Read John 15
Depending on the translation of Scripture that you are reading you either encountered the word “abide” or the word “remain.” These words come from a Greek word that has the conotations of “existing in” or “being present to” whatever subject, in this case, God’s love. This is a deep and intimate word because it cannot be passive, it has to be a conscious, active decision.
John’s recording of this conversation echoes Jesus’ teaching in the sermon on the mount, emphasizing that the fruit we bear is how we will be identified. Here, however, He takes it a step further to impress upon them both the need to bear fruit and the way in which that will happen.
If we are to bear fruit we cannot do it under our own power or by our own works. Only through a deep abiding in Jesus Christ, being present to His love in our lives, living into the grace that He offers, do we have any hope of this. For some this can be very comforting; we are glad that we don’t have to do it on our own.
However, for others this teaching of Jesus can be very tough. America is the place in which we do things on our own, pull ourselves up by our boot straps, and earn our way forward. Being told that we cannot earn our way toward bearing fruit, and that there are consequences for those that bear no fruit, can be unsettling to say the least.
But the simple fact is that Jesus has already spoken to this, 6 other times in fact. Each of the I AM statements is a claim and a promise: that He is the only way to a relationship with God and that He will open that way for us.