“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.”-John 15:4
Abiding is a central theme of John 15. Between verses 4 and 10, the word abide appears nine times. So what does it mean to abide? Abiding has to do with sticking with something. Abiding does not necessarily suggest action, but rather staying put. In other words, to abide is to persevere. When Jesus told his disciples to abide, he was telling them, “Remain in me. Stay connected to the true vine. That is your purpose.”
The image of the vine and branches is important because no one imagines a branch getting fed up with the vine and walking away, thinking that it can do better on its own. In order to remain healthy and produce fruit, the branch must simply to remain connected to the vine.
The opening part of 15:4, “Abide in me and I in you,” points to our union with Christ. We are in Christ, and Christ is in us. The reality of our union with him shapes everything about us. Do we allow it to inform how we view our salvation and sanctification? Each of us, if we profess Christ, are called to remain connected to Jesus, the true vine. We are called to remember our union with him.
Jesus, you told me, through your word, about the necessity of remaining connected with you, but so often, I try to go off on my own. Help me to understand that branches cannot survive apart from the vine. If I am removed from you, I will die. Help me, by your Holy Spirit, to abide in you as you abide in me. Amen.