“I am like a sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the branches that are fruitless and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So enter into life-union with me, for I have entered into life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine.
“I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union
with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when
you live separated from me you are powerless. If you live separated from
me, you will be discarded like shriveled-up branches that are gathered up and
thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you step into my life in union with me
and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you
desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!
“I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. Let my love nourish your hearts. If you keep my commands, you will live in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands, for I am nourished and empowered by his love. My purpose for telling you these things is so that the joy that I experience will fill your hearts with overflowing gladness!
“So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have
loved you. For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this
great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends.
“You show that you are my intimate friends when you obey all that I
command you. I have never called you ‘servants,’ because a master doesn’t
confide in his servants, and servants don’t always understand what the master
is doing. But I call you my most intimate friends, for I reveal to you everything
that I’ve heard from my Father. You didn’t choose me, but I’ve chosen and
commissioned you to go into the world to bear fruit. And your fruit will last,
because whatever you ask of my Father, for my sake, he will give it to you! So
this is my parting command: Love one another deeply!
“Just remember, when the unbelieving world hates you, they first hated me.
If you were to give your allegiance to the world, they would love and welcome
you as one of their own. But because you won’t align yourself with the values of
this world, they will hate you. I have chosen you and taken you out of the world
to be mine. So remember what I taught you, that a servant isn’t superior to his master. And since they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. And if they obey my teachings, they will also obey yours. They will treat you this way
because you are mine, and they don’t know the One who sent me.
“If I had not come and revealed myself to the unbelieving world, they
would not feel the guilt of their sin, but now their sin is left uncovered. If
anyone hates me, they hate my Father also. If I had not performed miracles
in their presence like no one else has done, they would not feel the guilt of
their sins. But now, they have seen and hated both me and my Father. And all
of this has happened to fulfill what is written in their Scriptures:
They hated me for no reason.
“And I will send you the Divine Encourager from the very presence of
my Father. He will come to you, the Spirit of Truth, emanating from the Father,and he will speak to you about me. And you will tell everyone the truth about me, for you have walked with me from the start.”
“I have told you this so that you would not surrender to confusion or doubt.
For you will be excommunicated from the synagogues, and a time is coming
when you will be put to death by misguided ones who will presume to be
doing God a great service by putting you to death. And they will do these
things because they don’t know anything about the Father or me. I’m telling
you this now so that when their time comes you will remember that I foretold
it. I didn’t tell you this in the beginning because I was still with you. But now
that I’m about to leave you and go back to join the One who sent me, you
need to be told. Yet, not one of you are asking me where I’m going. Instead
your hearts are filled with sadness because I’ve told you these things. But
here’s the truth: it’s to your advantage that I go away, for if I don’t go away the
Divine Encourager will not be released to you. But after I depart, I will send
him to you. And when he comes, he will expose sin and prove that the world
is wrong about God’s righteousness and his judgments.
“‘Sin,’ because they refuse to believe in who I am.
“God’s ‘righteousness,’ because I’m going back to join the Father and
you’ll see me no longer.
“And ‘judgment’ because the ruler of this dark world has already
received his sentence.