5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 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. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. JOHN 15:5-8
Chapter CONTEXT from Matthew Henry Complete Commentary: It is generally agreed that Christ’s discourse in this and the next chapter was at the close of the last supper, the night in which he was betrayed, and it is a continued discourse, not interrupted as that in the foregoing chapter was; and what he chooses to discourse of is very pertinent to the present sad occasion of a farewell sermon. Now that he was about to leave them, I. They would be tempted to leave him, and return to Moses again; and therefore he tells them how necessary it was that they should by faith adhere to him and abide in him. II. They would be tempted to grow strange one to another; and therefore he presses it upon them to love one another, and to keep up that communion when he was gone which had hitherto been their comfort. III. They would be tempted to shrink from their apostleship when they met with hardships; and therefore he prepared them to bear the shock of the world’s ill will. There are four words to which his discourse in this chapter may be reduced; 1. Fruit (v. 1-8). 2. Love (v. 9-17). 3. Hatred (v. 18-25). The Comforter (v. 26, 27).
John at the beginning of the chapter records the words of Jesus using an analogy or metaphor of the vineyard. Our text for today begins in v.5 with Jesus declaring He is the vine and we (true believers) the branches. The vine is the source of all nutrition for the growth of branches. The branches must abide (stay attached) to the vine to bear fruit (mature as Christians). A dead branch is one not bearing fruit and eventually will detach, wither, and die. This later I personally think this is an excellent description of all those “believers” living outside the church today.
The last doctrinal teaching here by Jesus is one often misunderstood; for without me ye can do nothing. Many have taken this and twisted it to the opposite meaning of, with Christ I can do anything. They rely heavily upon Matthew 19:26 to support this But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Unfortunately, both are grossly taken out of context. Matthew 19 strictly speaks of Salvation and our text for Today is strictly speaking about bearing Spiritual fruit for the Kingdom of God. Note how clear the statement is for without me ye can do nothing! It is impossible for mankind apart from Christ to do ANYTHING good for the kingdom of God of his or her own will. As ALWAYS, context is extremely important in Bible study.