The Fourfold Gospel
Verse 1-2I am the true vine1
, and my Father is the husbandman2
- I am the true vine. The use of the word "true" shows that Jesus refers to a typical vine. The Jewish people had been such a vine
(Psalms 80:8-16; Isaiah 5:1; Jeremiah 2:21). Yet it was but "a figure of the true"
- And my Father is the husbandman. God had now in Christ planted the true vine, and would dissever and cast off all that did not derive life
from him, and would prune all that did. This vital connection with
Christ is set forth by Paul under the figure of a body and its head
(Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 2:19). The fact that Jesus had just given them the
fruit of the vine to drink as the symbol of his blood made the
transition to this figure easy and natural, for the branches derive
their juices from the vine.
Verse 3Already ye are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto you1
- Already ye are clean because of the word which I have spoken unto you. It is God in Christ who cleanses the soul, but this cleansing
is effected through hearing, believing, and obeying the Word. The Word
tells us what to do that we may be cleansed and saved (Ephesians 5:26
Verse 6Abide in me, and I in you1
. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me.
- Abide in me, and I in you, etc. The whole parable is intended to teach us Christ's relationships. (1) Toward the Father--Husbandman and
Vine. (2) Toward man--Vine and branches (3) Toward good works--Vine,
branches, and fruit. (4) The negative condition, or "lack" of
relationship--the Vine, the dissevered branches, the fire.
Verse 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will1
, and it shall be done unto you.
- If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Though this verse stands somewhat
in contrast to the warning in John 15:6, it is rather a statement of
causation than a promise of reward. If by communion and the study of
the word we abide in Christ, our prayers will be of such a nature that
it will fully accord with the divine counsel to answer them, for they
will be prayers tending toward fruitfulness.
Verse 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit1
; and [so] shall ye be my disciples2
- Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit. The spirit of Christ leads to those deeds which cause men to glorify God (Matthew 9:8
- And [so] shall ye be my disciples. Moreover, the spirit of Christ leads to abundant fruitfulness, and he who has it, not only performs
charitable deeds, but converts the sinner and begets a spirit of
goodness in those about him (Matthew 13:8-26; Philippians 4:17); and this
fruitfulness becomes an evidence or demonstration of true discipleship.
Verse 9 Even as the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love1
- Even as the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love. From the "outward" evidence of union with Christ, shown by the fruit, Jesus now turns to that "inward" bond of union which is the cause of fruitfulness. That bond is love.
Verse 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love1
- If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. Love is, as it were, the sap which passes back and forth between the Vine and branch, and that love is kept active and vital by the most practical of means--obedience to commandments, a means which the Lord himself does not hesitate to describe as efficient between himself and the Father, only claiming for himself the love of the Father because of a like obedience to that which he prescribed. Says Jay,
"And our obedience must be impartial; we must do "whatsoever" he commands us."
Verse 11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and [that] your joy may be made full1
- These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy may be in you, and [that] your joy may be made full. He had spoken the words of this discourse that the disciples might have a joy corresponding to his own. By perfect obedience he enjoyed a consciousness of the Father's presence and approval. By a like obedience the disciples might have a like sense of his presence and approval, and hence a like joy.
Verse 12 This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you1
- This is my commandment, that ye love one another, even as I have loved you. Jesus gives as his supreme commandment, this law of love. The disciples are to love "one another" as intensely as Jesus loved them.
Verse 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends1
- Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. The measure of the intensity of Jesus' love is prophetically set forth by an allusion to his death on their behalf. But he died for his enemies as well as for his friends.
Verse 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you1
- Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you. The commandments of Jesus were not to be obeyed in the spirit of bondmen, but in that of friends.
No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you1
- For all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known unto you. Jesus had shown his friendship by receiving his apostles into confidence as to the things which he had heard from his Father.
Verse 16 Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you1
, that ye should go and bear fruit, and [that] your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
- Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you. Jesus shows the stability of the friendship existing between him and the disciples in that origin of it lies in himself and not in them. For he chose them as friends before they chose him, gave them the privilege of supplementing their personal deficiencies by prayer made effective through his name.
Verse 17 These things I command you, that ye may love one another1
- These things I command you, that ye may love one another. This includes all the precepts from the beginning of chapter 13.
Verse 18 If the world hateth you, ye know that it hath hated me before [it hated] you1
- If the world hateth you, ye know that it hath hated me before [it hated] you. While teaching the fullness and richness of love which is to exist within the circle of discipleship, Jesus warns them that in opposition to it the outer circle of unconverted and sensual--that circle known as the world--would manifest a spirit of hatred.
If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you1
- But because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Since this world-spirit hated Jesus, the disciples need not be surprised to find that it hated them when manifesting his spirit.
Verse 20Remember the word that I said unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord1
. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you2
; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also3
- Remember the word that I said unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord. See John 13:16.
- If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. The apostles could rest assured that the messengers would receive like treatment
with him who sent them.
- If they kept my word, they will keep yours also. When, therefore, they found the world rejecting their message, they could cheer
themselves with the expectation that a few at least would receive it,
since a few had always received the words of the Master.
Verse 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake1
, because they know not him that sent me.
- But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake,
- because they know not him that sent me. Christians in the early ages were persecuted for bearing the name of Christ by those who were
ignorant of disciples. For opposition to the name, see Acts 5:28
1 Peter 4:14; Revelation 3:8. For joy in it, see Acts 5:41; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Galatians 6:17.
Verse 23 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin1
: but now they have no excuse for their sin.
- If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. Jesus does not mean to say that the world would have committed no sin at all if he had kept away from it. The meaning is that it would not have been guilty of the sin of rejecting Jesus. They would have been excusable.
Verse 24If I had not done among them the works which none other did, they had not had sin1
: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father2
- If I had not done among them the works which none other did, they had not had sin. See .
- But now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. Though the great proof of the hatred of Christ was yet to come, it is spoken
of as if it had passed.
But [this cometh to pass], that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause1
- They hated me without a cause. See Psalms 35:19; Psalms 69:4.
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, [even] the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall bear witness of me:
- But when the Comforter is come . . . he shall bear witness of me. One of the principal offices of the Spirit is to testify of Christ
(John 16:13-15). The Spirit testified through the apostles and
other messengers (Acts 2:4), so that in a sense the apostles were
double witnesses. They themselves could testify as to what they had
seen and heard. The Spirit could aid them to testify accurately, and
with a full intelligence as to the real meaning of things. The Spirit
also gave attention to apostolic testimony by enabling the apostles to
and ye also bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning1
- Because ye have been with me from the beginning. See Acts 1:21,22.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 15:26". "The Fourfold Gospel". "http://www.studylight.org/com/tfg/view.cgi?book=joh&chapter=15&verse=26". Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.