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The Vine and its Branches

( Originally Published 1915 )

JESUS SAW that his disciples were greatly disturbed at his words, as he spoke of going away to some place where they could not go with him, and leaving them alone among people who were his enemies; especially as he told Peter that he would soon disown his Master, and that all the rest of the disciples should leave him to suffer alone. Jesus tried to comfort them in their fears and their sorrows.

"Do not be troubled in your hearts," he said to them; "trust in God, and trust in me, and in my words. In my Father's dwelling-place there are many homes. I am going to prepare a place for you; and when I have prepared it, I will come back and take you to be with me there, so that you may be where I am. And you know the way to the place where I am going."

"Master," said Thomas, "we do not know where you are going; and how then are we to know the way?"

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life," answered Jesus. "No one ever comes to the Father in any way except through me. If you knew me, you would know my Father also. You know him now, and have seen him; for you have seen me."

"Master," said Philip, "let us see the Father; that is all that we want."

"Have I been with you all this time, Philip," answered Jesus, "and yet you do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. What do you mean by saying, `Let us see the Father'? Do you not believe that the Father and I are one, that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I speak are my Father's words; and the works that I do are my Father's works. I tell you truly, that whoever believes in me shall do the very works that I do; and he shall do even greater works than these. I am going to the Father, and whatever you ask the Father in my name that I will do, that the Father may be honored in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

"If you love me," Jesus went on, "you will do what-ever I have told you to do; and I will ask the Father to give you another Helper to be with you always. That Helper is the Spirit of Truth. The people of this world cannot have the Spirit, because they do not see him nor know him. But you know him, because he is always with you, and is within you. I will not leave you alone in your sorrow; I am coming to you. A little while longer, and the world will see me no more; but you will see me, for I am living, and you will be living, too. He who has my commands and keeps them in his heart is the one who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father; and I will love him and I will make myself known to him."

Then said one of the disciples named Judas—not Judas Iscariot the traitor (he had gone out), but another Judas, the brother of James—" How is it, Lord, that you are to make yourself known to us and not to the world?"

"If any one loves hie," answered Jesus, "he will obey my word; and my Father will love him; and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my words; and the word to which you are listening is not my own word, but the word of the Father who sent me. I have told you all this while I am still with you, but the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send to you to take my place, he will teach you all that you need to know and he will bring to your mind all that I have said to you. Peace be with you! My own peace I give you. I do not give my peace to you as the world gives its `peace.' Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.

"You heard me say that I was going away and soon afterward coming back to you. If you loved me fully, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I am. I have told you all this—that I am going away before it hap-pens, so that when it does happen, as it will very soon, you ' may still believe in me, and believe that I am coming again."

Then Jesus gave to his disciples another parable, "The Vine and the Branches."

He said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower, the Master of the vineyard. You, my disciples, and all who believe in me, are the branches of the vine. If the vine-grower finds on his vine any branches that bear no fruit, he cuts them off, for they are of no use. If he finds branches that bear fruit, he trims them and cleans them, so that they may bear better fruit. You are already clean through the word that I have spoken to you. Keep united to me, the vine, and I will keep united to you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself when separate from the vine, no more can you bear fruit unless you stay united to me.

"Remember, I am the vine, and you are the branches. He who keeps himself in union with me, and keeps me in union with himself bears rich fruit. But apart from me you can do nothing. If any one does not stay united to me, he is thrown away, just as a branch would be, and he withers up; then the worthless, withered branches are gathered and thrown into the fire and are burned.

"If you stay united to me, and my teaching stays in your hearts, you may ask whatever you wish, and it shall be yours. As you bear rich fruit and prove yourselves my disciples, my Father is honored. As my Father has loved me, so I have loved you; stay in my love. If you keep my commands in your hearts, you will stay in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commands in my heart and dwell in his love."



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