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The Vine and the Branches. 1* “I am the true vine,* and my Father is the vine grower.a 2He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes* so that it bears more fruit. 3You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.b 4Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. 6* c Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.d 8By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.e 9As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.f 10If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.g
11“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.h 12This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.i 13* No one has greater love than this,j to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends,* because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.k 16It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.l 17This I command you: love one another.m
The World’s Hatred.* 18“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.n 19If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.o 20Remember the word I spoke to you,* ‘No slave is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.p 21And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,* because they do not know the one who sent me.q 22If I had not come and spoken* to them, they would have no sin; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin.r 23Whoever hates me also hates my Father.s 24If I had not done works among them that no one else ever did, they would not have sin; but as it is, they have seen and hated both me and my Father.t 25But in order that the word written in their law* might be fulfilled, ‘They hated me without cause.’u
26“When the Advocate comes whom I will send* you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.v 27And you also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.w
* [15:1–17] Like Jn 10:1–5, this passage resembles a parable. Israel is spoken of as a vineyard at Is 5:1–7; Mt 21:33–46 and as a vine at Ps 80:9–17; Jer 2:21; Ez 15:2; 17:5–10; 19:10; Hos 10:1. The identification of the vine as the Son of Man in Ps 80:15 and Wisdom’s description of herself as a vine in Sir 24:17 are further background for portrayal of Jesus by this figure. There may be secondary eucharistic symbolism here; cf. Mk 14:25 “the fruit of the vine.”
* [15:2] Takes away…prunes: in Greek there is a play on two related verbs.
* [15:6] Branches were cut off and dried on the wall of the vineyard for later use as fuel.
* [15:13] For one’s friends: or: “those whom one loves.” In Jn 15:9–13a, the words for love are related to the Greek agapaō. In Jn 15:13b–15, the words for love are related to the Greek phileō. For John, the two roots seem synonymous and mean “to love”; cf. also Jn 21:15–17. The word philos is used here.
* [15:15] Slaves…friends: in the Old Testament, Moses (Dt 34:5), Joshua (Jos 24:29), and David (Ps 89:21) were called “servants” or “slaves of Yahweh”; only Abraham (Is 41:8; 2 Chr 20:7; cf. Jas 2:23) was called a “friend of God.”
* [15:22, 24] Jesus’ words (spoken) and deeds (works) are the great motives of credibility. They have seen and hated: probably means that they have seen his works and still have hated; but the Greek can be read: “have seen both me and my Father and still have hated both me and my Father.” Works…that no one else ever did: so Yahweh in Dt 4:32–33.
* [15:25] In their law: law is here used as a larger concept than the Pentateuch, for the reference is to Ps 35:19 or Ps 69:5. See notes on Jn 10:34; 12:34. Their law reflects the argument of the church with the synagogue.
* [15:26] Whom I will send: in Jn 14:16, 26 the Paraclete is to be sent by the Father, at the request of Jesus. Here the Spirit comes from both Jesus and the Father in mission; there is no reference here to the eternal procession of the Spirit.
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