Jesus Teaching on the Church - John 15 - 17


John 15 through 17 contains the most the most extensive revelation that Christ gave us concerning the Church.  While the rest of the Gospels have more to do with the life of Christ and His sacrifice for us on the cross, this passage deals directly with we believers in His Church today.  

The Vine and the Branches -- John 15:1-17

Jesus begins with an analogy of a garden.  The garden represents God's creation--the earth, the universe, and beyond.  God the Father is the gardener.  He is in control of everything in the whole garden.  Christ is the vine, which represents the universal Church of Jesus Christ, and Christ and God the Father are One.  We believers are the branches of the vine, and we are One with Christ.  

The fruit refers to spiritual fruit.  Matthew 7:15-20 teaches that we are known by our fruit; i.e., our fruits are the visible signs by which others can tell what is in our hearts.  Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  

The World Hates Us -- John 15:18-16:4

We do not belong to the world because Christ has chosen us out of the world.  The world hates us because they do not know the true God.  We should remember this whenever we see politicians or celebrities belittle us because of our belief in the veracity of God and His Word.  We should be encouraged, and consider such situations to be fulfillment of Christ's prophecy here.  

The Work of the Holy Spirit -- John 16:5-16

Although Christ left the world (in a physical sense) in His ascension into heaven to sit at God's right hand (Acts 1:9-11), He assured us that the Holy Spirit would come as our Comforter (John 16:26-27).  The Holy Spirit convicts the world of guilt, He guides us into all truth, and He gives us power (Acts 1:8).  

Grief Will Turn to Joy -- John 16:17-33

Christ gives us an analogy for when we suffer grief.  He compares this to the birth pains of a mother during childbirth.  Although her pain is terrible, as soon as her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  I recently witnessed this very thing with a woman who had terrible morning sickness throughout most of her pregnancy.  As soon as her son was born, I asked her if it was worth it, and she immediately replied that it was.  In the very instant that he was born, her grief turned to joy, and she forgot about the suffering.  

We are to remember that Jesus has overcome the world.  The grief that the world brings to us now will not be able to compare to the joy and glory that we will have in eternity.  

Jesus Prays For Himself -- John 17:1-5

I love it when the Bible defines terms for us.  In John 1:3, Christ gives us a surprising revelation by defining the term "eternal life: Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent."  Although we usually think of eternal life as simply living forever, Christ gives us quite a different picture of it here.  Eternal life is knowing God, believing in His Son, and sharing in their love and glory.  It's an eternal state, and we will not be able to fully understand eternity while we're still in this life.  

Jesus Prays For His Disciples  -- John 17:6-19

Jesus prayed for truth, protection, and sanctification for His disciples.  John 17:13 is of particular interest:  "I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them."  This essentially gives us the reason for corporate prayer.  While most of our prayer is to be done privately ("in secret," according to Matthew 6:5-15) as intercession for others, there is a time for corporate prayer.  While praying in the presence of the disciples, he explained, "I say these these..." so that the disciples could experience the joy of Christ.  The reason for believers to come together and pray verbally is so that we can share in Christ's joy, bringing encouragement to one another as we hear our name called in prayer.  

John 17:20-26 Jesus Prays For All Believers

Christ's prayer for we believers is three-fold:  

   1) For unity --That all of us may be one
   2) For glory --That we would share in God's glory
   3) For love --That We would share in God's love
   4) For evangelism --That the world would believe

In addition, verse 26 lends support to the argument for Calvinism, when it says that Christ has made God known to us.  We didn't find God.  He found us, and He shared his love and glory with us.