A thrift-store bargain, the lamp seemed perfect for my home office—the right color, size, and price. Back at home, however, when I plugged in the cord, nothing happened. No light. No power. No juice.
No problem, my husband assured me. “I can fix that. Easy.” As he took the lamp apart, he saw the trouble immediately. The plug wasn’t connected to anything. Without wiring to a source of power, the “perfect” pretty lamp was useless.
The same is true for us. Jesus told His disciples, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.” But then he added this reminder: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
This teaching was given in a grape-growing region, so His disciples readily understood it. Grapevines are hardy plants, and their branches tolerate vigorous pruning. Cut off from their life source, however, the branches are worthless deadwood. So it is with us.
As we remain in Jesus and let His words dwell in us, we’re wired to our life source—Christ Himself. “This is to my Father’s glory,” said Jesus, “that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (v. 8). Such a fruitful outcome needs daily nourishment, however. Freely, God provides it through the Scriptures and His love. So plug in and let the juice flow!
To learn more about growing spiritually, visit christianuniversity.org/SF104.
It’s important to consider the full revelation of God in Scripture when trying to understand the meaning of any passage. Jesus’ words in John 15:5, “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” are similar to Paul’s statements in Acts 17:28, “In him we live and move and have our being,” and Colossians 1:17, “in him all things hold together.” All of these verses emphasize the necessity of Christ to our very existence.
In John 15, Jesus is speaking specifically to His followers. He’s talking about the fruit that comes from the branch connected to the vine. When Jesus says that without Him we can do nothing, He means that without the source of life—the vine—the branch can’t even produce a leaf or a flower, let alone the fruit that brings God honor.