Jesus, the Son of God and perfect communicator, wants you to have something. It’s joy. And not just any joy, but what He quantified as His joy… in you and me. There’s more—He wants our joy to be made full.

Before nodding assent and moving on, we should consider a few things. First, in John 15:1-11, Christ is as open as open can be. He gives an easily understood analogy as to who and what He is (the vine). He speaks of His relation to God the Father and what He is (the vinedresser). Jesus then brings it down to a personal level—telling His followers they are the branches who must abide (or remain) in Him in order to bear abundant fruit.

In so doing, He used variations of the word “abide” repeatedly. And gives the reason why:

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11)

When my sister and I were young, we were once thirsty and discovered a pitcher of apple cider in the fridge—at least, that’s what we thought it was. The day was hot, cider was a treat, and we each helped ourselves to an ice-cold glassful. It was very enjoyable with a much deeper, richer flavor than expected. Only later did we learn it was apple juice concentrate our mom had been thawing to later dilute and take to a party. She was more than a little perplexed as to how we could fail to notice its potency.

In John 15:1-11, Jesus gives us a concentrate form of what a believer must pursue in order to know the abundant joy He desires for him or her. It’s a straight-up truth talk filled with references to abiding.  

The Greek word for abide in this passage is meno (Strong’s #3306), which means to remain or stay. It is an active verb which encompasses one’s mindset. Within this context, we can safely regard it is an ongoing, consistent, and internal commitment which plays out externally.

“Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5)

Unfortunately, not everyone who believes in Jesus abides in Him. Jesus is saying that in the same way in which a branch cannot be healthy and fruit-bearing apart from the vine, a believer can only be spiritually healthy and productive when one with Himself.

Jesus is urging His listeners to go from believing in Him to abiding in Him. And, yes—there is a difference.

We know that branches which grow from grapevines or fruit trees don’t detach and reattach several times throughout the year. There is no “on again, off again” relationship between them. And the abundant joy that Christ wants us to have only flows in and through the believer who abides in Him.

This is important.

Those present during Christ’s exhortation to stick with Him for the long haul and bear much fruit have been termed by some as “a sorry lot”. His closest friends and disciples failed to stay awake and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night in which He was betrayed (Matthew 26:38-46). They scattered and ran when Jesus gave Himself over to arrest and abuse (Matthew 26:55-56). The apostle Peter buckled under pressure as night turned to day, emphatically stating he didn’t even know the man (Matthew 26:69-75).

Yet Jesus urged these individuals—and calls His followers today—to abide in Him, knowing in advance all would, at times, fail to do so (Psalm 139:4).

 What a marvel! What love!

My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My father’s commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:9-10)

Do you like the way Jesus tells us what we need to do and the “why” and “how” of it? His clear desire is that His Father be glorified; through our bearing much fruit. And while you and I live in a world where people around us are having identity crises, Jesus wants our identity as His disciples (followers) known and proven. That’s comforting!

He then compares the truth of the love between the Father and Himself with His own love for us, His disciples. This is astounding!

Jesus’ instruction that we abide in Him, as detailed above, is to abide in His love. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to live life walking in love? Christ’s followers aren’t brow-beaten people that He bosses around. We are His love and treasure!

We’re then given the best of assessment tools for gauging whether we are abiding in Him: if we keep His commandments. Any hour or day of the week, you and I can check how well we’re abiding in Christ by our adherence to His commands. That’s a gift!

So what happens when we’ve failed Him, perhaps not so differently from those we read of in Scripture? Friend, we take the available, direct path back to abiding in the vine:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

 That’s wonderful!

Thinking about concentrate made me curious as to just how many times the word abide appears in John 15:1-11. I began counting them one by one, childishly keeping track with my fingers as I read the passage. There are ten occurrences, leaving me with hands slightly raised and fully open after absorbing Christ’s gracious words.

What beauty and significance! Child-like faith and open-handedness seems an appropriate posture for letting go of lesser things in order to abide in Christ.

 And in so doing, our hands are ready to receive His joy, in abundance!

Jesus (who surrendered His hands to take crucifixion nails on our behalf) said, These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:11)

It’s a lot to think about.

And embrace!



People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.


  • Beryl says:

    What a wonderful blessing and comfort to know He gives such joy to me….richer and deeper than I ever expected and certainly more than I deserve. Lord, help me to allow Your joy to fill me to overflowing and spill out on everyone I come in contact with.

Leave a Reply