full. 

‘A little while’ He was with them for one more day and then crucified, where He remained dead for 3 whole days. Then they saw Him for 40 more days and no more after that (Matt. 12:40; Acts 1:3, 11). As He said to the Jews (John 7:34; 8:21), He said unto the disciples: when He finally did go they couldn’t follow, but He will come back for them [and us] later (John 13:36; 14:1-3) at the time of the Rapture.

‘Because I go to the Father’ Three times Jesus said that He was not going to be there to continue His works, so He made full provision for believers to do them (John 14:12-17, 26; 15:7; Matt. 3:11; 17:20; Luke 11:13; 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; 38-39); He sends the Holy Spirit to take His place and convince the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (16:8-11) and He was going to His Father, so the disciples will not be able to see Him until He comes again.

‘A woman when she is in travail has sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remember no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.’ This is a literal illustration picturing the sorrow and joy of the disciples in His death and resurrection.

‘In that day’ the day when Jesus went back to the Father they shall ask Him nothing, but they shall ask the Father in Jesus name (John 14:1-3, 12, 19-20; 16:5, 10, 16, 23-27).

‘Whatsoever you shall ask’ again assuring no limitations to what believers may ask and receive within the bounds of the promises.

‘In my name’ this repeats the doctrine of the Christian’s power of attorney and teaches agency in divine affairs. Legally, any person capable of free and intelligent action may act as an agent. A lunatic, imbecile, an infant, or anyone incapable of free and intelligent action cannot act as an agent. The power of attorney means the legal and written authority to transact business for another. One may be a general agent to represent another in all of his business, or a special agent who is authorized to do some specific work, or transact some special business. The agent can act with all authority within the bounds of the legal authorization as much as the one who gave him this authority. All believers have full, legal, redemptive, gospel, blood-bought, promised, and family rights to use the name of Jesus.

Free, unlimited, and unqualified use of His name is the body’s deposit. Checks will be honoured in the amount signed with a steady and unwavering hand (Jas. 1:5-8).

‘Hitherto have you asked nothing in my name’ up until then the disciples have not asked anything in Jesus name for He was with them and they could ask Him personally; but after He left, they had to ask the Father in Jesus name.

‘Ask, and you shall receive’ Do not be afraid to ask – simply ask in faith and you shall receive. Asking is not limited to salvation, but “whatsoever,” “anything,” and “all things” will be given in Jesus name (Matt. 17:20; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-15; 15:16).

‘That your joy may be full’ the purpose of answering prayer is to help you and to confirm the infinite Fatherhood of God (Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:9-13; Jas. 1:17), so do not hesitate to ask any material, physical, or spiritual blessing – any need for body, soul, or spirit – for no good thing will He withhold from you (Psa. 23:1; 34:9-10; 84:11; 91:1-12; Matt. 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; John 14:12-15).

The Work of the Holy Spirit

John 16:8-15 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and you see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father has are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you. 

There are 12 offices of the Holy Spirit mentioned in the gospel of John: He is the Begetter of the new birth (3:3, 5); the Life-giver (6:63; Rom. 8:11); the Imparter of power (7:37-39; 14:12-17; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8); the Eternal Comforter or Helper (14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7); the Teacher of Truth (14:17, 26; 15:26; 16:13; 1Jn. 2:20-27); the Reminder of all truth (14:26); the Guide into all truth (16:13); the Revealer of Christ (16:13-15); the Revealer of events (16:13); the Glorifier of Christ (16:14); the Chief Witness for Christ (15:26; 16:13-15; Acts 1:8) and the Convincer of sin, righteousness, and judgment (16:8).

‘Reprove’ is the Greek word elengcho which means to convince, convict, refute, expose, to bring to shame the person reproved. It is found 17 times and translated “convince” (John 8:46; 1Cor. 14:24; Tit. 1:9; Jas. 2:9); “convict” (John 8:9); “tell one’s fault” (Matt. 18:15); “reprove” (Luke 3:19; John 3:20; Eph. 5:11, 13; 2Tim. 4:2); “rebuke” (1Tim. 5:20; Tit. 1:13; 2:15; Heb. 12:5; Jude 1:15; Rev.3:19).

‘The world of sin, because they believe not on me’ World = all men, not only the Jews; Of sin: that unbelief is the foundation of sin and the source of sinfulness that will damn men (Mark 16:16; Luke 8:13; John 3:16-20, 36; 5:24, 38; 8:24; 10:26).

‘Of righteousness’ that man’s righteousness is useless (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 10:3); that Christ is our righteousness (1Cor. 1:30); and that in Him alone and by faith in His atonement can we be righteous (Rom. 3:22-25; 4:1-22; 2Cor. 5:14-21).

Because Jesus went to His Father, and the disciples saw Him no more, the Holy Spirit will them [and all men] in the Truth [Christ = gospel].

‘Of judgment’ that men who believe in Christ will escape the judgment of damnation (John 3:15-20; 5:24); that all who refuse to believe will be damned with satan (Matt. 25:41; John 3:36; Rev. 20:11-15; 21:8).

‘Because the prince of this world is judged’ All unbelievers are assured of judgment because their master has already been defeated on the cross and is helpless to avert his own doom much less theirs (John 12:31; Col. 2:14-17; Rom. 16:20; Rev. 20:10-15).

‘Bear’ the Greek word bastazo which means to carry or bear what is burdensome, not able to understand a matter or receive it calmly (John 19:17; Acts 15:10; Gal. 6:2, 5). It was for the best that Jesus did not tell the disciples that the whole Mosaic system must be set aside; that the sabbath and Jewish festivals will be abolished; that Gentiles must be equal members of the body of Christ; and that many cherished dreams of them about what the Messiah will do when He returns, will not come to pass in their time. He revealed those things to them after the Holy Spirit came (16:13-15).

The Hatred of the World

John 15:18-25 If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hate you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hate me hate my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 

The 36th New Testament prophecy in John [vv.18-21] is fulfilled.

‘You were of the world, the world would love his own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world’ Three times Christ testifies this of His disciples (John 15:19; 17:14-16).

Expect the world’s hatred because: Jesus predicted it; the world hates reproof (John 3:19). Its evils are exposed by true Christian living (Rom. 12:2; Tit. 2:11-12). Its darkness is exposed by Christian light (John 3:18-20; Php. 2:15). It is blind (2Cor. 4:4). Christians are not of it (John 17:14-16). It is at war with Christians (John 16:33; Eph. 6:12; 1Jn. 5:4). It has natural enmity against God (Jas. 4:4; Mat. 18:7). Christians hate its ways (1Jn. 2:15-17). Christians live separated from it (Jas. 1:27; Rom. 12:2; 2Pet. 2:20). It is ignorant of Christian experience (Gal. 2:20; 2Cor. 5:17). It is ignorant of God.

‘For my name’s sake’ on account of Christ or His authority (Acts 4:7, 17-18; 5:40-41; 9:14-16, 21).

‘Sent me’ Jesus claimed that the Father sent Him 43 times in John. Only 4 times is it referred to in the other gospels.

If Jesus had not come and proved to them beyond doubt that He was the Messiah they would not have had the sin of rejecting Him, but now they have no excuse for this sin. They willfully hate both Jesus and His Father (John 15:22-24).

‘They hated me without a cause.’ The 10th Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John (Psa. 35:19; 69:4; comp. Psa. 109:3; 119:161).

Commandments

John 15:11-17 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant know not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that you love one another. 

‘That your joy might be full’ Getting complete answers to prayer is associated with this idea in John 16:24. Would not joy be full if one lived in perfect obedience to God as did Christ? Contrast “my joy” (John 15:11; 17:13) with “your joy” (John 15:11; 16:22, 24). The conditions of joy and peace (John 14:27) are both based upon perfect obedience (John 15:9-14).

‘This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.’ Christ’s commandment to us is the same as His Father’s commandment to Him. We must love one another to the extent that He loves us. He laid down His life for us; we must lay down our lives for each other.

‘If you do whatsoever I command you’ If we obey we are His friends; but if we do not obey we are not His friends.

‘Henceforth I call you not servants’ He did not make us bondslaves. He made us full partners and His personal representatives on earth. We are to represent Him and reproduce His works as He represented God and did His works (John 14:12; 17:18; 20:21-23). We will share equally with Christ in His inheritance if we share in sufferings and work (Rom. 8:17). We are to share with Him all things the Father has made known to Him.

‘Chosen you, and ordained you’ we were chosen and ordained to go and bring forth fruit, produce eternal works and get an answer to every prayer.

True ministers of the Word must be united [of one mind] to the vine, chosen by God to do the work and ordained for the work: Laborers to bring forth fruit, not idlers (John 6:27). Goers to the work, not waiters for the work (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 4:35-38; 16:15-20; Acts1:4-8). Preservers of their fruit, not destroyers of it (John 6:27). Prayers that get results. Lovers of all men (1Jn. 3:4-18; 1Cor. 13:1-13).

Abide in Me

John 15:7-10 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue you in my love. If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 

‘If you abide in me, and my words abide in you’ Note the conditions of this chapter (John 15:6, 10, 18-20, 22, 24).

‘Ask what you will’ the promise is “ask what you will,” plainly teaching that answered prayer is up to the child of God as to what he wants. This is in perfect harmony with the promises of both testaments. A true Christian can get what he wants as well as what he needs (Psa. 23:1; 34:9-10; 84:11; Matt. 7:7-11; 17:20; 18:18-20; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; John 14:12-15; 16:23-26; Eph. 3:20; Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:5-8; 1Jn. 3:21-22; 5:14-15). A prayer saying, “If it be Thy will” concerning anything God has already promised, and therefore has already made it clear that it is His will (providing we ask in faith, nothing wavering), is really a prayer of unbelief. It is like saying, “I know You have already promised and You have made it very clear by Your Word that it is Your will, but do You really mean what You say? We insult God by constantly questioning His will that is already revealed by His word. It is no less insulting to Him than it would be to a human friend who had promised something and we continued to question him about his will in the matter.

Branches must not only remain in Christ but must have His words abiding in them or prayers will not be answered. God can only be glorified by the branches when they remain in Christ and produce much fruit.

‘So have I loved you’ The Father heard Him always, so Christ promised to answer all prayers prayed in His name (John 14:12-15; 16:23-26).

‘Keep my commandments’ is found 359 times in Scriptures and over half of these most certainly command men to keep the commandments of God. This is not only true of the Old Testament, but of the New Testament. Therefore, Christians are under obligation to obey the gospel throughout life, not only during one brief act of faith.

‘Even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love’ Emphasizing to what extent one must render obedience to God by keeping His commandments. If we are to be as righteous as He was in the world (John 17:14-16; 1Jn. 2:29; 3:7-10; 4:17; 5:1-5, 18), then nothing short of complete obedience must be rendered. It is impossible to retain a sense of pardoning grace without continuing in obedient grace.

The True Vine

John 15:1-6  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bear not fruit he take away: and every branch that bear fruit, he purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abide in me, and I in him, the same bring forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 

 ‘True vine’ Israel turned out to be a false vine producing wild grapes (Isa. 5:1-7). Christ as the true vine brings forth good fruit.

‘Every branch in me that bear not fruit he take away: and every branch that bear fruit, he purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit.’ Every believer in Christ is referred to by this illustration or it is meaningless. If the believer is fruitful he is purged to produce more fruit. If he is fruitless he is taken away or removed from being part of the vine. The Father does this, not man. No man is able to pluck one branch from God’s hands, but if we say that God cannot cut off any branch that is fruitless, then we limit God and make the dead, fruitless, and useless branches to be more powerful than He is. To take this position would be like saying to the vinedresser that it would be unlawful to prune the vine and remove the dead branches. No man can cut off any branch that is not actually in the vine. It is absurd and contrary to the letter and spirit of the parable here to talk about branches that are cut off as merely professing to be branches. If the idea here is only professed union of the vine and branches then there could only be a professed cutting off and burning; so the passage would mean nothing because it would have said nothing to any purpose.

God is the husbandman and Christ is the vine and believers are the branches in Christ. Every fruitless branch “in me” is cut off, withered, gathered with other dead branches and cast into the fire and burned. Every fruitful branch “in me” is purged that it might be more fruitful. Every branch “in me” is clean (pure in heart by the Word if walking in the light, Matt. 5:8; Eph. 5:26; John 3:5; Jas. 1:18; 1Pet. 1:23; 1Jn. 1:7). Branches must “abide in” Christ and Christ in them to produce fruit. The branch is helpless to produce fruit of itself. Christ is helpless to produce fruit through the branch unless it remains in Him. Branches must abide in Christ or be cut off and burned.

‘Now you are’ Now – not, “you are going to be.” The cleanliness referred to here was a present experience before the cross and before Pentecost. They were clean because of the Word that was spoken by Christ that washed them (Isa. 1:18).

‘Clean’ the Greek word katharos means pure, clean from anything that soils or corrupts. Real heart purity is meant (Matt. 5:8).

‘Abide’ the Greek word meno meaning remain, continue, dwell, and abide. This is a command to remain in Christ. The reason is given here as not being able to bear fruit otherwise. Without following in His example and footsteps when He lived on earth, one cannot remain in Him (1 Pet. 2:21-23).