If A leads to B leads to C leads to D, then we can conclude...
Well, Jesus sometimes thinks in a linear way, too. In fact, I think what He wanted to do was to communicate with all kinds of thinkers. In John 15, he's thinking about the logical-type in an agricultural society.
- 'If you have a branch on a vine that isn't bearing fruit, you cut it off'
- 'Branches that stay connected to the vine bear a lot of fruit'
- 'Branches that are not connected to the vine cannot accomplish their intended purpose (bearing fruit)'
If you obey my commands, you remain in my love. If you Love each other like I loved you, you are obeying my commands. Putting aside your life for your friends' lives is how I loved you. You are my friends if you obey my commands. My command is this: Love each other.
Do you see? It's very linear.
But that doesn't mean that questions don't abound:
- Jesus says in 15:5 that 'apart from me, you can do nothing.' But people who don't follow Jesus do accomplish things...good things. So, what does he mean by that?
- What exactly is the fruit Jesus is talking about?
- Am I bearing any of that kind of fruit? Are you? (this is rhetorical, but for your self-reflection).
- Do I really love the people around me the way that Jesus wants me to?
Juxtaposed to this is the second half of the chapter, which talks about hate. You should love each other, but the world will hate you.
And finally, some relief. Jesus promises the Counselor.
There are many, many questions here. Lots of places for God to speak into your life.
Why don't you take a few minutes today and spend them alone with God, asking Him some of these questions. As a matter of fact, I'm going to grab my coffee right now and take a walk and ask Him where I'm not fully living a life of love towards others and how I can be better connected to the vine so that I can bear more fruit.