(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
(12). The Farewell Discussion Continued After Leaving The Upper Room
“I am the true vine…” What did our Lord mean by this statement? There are passages in the O.T. that uses the vine as a symbol of Israel but such symbolism often shows Israel to be deficient in some way; our Lord Jesus is, however, the True Vine – complete and perfect. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit….you are the branches” , just as the gardener prunes the vine and removes the fruitless branches, even so our heavenly Gardener does the same to the spiritual vine so that we may bear more fruit. Our Lord gives three requirements for “the branches”that will make us bear fruit for His glory:
- “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” First of all, every branch must be cleansed from the stain of sin, and must be washed on a daily basis by the Word of God.
- “If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” The believer can bear no fruit apart from such union and fellowship with the Lord .
- “Now remain in my love.” To remain in His love each and every disciple must “obey His commands” just as He obeyed His Father’s commands. When we refuse to obey His commands we are just like the world of people who refuse to acknowledge Jesus as Lord . This command is also extended to all the other family members of believers, “This is my command: Love each other.” .
We are warned that such close fellowship with our Lord Jesus will also bring hatred from the world of people that reject Him, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” and He reminds us that no servant is greater than his master, so if He is hated then we too will suffer the same. That sin of hatred was brought about by what He did among them and now “they have no excuse for their sin”, a fulfilment of the prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus “They hated me without reason.” .
Our Lord continues His discussion by telling the disciples that the key to all that He has taught them thus far is the work of the Holy Spirit who He now is about to introduce to them, “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” ,and that this teaching and instruction is to ensure that they will not go astray ; “..so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you.” . He did not give this instruction before because He was with them, now the time comes for His departure from the world and the entrance of the Holy Spirit. “Now I am going to him who sent me…. It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.”.
The Work Of The Holy Spirit
- “…he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” Regarding sin, because of mankind’s unbelief in Him not seeing themselves as sinners. Regarding righteousness, because He is going to the Father, who will approve of His redemptive act making our righteousness independent of good works. Regarding judgment, because the prince of this world stands condemned and Satan is defeated.
- “…he will guide you into all truth.” since He will speak only what He hears from the Father; and He will reveal to us what is yet to come. He will glorify the Father and The Son by taking from them and making it known to us.
“In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” . Our Lord knowing that they were questioning what He meant by that statement reveals to them their reaction to the upcoming event; “…you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” . The world will rejoice that the Lord has been crucified, and the disciples will grieve, but their grief will be turned to joy that no one can take away because they will see Him again at His resurrection and there will be great joy. During His time with them on earth He taught them by the use of many parables but now He says that He will tell them plainly about The Father through the Holy Spirit, “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.” and in that day, although they will ask in His Name their will be no need for Him to petition The Father on our behalf, but He will be our intercessor before His Father, “In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.” . The Father Himself loves us because we have trusted in His Son and in love He will hear our requests in His Son’s Name.
Our Lord Jesus then closes the discussion by the statement – “I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” to which the disciples responded “Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”. Now they understood what He had said to them earlier in the discussion and our Lord adds “You believe at last” and He warns them again of the coming time of trial, leaving them this encouragement, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” .