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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

John 15

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-27

John 15. The Vine.—The relation of the following chapters to 14 has been discussed. The Parœmia, or parable-like discourse, reminds us of the parable or metaphor of the Good Shepherd in ch. 10. Two thoughts are prominent here, the pruning needed to get rid of useless branches and to ensure the fruitfulness of the rest, and the intimate union between Christ and His disciples, symbolised by the relation of the branches to the vine. We must compare the OT teaching which represents Israel as the Vine. Christ is in the spiritual sphere what the vine stands for in nature, in respect of human necessity. He is the source of spiritual strength which satisfies men's needs. As always, He is subordinate to the Father. The vinedresser cuts out useless branches, pruning the rest to make them bear more fruit. So the Father has "glorified" the Son by cutting out the traitor. Christ's teaching, which is of the Father, has pruned the rest, if they are true to Him, abiding in Him as the branches in the vine. John 15:5 repeats and emphasizes the teaching already given. Similarly John 15:6 emphasizes the traitor's fate. John 15:7 states the results of abiding union. If they abide in Him, letting His teaching guide their lives throughout, their prayers will obtain their requests, for they will be His. The Father is glorified in their fruitfulness, which shows that they are true disciples. This is possible if they abide in His love, which obedience will enable them to do, even as His obedience has kept Him in the Father's love. His aim in what He has said is to make it possible for them to feel the joy which He Himself feels, and to share it in full. The sum of the whole matter is love, love for each other like His for them. The highest test of love is that a man should risk his life for his friends, and "friends" their love will make them. When once they have learned the love which issues in obedience they are no longer as slaves, ignorant of their Lord's aim and purpose, but friends to whom He can make known all that His Father sent Him to teach and do. [Cf. Philo on Genesis 18:17 : "The Lord is not a despot. The wise man is God's friend rather than His slave."—A. J. G.] They have not chosen Him, to carry out their ideas of what Messiah should do, but He has chosen them to carry out His work, and bring it to a successful and permanent issue. And whatever they ask God in His name, as His accredited messengers, the things that they know He Himself would ask, God will give them. Then (John 15:17) the great command is reiterated, and they are reminded that obedience will cost them dear. They must not be surprised at the hatred of the world. It was first poured out on Himself. The world will love only its own. Those who are not of it, but chosen out by Him to be not "of it," must, of course, incur its hate. Let them remember what He had said. The slave is not above his lord. If He was persecuted, they must expect the same. On the other hand, those who received His message will listen to theirs. The world will treat them harshly because of His Name, because of what He is and what the disciples must be in consequence. For the men of the world have not that intuitive knowledge of what is good and Godlike which makes good men welcome it at once when they see it. After His teaching they cannot plead ignorance, so they have no excuse for their sin. Their hatred of Him shows that they hate God. They have had their full opportunity, the teaching not only of His words but of His works as well. And they have given their answer, hatred of Him and of His Father. Yet God's plan takes account of all this. The Scripture must be fulfilled, "They hated me without a cause" (Psalms 35:19). And whatever the world has in store for the disciples, the truth will prevail and become known. The Paraclete, whom He will send from the Father (contrast John 14:16; John 14:26, where the Father sends the Paraclete in Christ's name) will bear witness to Christ. And they too are witness-bearers, for they have shared His company from the beginning of His work, and can speak from knowledge.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on John 15:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/john-15.html. 1919.

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