Richards: Highlights from John 15:1-17

“Jesus thrives and produces great fruit and is full of life. In fact, Jesus is the very source of life. He came to be all that Israel was supposed to be, but could never be.”

“Jesus replaces sacred spaces like Mount Zion where the temple was. Those who would worship God have to come to Jesus, not to a holy place.”

“What Jesus means when he says he is the true vine is that he himself supersedes Israel as the source and the center of God’s people. The places and the people of the old covenant have been replaced and fulfilled by a single Person. Jesus is the True Israel.”

“Jesus is the Offspring that God promised to give to Abraham. Jesus is the one to whom and through whom God would fulfill all his promises.”

“Remaining in [Jesus] is the active acknowledgment that Jesus is Lord. It is trusting in him for your life and your salvation. It isn’t trusting in a date you wrote in your Bible when you were at a Christian camp in middle school. It is the deliberate trust in him that if you were to die in this moment God’s acceptance of you would be based solely on who Jesus is and what he has done.”

“If you remain in Christ you are so united to him that you begin to love what he loves and you begin to hate what he hates and you begin to desire what he desires. This is what David means when he wrote Ps 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” If you delight yourself in the Lord, you are so filled with love and desire for him that you would not actually desire something that is outside of his will…. When you delight in the Lord, your desires begin to match his desires.”

“Obedience to [Jesus’] commands is living a life rightly aligned with God. The point of the law was never a list of rules, but a life lived according to God’s character. The law was meant to reveal God’s character. Jesus replaces the law with himself. The point of obedience, then, is to live life according to God’s character as fully revealed in Jesus.”

“The one who is miserable for obeying Jesus is one who is not obeying Jesus out of love. It’s not always easy to follow his commands, but following his commands produces joy in us.”

“The promise of Jesus is that God prunes us—he removes all the stuff that inhibits the growth of our fruit. God desires greater fruit and Jesus is the one who produces the fruit through us. His Spirit is present and active among us to do this very thing, yet it is in his church that this pruning takes place.”

“The branches need each other. God’s Spirit works in us through his word read and studied in community. The Spirit helps us apply his word as we spend time together to challenge and encourage one another. God’s Spirit works in us as we pray together for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

“Jesus thrives and produces great fruit and is full of life. In fact, Jesus is the very source of life. He came to be all that Israel was supposed to be, but could never be. We’ve seen this throughout John’s Gospel. We saw, for example, that Jesus replaces the old covenant. In chapter 2 he used ritual purification jars to provide beverages for a wedding in Cana. Then he cleansed the temple of those who had profaned it. We saw in chapter 3 that even a good Jew like Nicodemus had to be converted. He had to be born again in order to see God’s kingdom. Being able to trace his lineage to Abraham was insufficient. In chapter 4 Jesus replaces sacred spaces like Mount Zion where the temple was. Those who would worship God have to come to Jesus, not to a holy place. In chapter 5 we see that Jesus is the one Moses was pointing the people to all along and so he comes to replace Moses as the central figure in their lives. What Jesus means when he says he is the true vine is that he himself supersedes Israel as the source and the center of God’s people. The places and the people of the old covenant have been replaced and fulfilled by a single Person. Jesus is the True Israel. As Paul says in Galatians, Jesus is the Offspring that God promised to give to Abraham. Jesus is the one to whom and through whom God would fulfill all his promises. This is why Jesus has been claiming all along that life is found in him. This is why Jesus could claim that he is the bread of life, and that the one who comes to him shall never hunger or thirst again. The disciples recognized this when they declared that Jesus alone has the words of eternal life. He is the True Israel, the fulfillment of all of God’s promises.”

-J-T Richards, https://youtu.be/Z0wsAFMpgQg

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