Apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
The day finally came—the day I realized my father wasn’t indestructible. As a boy, I knew his strength and determination. But in my early adult years, he injured his back, and I realized that my father was mortal after all. I stayed with my parents to help my dad to the bathroom, assisting him in dressing, even guiding a glass of water to his mouth—it was humbling to him. He made some initial attempts to accomplish small tasks, but admitted, “I can’t do anything without your help.” He eventually recovered to his strong self, but that experience taught both of us an important lesson. We need each other.
And while we need each other, we need Jesus even more. In John 15, the imagery of the vine and the branches continues to be one we cling to. Yet one of the other phrases, while comforting, can also strike at our self-reliance. The thought that can easily creep into our minds is, I don’t need help. Jesus is clear—“apart from me you can do nothing” (v. 5). Christ is talking about bearing fruit, like “love, joy, peace” (Galatians 5:22), those core features of a disciple. To bear fruit is the life Jesus calls us to, and our total reliance on Him yields a fruitful life, a life lived to the Father’s glory (John 15:8).
The prayer “I can do nothing apart from You” is simple and powerful. What situations are you facing today that need prayer? How can you rest assured that God is with you and loves you?
Father, I can do nothing apart from You.
One of the distinctly beautiful features of the gospel of John is its seven “I am” sayings. These statements serve to identify Jesus with Yahweh—the eternal, ever-present, covenant-keeping God who revealed Himself to Moses in Exodus 3:14: “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I am has sent me to you.” ’ ” Jesus’ declaration in John 15:1, 5—“I am the [true] vine”—is the seventh “I am” statement (see also 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 11; 11:25; 14:6) . On the eve of His death, Jesus reminded His disciples of how essential it was to remain connected to Him. Through Christ’s words we understand that “loving obedience” is required to abide in Him: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love” (15:10).