“Apart From Jesus” ( John 15: 5, NEB ) by Carley Evans


Jesus says, “I Am the vine, and you are the branches. He who dwells in Me, as I dwell in him, bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

 

Jesus confirms for us that without Him, apart from Him we have no power, no ability, no hope. We can literally do nothing — nothing for ourselves, nothing for others, and certainly nothing for Jesus. Without Jesus, we wither. Withered branches do not bear fruit. They “are heaped together, thrown on the fire, and burnt.” (John 15:6) In one sense, withered branches are destroyed not because they are “bad,” but because they are worthless.

 

When attached to the vine, branches produce fruit. “This is My Father’s glory,” says Jesus, “that you may bear fruit in plenty and be My disciples.” (John 15:8)

 

Jesus tells us we also gain His own joy, a complete joy. We also, as we remain attached to Him, are capable of loving one another. Jesus shows us the greatest love — the love that allows Jesus to lay down His life for us. Jesus tells us, “You did not choose Me; I chose you.” (John 15:16)

“Regard Others As New Creations” (1 John 4: 11 – 12, ESV) by Carley Evans


The author of 1 John says that God’s “love is perfected in us.”

God is perfect; His love is perfect — lacking in nothing. How is it that His love is perfected in us?

Jesus says to His disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15: 13 – 14)

Jesus dies not to remain on the cross or in the grave; instead Jesus is raised to live both in us and at the right hand of God the Father, where He intercedes for us. His love is expressed to us from heaven, but it is also expressed through us as we love one another on earth. In this sense, God’s love is perfected in us.

Paul says that no one dies for an enemy, and that hardly anyone dies even for a friend; but Jesus does both — He dies for His friends even when we are still enemies. (Romans 5: 6 – 8)

What is Jesus’ command? He commands us to love one another as He loves us.

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we conclude this: that one dies for all, therefore all die; and He dies for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake dies and is raised. From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh…Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is passed away; behold, the new is come.” (2 Corinthians 5: 14 – 17)

“A Life Of Love” (Ephesians 5: 1 – 2, NIV) by Carley Evans


Paul calls us “to live a life of love.” We are to “be imitators of God.”

“Then Mary takes about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she pours it on Jesus’ feet and wipes His feet with her hair. And the house is filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12: 3)

Mary loves Jesus. As she shows Him her love, the fragrance of her act fills the house. Everyone is privy to the redolence of her life of love. Only Jesus’ betrayer protests.

Jesus washes Peter’s feet as well as the feet of His other disciples. “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call Me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I Am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13: 12 – 15)

Jesus calls us to “love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15: 12) He calls us to imitate God — God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. God, who loves Himself and who loves us enough to give up Himself to death, to death on a tree.

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Galatians 5: 14, ESV)