The true vine (η αμπελος η αλητινη hē ampelos hē alēthinē). “The vine the genuine.” Assuming that the Lord‘s Supper had just been instituted by Jesus the metaphor of the vine is naturally suggested by “the fruit of the vine” (Mark 14:25; Matthew 26:29). Αμπελος Ampelos in the papyri (Moulton and Milligan‘s Vocabulary) is sometimes used in the sense of ο γεωργος ampelōn (vineyard), but not so here. Jesus uses various metaphors to illustrate himself and his work (the light, John 8:12; the door, John 10:7; the shepherd, John 10:11; the vine, John 15:1). The vine was common in Palestine. See Psalm 80:8. “On the Maccabean coinage Israel was represented by a vine” (Dods). Jesus is the genuine Messianic vine.The husbandman (τεου γεωργιον ho geōrgos) as in Mark 12:1; James 5:7; 2 Timothy 2:6. cf. 1 Corinthians 3:9, theou geōrgion (God‘s field).
Branch (κλημα klēma). Old word from κλαω klaō to break, common in lxx for offshoots of the vine, in N.T. only here (John 15:2-6), elsewhere in N.T. κλαδος klados (Mark 4:32, etc.), also from κλαω klaō both words meaning tender and easily broken parts.In me (εν εμοι en emoi). Two kinds of connexion with Christ as the vine (the merely cosmic which bears no fruit, the spiritual and vital which bears fruit). The fruitless (not bearing fruit, μη περον καρπον mē pheron karpon) the vine-dresser “takes away” (αιρει airei) or prunes away. Probably (Bernard) Jesus here refers to Judas. Cleanseth (καταιρει kathairei). Present active indicative of old verb καταιρω kathairō (clean) as in John 15:3, only use in N.T., common in the inscriptions for ceremonial cleansing, though καταριζω katharizō is more frequent (Hebrews 10:2). That it may bear more fruit (ινα καρπον πλειονα περηι hina karpon pleiona pherēi). Purpose clause with ινα hina and present active subjunctive of περω pherō “that it may keep on bearing more fruit” (more and more). A good test for modern Christians and church members.
Already ye are clean (ηδη υμεις καταροι εστε ēdē humeis katharoi este). Potentially cleansed (Westcott) as in John 13:10 which see and John 17:19.
Abide in me (μεινατε εν εμοι meinate en emoi). Constative aorist active imperative of μενω menō The only way to continue “clean” (pruned) and to bear fruit is to maintain vital spiritual connexion with Christ (the vine). Judas is gone and Satan will sift the rest of them like wheat (Luke 22:31.). Blind complacency is a peril to the preacher.Of itself (απ εαυτου aph' heautou). As source (from itself) and apart from the vine (cf. John 17:17). Except it abide (εαν μη μενηι ean mē menēi). Condition of third class with εαν ean negative μη mē and present active (keep on abiding) subjunctive of μενω menō Same condition and tense in the application, “except ye abide in me.”
Ye the branches (υμεις τα κληματα humeis ta klēmata). Jesus repeats and applies the metaphor of John 15:1.Apart from me (χωρις εμου chōris emou). See Ephesians 2:12 for χωρις Χριστου chōris Christou There is nothing for a broken off branch to do but wither and die. For the cosmic relation of Christ see John 1:3 (χωρις αυτου chōris autou).
He is cast forth (εβλητη εχω eblēthē exō). Timeless or gnomic use of the first aorist passive indicative of βαλλω ballō as the conclusion of a third-class condition (see also John 15:4, John 15:7 for the same condition, only constative aorist subjunctive μεινητε meinēte and μεινηι meinēi in John 15:7). The apostles are thus vividly warned against presumption. Jesus as the vine will fulfill his part of the relation as long as the branches keep in vital union with him.As a branch (ως το κλημα hōs to klēma). And is withered (εχηραντη exēranthē). Another timeless first aorist passive indicative, this time of χηραινω xērainō same timeless use in James 1:11 of grass, old and common verb. They gather (συναγουσιν sunagousin). Plural though subject not expressed, the servants of the vine-dresser gather up the broken off branches. Are burned (καιεται kaietai). Present passive singular of καιω kaiō to burn, because κληματα klēmata (branches) is neuter plural. See this vivid picture also in Matthew 13:41, Matthew 13:49.
Ask whatsoever ye will (ο εαν τελητε αιτησαστε ho ean thelēte aitēsasthe). Indefinite relative with εαν ean and present active subjunctive of τελω thelō to wish, to will, and aorist middle imperative of αιτεω aiteō to ask. This astounding command and promise (γενησεται genēsetai future middle of γινομαι ginomai it will come to pass) is not without conditions and limitations. It involves such intimate union and harmony with Christ that nothing will be asked out of accord with the mind of Christ and so of the Father. Christ‘s name is mentioned in John 15:16; cf. John 14:13; John 16:23.
Herein (εν τουτωι en toutōi). That is in the vital union and the much fruit bearing. It points here backwards and forwards.Is glorified (εδοχαστη edoxasthē). Another gnomic or timeless first aorist passive indicative. Bear (περετε pherete). Present active subjunctive, “keep on bearing” much fruit. And so shall ye be (και γενησεστε kai genēsesthe). Rather “become.” Future middle indicative of γινομαι ginomai though B D L read γενηστε genēsthe (after ινα hina like περητε pherēte). “Become” my disciples (learners) in the fullest sense of rich fruit-bearing according to the text in John 8:31.
Abide (μεινατε meinate). Constative first aorist active imperative of μενω menō summing up the whole.In my love (εν τηι αγαπηι τηι εμηι en tēi agapēi tēi emēi). Subjunctive possessive pronoun, “in the love that I have for you.” Our love for Christ is the result of Christ‘s love for us and is grounded at bottom in the Father‘s love for the world (John 3:16). John has εμος emos 37 times and always in the words of Jesus (Bernard). But he uses μου mou also (John 15:10).
Ye will abide (μενειτε meneite). Future tense of μενω menō conclusion of the third-class condition (εαν ean and first aorist active subjunctive τηρησητε tērēsēte). The correlative of John 14:15. Each involves the other (love and keeping the commandments of Jesus).And abide (και μενω kai menō). The high example of Jesus (the Son) in relation to the Father is set before us as the goal.
That my joy may be in you (ινα η χαρα η εμη εν υμιν ηι hina hē chara hē emē en humin ēi). Purpose clause with ινα hina and the present subjunctive ηι ēi (some MSS. have μεινηι meinēi may remain), Christ‘s permanent absolute joy in the disciples.And that your joy be fulfilled (Και η χαρα υμων πληρωτηι Kai hē chara humōn plērōthēi). Same construction with first aorist (effective) passive subjunctive of πληροω plēroō consummation of the process preceding.
That ye love one another (ινα αγαπατε αλληλους hina agapāte allēlous). Non-final use of ινα hina introducing a subject clause in apposition with εντολη entolē (commandment) and the present active subjunctive of αγαπαω agapaō “that ye keep on loving one another.” See John 13:34.
Than this (ταυτης tautēs). Ablative case after the comparative adjective μειζονα meizona and feminine agreeing with της αγαπης tēs agapēs (love) understood.That a man lay down his life (ινα τις την πσυχην αυτου τηι hina tis tēn psuchēn autou thēi). Object clause (non-final use of ινα hina in apposition with the ablative pronoun ταυτης tautēs and the second aorist active subjunctive of τιτημι tithēmi). For the phrase see John 10:11 of the good shepherd. Cf. 1 John 3:16; Romans 5:7. For his friends (υπερ των πιλων αυτου huper tōn philōn autou). “In behalf of his friends” and so “in place of his friends.” “Self-sacrifice is the high-water mark of love” (Dods). For this use of υπερ huper see John 11:50; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:14.; Romans 5:7.
If ye do (εαν ποιητε ean poiēte). Condition of third class with εαν ean and the present active subjunctive, “if ye keep on doing,” not just spasmodic obedience. Just a different way of saying what is in John 15:10. Obedience to Christ‘s commands is a prerequisite to discipleship and fellowship (spiritual friendship with Christ). He repeats it in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:20, ενετειλαμην eneteilamēn I commanded) with the very word used here (εντελλομαι entellomai I command).
No longer (ουκετι ouketi). As he had done in John 13:16. He was their Rabbi (John 1:38; John 13:13) and Lord (John 13:13). Paul gloried in calling himself Christ‘s δουλος doulos (bond-slave).Servants (δουλους doulous). Bond-servants, slaves. I have called you friends (υμας ειρηκα πιλους humas eirēka philous). Perfect active indicative, permanent state of new dignity. They will prove worthy of it by continued obedience to Christ as Lord, by being good δουλοι douloi Abraham was called the Friend of God (James 2:23). Are we friends of Christ?
But I chose you (αλλ εγω εχελεχαμην υμας all' egō exelexamēn humas). First aorist middle indicative of εκλεγω eklegō See this same verb and tense used for the choice of the disciples by Christ (John 6:70; John 13:18; John 15:19). Jesus recognizes his own responsibility in the choice after a night of prayer (Luke 6:13). So Paul was “a vessel of choice” (σκευος εκλογης skeuos eklogēs Acts 9:15). Appointed (ετηκα ethēka). First aorist active indicative (κ k aorist) of τιτημι tithēmi Note three present active subjunctives with ινα hina (purpose clause) to emphasize continuance (υπαγητε hupagēte keep on going, περητε pherēte keep on bearing fruit, μενηι menēi keep on abiding), not a mere spurt, but permanent growth and fruit-bearing.He may give (δωι dōi). Second aorist active subjunctive of διδωμι didōmi with ινα hina (purpose clause). Cf. John 14:13 for the same purpose and promise, but with ποιησω poiēsō (I shall do). See also John 16:23, John 16:26.
That ye may love one another (ινα αγαπατε αλληλους hina agapāte allēlous). Repetition of John 13:34; John 15:12. This very night the disciples had been guilty of jealousy and wrangling (Luke 22:24; John 13:5, John 13:15).
If the world hateth you (ει ο κοσμος υμας μισει ei ho kosmos humas misei). Condition of the first class. As it certainly does.Ye know (γινωσκετε ginōskete). Present active second person plural indicative of γινωσκω ginōskō or present active imperative (know), same form. Hath hated (μεμισηκεν memisēken). Perfect active indicative, “has hated and still hates.” Before it hateth you (πρωτον υμων prōton humōn). Ablative case υμων humōn after the superlative πρωτον prōton as with πρωτος μου prōtos mou in John 1:15.
The world would love its own (ο κοσμος αν το ιδιον επιλει ho kosmos an to idion ephilei). Conclusion of second-class condition (determined as unfulfilled), regular idiom with αν an and imperfect indicative in present time.But because ye are not of the world (οτι δε εκ του κοσμου ουκ εστε hoti de ek tou kosmou ouk este). Definite and specific reason for the world‘s hatred of real Christians whose very existence is a reproach to the sinful world. Cf. John 7:7; John 17:14; 1 John 3:13. Does the world hate us? If not, why not? Has the world become more Christian or Christians more worldly?
Remember (μνημονευετε mnēmoneuete). Present active imperative of μνημονευω mnēmoneuō old verb from μνημων mnēmōn in John again in John 16:4, John 16:21. See John 13:16 for this word.If they persecuted me (ει εμε εδιωχαν ei eme ediōxan). Condition of first class. They certainly did persecute (first aorist active of διωκω diōkō to chase like a wild beast like the Latin persequor, our “persecute”) Jesus (John 5:16). They will persecute those like Jesus. Cf. John 16:33; Mark 10:30; Luke 21:12; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 2 Corinthians 4:9; Galatians 4:29; 2 Timothy 3:12 for proof that this prophecy came true. But the alternative is true and is stated by Jesus with a like condition of the first class, “if they kept my word” (ει τον λογον μου ετηρησαν ei ton logon mou etērēsan). The world does praise the word of Jesus, but dreads to follow it.
Unto you (εις υμας eis humas). Like the dative υμιν humin (Textus Receptus) as in the papyri and modern Greek (Robertson, Grammar, p. 594).For my name‘s sake (δια το ονομα μου dia to onoma mou). See John 15:20. See this same warning and language in Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13; Matthew 24:9; Luke 21:17). There is little difference in meaning from ενεκεν μου heneken mou (Mark 13:9; Luke 21:12). Loyalty to the name of Christ will bring persecution as they will soon know (Acts 5:41; Philemon 1:29; 1 Peter 4:14). About the world‘s ignorance of God see Luke 23:34; Acts 3:17; John 16:3.
They had not had sin (αμαρτιαν ουκ ειχοσαν hamartian ouk eichosan). Conclusion of condition of second class without αν an because context makes it clear (νυν δε nun de) without it (Robertson, Grammar, p. 1013). The imperfect active indicative with -οσαν osan instead of -ον on (also in John 15:24) as common in the lxx, and occurs in the papyri and the inscriptions and the Boeotian dialect.Excuse (προπασιν prophasin). Old word (1 Thessalonians 2:5) either from προπαινω prophainō to show forth, or προπημι prophēmi to speak forth. Mere pretense, in John only here and John 15:24.
My Father also (και τον πατερα μου kai ton patera mou). Because Christ reveals God (John 14:9) and to dishonour Christ is to dishonour God (John 5:23). The coming of Christ has revealed the weight of sin on those who reject him.
They have both seen and hated (και εωρακασιν και μεμισηκασιν kai heōrakasin kai memisēkasin). Perfect active indicative of οραω horaō and μισεω miseō permanent attitude and responsibility. The “world” and the ecclesiastics (Sanhedrin) had united in this attitude of hostility to Christ and in reality to God.
But this cometh to pass (αλλ all'). Ellipsis in the Greek (no verb), as in John 9:3; John 13:18.In their law (εν τωι νομωι αυτων en tōi nomōi autōn). Cf. John 8:17; John 10:34 for this standpoint. “Law” (νομος nomos) here is for the whole of Scripture as in John 12:34. The allusion is to Psalm 69:4 (or Psalm 35:19). The hatred of the Jews toward Jesus the promised Messiah (John 1:11) is “part of the mysterious purpose of God” (Bernard) as shown by ινα πληρωτηι hina plērōthēi (first aorist passive subjunctive of πληροω plēroō to fulfill). Without a cause (δωρεαν dōrean). Adverbial accusative of δωρεα dōrea from διδωμι didōmi gratuitously, then unnecessarily or gratis (in two Koiné tablets, Nageli) as here and Galatians 2:21.
When the Comforter is come (οταν ελτηι ο παρακλητος hotan elthēi ho paraklētos). Indefinite temporal clause with οταν hotan and the second aorist active subjunctive of ερχομαι erchomai “whenever the Comforter comes.”Whom I will send unto you from the Father (ον εγω πεμπσω υμιν παρα του πατρος hon egō pempsō humin para tou patros). As in John 16:7, but in John 14:16, John 14:26 the Father sends at the request of or in the name of Jesus. Cf. Luke 24:49; Acts 2:33. This is the Procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and from the Son. Which (ο ho). Grammatical neuter to agree with πνευμα pneuma and should be rendered “who” like ο ho in John 14:26. Proceedeth from the Father (παρα του πατρος εκπορευεται para tou patros ekporeuetai). “From beside the Father” as in the preceding clause. He (εκεινος ekeinos). Emphatic masculine pronoun, not neuter (εκεινο ekeino) though following ο ho Shall bear witness of me (μαρτυρησει περι εμου marturēsei peri emou). Future active of μαρτυρεω martureō This is the mission of the Paraclete (John 16:14) as it should be ours.
And ye also bear witness (και υμεις δε μαρτυρειτε kai humeis de martureite). Present active indicative or imperative (do ye bear witness), same form of μαρτυρεω martureō “Ye also” as well as the Holy Spirit, ye also when filled with and taught by the Holy Spirit the things concerning Jesus. It is here that Christians fail most.Have been (εστε este). Progressive present of ειμι eimi “are with me from the beginning of my ministry” as in John 14:9. They were chosen to be with Christ (Mark 3:14).
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany