The joy that Jesus wants to see in us is His joy. Earlier, Jesus spoke to His disciples about peace, saying, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). Where does the Christian’s peace come from? It comes from Him; in fact, it is His peace. In like manner, His own joy is available to us, and He wants to see it abiding in us.
“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:2)
I do not have a green thumb and my knowledge of horticulture is very rudimentary. However, I have experimented with growing roses, and I have learned that after the blossoms begin to decay, they have to be cut off at a certain point on the stem. If I am diligent in pruning away the dead aspects of the bush, the blossoms become even more brilliant in time. This process seems counterintuitive to me; I would assume that by cutting off part of a bush I would be harming it or even destroying it. But the pruning process focuses the nutrients in the bush, causing it to bear fruit more consistently. This process is especially important in the tending of grapevines, which is the vine that is in view in Jesus’ metaphor.
Going on, Jesus said, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (v. 3). Here He addressed Himself to His disciples, to believers, to those who already enjoyed fellowship with Him and had a saving relationship with Him. They were already “clean,” He said. Then He added: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (v. 4).
What happens to the branches that are pruned from a tree or bush? After they are cut off, they wither and die. They are cut off from their life supply. Obviously, such dead branches will not produce any fruit. They are impotent.
One day, during a cookout at the home of one of his members, a minister wandered over to the grill to speak to the host, who had stopped attending the weekly worship services. The minister was hoping to encourage him to begin attending once more.