Daily Devotionals for Families

Day 132 - We are Branches in Jesus' Vine
John 15:1-17

Using the analogy of a vine, Jesus explained what a true Christian is: he is a person who, as a result of being joined to Jesus, produces fruit. Fruit, of course, represents the good things that we do. It includes our actions, attitudes, words and answers to our prayers. We can only produce that fruit if we are connected with Jesus.

Notice how Jesus emphasized fruitfulness, stressing its great importance. Whether a person produces fruit is what determines his eternal destination. Those who don't produce fruit are like worthless branches on the grapevine---and they are destined to be burnt by fire, spending eternity in hell. God prunes those who do produce fruit so they may become more fruitful.

If you've believed in Jesus, then you are already producing some fruit. But God will not be satisfied until you are just like Jesus. So, like a gardener who prunes his grapevine so it might produce more fruit, God will work with us, cutting off what is displeasing to Him. He is dedicated to our spiritual growth.

Our job, according to Christ's command, is to remain in Him (see John 15:4). To "remain in Jesus" means to continue to believe that He is the Son of God and thus continue to follow and obey Him. If we will remain in Him, He'll remain in us and we'll produce much fruit.

Jesus also instructed His followers to remain in His love (see John 15:9). That's the same thing as remaining in Him, because the proof of a person's remaining in Jesus' love is the same proof as that of a person's remaining in Jesus: his obedience. In today's reading, Jesus stressed the importance of our obeying His commandment to love one another. He expects us to love one another just as He loves us. He literally laid down His life for us, and wants us to give sacrificially of ourselves to one another. John wrote, "Let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions" (1 John 3:18). Have you demonstrated your love for a fellow Christian recently? 

Q. Jesus talked about the branch that was cut off from the vine because it wasn't bearing fruit. Does this prove that a person can be joined to Christ but produce no fruit?

A. As with every parable and comparison, we must be careful about searching for significance in every detail, because at some point, the similarities in the comparison end. We shouldn't necessarily conclude, just because the fruitless branch was connected to the vine, that it's possible for a person who doesn't produce fruit to be connected to Christ. That might be reading more into His analogy than Jesus intended. The way a person becomes connected to Jesus is by faith, and the Bible tells us that "faith without works is dead" (see James 2:26, NASB). For that reason, it seems unlikely that Jesus was trying to teach that a person can be joined to Him yet remain fruitless. In fact, Jesus said that fruitlessness is what results in being cut off from the vine.

Q. For those who do remain in Him, Jesus has given tremendous promises regarding their prayers. He said, "But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!" (John 15:7). Does that mean we could ask for all our enemies to be killed in car crashes on the same day?

A. People who remain in Jesus and who allow Jesus' words to remain in them would never make such a prayer request, because Jesus said in another place that we should bless our enemies and pray for them, not against them! We can pray with assurance for anything that God has promised us in His word, and we should only want to pray for what is His will.

Application: Jesus is our Lord and Master, but He's not a distant master who only cares about our obedience and doesn't care about us. He's our Friend. But don't forget that He's only our Friend if He's first our Master and Lord. Jesus plainly said that those who obey Him are His Friends (see John 15:14). Too many people want Jesus as their friend but not their Lord. But Jesus does not offer such a relationship to anyone.

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You can navigate through the different days below:

Day 31 - New Clothes and New Wine

Day 32 - Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

Day 33 - Jesus Chooses Twelve Apostles

Day 34 - Jesus Describes His True Followers

Day 35 - Jesus Explains God's Standards of Holiness

Day 36 - Jesus Continues to Explain God's Standards of Holiness

Day 37 - Jesus Continues to Explain God's Standards of Holiness

Day 38 - Jesus Teaches About Material Possessions

Day 39 - Jesus Teaches about Being Critical of Others

Day 40 - Jesus Teaches About Persistence and Prayer

Day 41 - Jesus Summarizes His Sermon on the Mountainside

Day 42 - A Roman Soldier's Faith

Day 43 - Jesus Heals a Royal Official's Dying Son

Day 44 - Jesus Raises a Widow's Son From the Dead

Day 45 - John the Baptist Questions Jesus

Day 46 - A Forgiven Woman Shows Her Faith and Gratitude

Day 47 - A Few Good Women

Day 48 - Jesus is Accused of Working for the Devil

Day 49 - The Pharisees Request a Sign from Jesus

Day 50 - Jesus' Mother and Brothers

Day 51 - Jesus Tells a Story About Different Soils

Day 52 - Mustard Seeds and Satan's Weeds

Day 53 - Hidden Treasures, Priceless Pearls and Fishing Nets

Day 54 - Jesus Calms a Storm

Day 55 - Jesus Delivers a Demon-Possessed Man

Day 56 - Jesus Raises a Dead Girl and Heals a Sick Woman

Day 57 - The Blind and Mute are Healed

Day 58 - Jesus Finds Little Faith in His Hometown

Day 59 - Jesus Heals a Lame Man at the Pool of Bethesda

Day 60 - Jesus' Special Relationship with God the Father

Day 61 - Jesus Sends Out His Twelve Apostles

Day 62 - John the Baptist is Martyred

Day 63 - Jesus Multiplies Food for Five Thousand People

Day 64 - Jesus Walks on Water

Day 65 - Jesus Compares Himself with Food

Day 66 - Jesus Teaches About Inner Purity

Day 67 - A Gentile Woman Persists in Faith

Day 68 - Jesus Feeds Four Thousand

Day 69 - The Faith and Doubts of Jesus' Disciples

Day 70 - Jesus Foretells His Death, Resurrection and Glorification

Day 71 - Jesus Casts Out A Demon His Disciples Couldn't

Day 72 - Jesus Pays His and Peter's Temple Tax

Day 73 - Jesus Teaches His Disciples

Day 74 - The Value of Children

Day 75 - What To Do When a Fellow Christian Wrongs You

Day 76 - Jesus' Forbearance With Unbelievers and His Expectations of Believers

Day 77 - Demons Must Obey Christ's Followers

Day 78 - Jesus Invites Weary People to Rest

Day 79 - Jesus Teaches About Prayer

Day 80 - Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders

Day 81 - Jesus Warns Against Greed

Day 82 - Jesus Tells His Followers to be Ready for His Return

Day 83 - Jesus Warns People to Repent

Day 84 - Jesus Heals a Crippled Woman on the Sabbath

Day 85 - Jesus Teaches About the Narrow Door to Heaven

Day 86 - Jesus Teaches About Humility and Servanthood

Day 87 - A Feast For Everyone

Day 88 - The Cost of True Discipleship

Day 89 - God's Lost and Found

Day 90 - The Story of the Shrewd Money Manager

Day 91 - The Rich Man and Lazarus

Day 92 - Temptation, Sin, Forgiveness, Faith and Obedience

Day 93 - Jesus Cleanses Ten Lepers

Day 94 - Jesus Teaches About the Coming Kingdom

Day 95 - Jesus Encourages His Followers to Trust Him for Justice

Day 96 - The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Day 97 - The Unbelief of Jesus' Brothers and People of Jerusalem

Day 98 - Jesus Offers Living Water to Thirsty People

Day 99 - Jesus Shows Mercy to an Adulterous Woman

Day 100 - Jesus Makes Amazing Claims

Day 101 - Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind

Day 102 - Jesus Compares Himself to a Gate and a Good Shepherd

Day 103 - Jesus Teaches About Divorce and Remarriage

Day 104 - A Rich Young Man Rejects Jesus

Day 105 - The Parable of the Vineyard Workers

Day 106 - Jesus Claims to be One With the Father

Day 107 - Jesus Raises Lazarus From the Dead

Day 108 - The Greatest Servant Teaches About Serving

Day 109 - Jesus Heals a Blind Man Named Bartimaeus

Day 110 - Zacchaeus is Saved

Day 111 - The Parable of the Ten Servants

Day 112 - Jesus' Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

Day 113 - Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple

Day 114 - The Stories of the Two Sons and Evil Farmers

Day 115 - The Parable of the Wedding Guests

Day 116 - Jesus Answers Two Trick Questions

Day 117 - Jesus Answers and Asks a Difficult Question

Day 118 - The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Day 119 - Jesus Warns the Religious Leaders

Day 120 - A Poor But Generous Widow

Day 121 - Jesus Talks About Jerusalem's Destruction and the End Times

Day 122 - Jesus Exhorts Everyone to be Ready for His Return

Day 123 - Ten Bridesmaids and Three Servants

Day 124 - Jesus Talks About the Final Judgment

Day 125 - Jesus Talks Again About His Impending Death

Day 126 - Jesus Again Claims to be God

Day 127 - Jesus is Twice Anointed

Day 128 - The Last Supper

Day 129 - Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet

Day 130 - Jesus Predicts Judas's Betrayal and Peter's Denial

Day 131 - Jesus Comforts His Disciples

Day 132 - We are Branches in Jesus' Vine

Day 133 - Jesus Warns His Disciples of the World's Hatred

Day 134 - Jesus' Final Words to His Disciples

Day 135 - Jesus Prays for His Disciples

Day 136 - Jesus is Arrested

Day 137 - Jesus' Trial Before the Jewish Council

Day 138 - Judas Commits Suicide

Day 139 - Jesus Stands Trial Before Pilate

Day 140 - Jesus' First Three Hours on the Cross

Day 141 - Jesus' Second Three Hours on the Cross and Death

Day 142 - Jesus' Burial

Day 143 - Jesus is Resurrected!

Day 144 - Jesus Appears to His Disciples

Day 145 - Jesus Appears to His Disciples in Galilee

Day 146 - Jesus' Final Words and Ascension to Heaven

Day 147 - Luke Summarizes Jesus' Final Days on Earth

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The Teaching Ministry of David Servant