By Eric D. Huntsman
One of the beautiful contributions of John to our understanding of the events and teachings of Jesus’ last night are passages that include Jesus’ last discourses and his beautiful Intercessory Prayer (John 13:31–17:26). Delivered in the Upper Room where the Last Supper was held and then along the way to the Mount of Olives, chapters 14 and 16 focus on the imminent departure of the Savior. However, they also frame—and hence emphasize—chapter 15 with its beautiful image of the disciples abiding in Jesus as branches in a vine.
In other words, while he may be going away physically, he will nonetheless be present among believers in a real way. Just as branches derive their life and strength from the main vine, so we draw our spiritual life from Christ, without whom we would die spiritually. Abiding in him we live and receive strength—or grace—to bring forth “much fruit” and enjoy his love (John 15:1–10).