ODJ: rather odd . . .

July 2, 2015 

READ: John 15:1-7 

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing (v.5).

Apart from Me, you can do nothing.

When I read John 15:5 the other day, the words of Jesus struck me as rather odd: “Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” I then wondered how these words might have struck the disciples when they heard them. Did they think of Jesus as a dictator, a type of control freak who wanted to keep a tight rein on all of their activities—someone always making sure they were under His strict surveillance? That type of speech seems abusive and oppressive. When they heard it for the first time did they wonder if Jesus was an insane egomaniac who had tricked them into joining a religious cult? I mean, what healthy person goes around telling others, “Apart from me you can do nothing”?

If the disciples didn’t believe Jesus was God and the expected Christ (John 1:41-45, 4:26, 10:30-33), the promised Messiah who loved them deeply (15:12-13), they wouldn’t have accepted “for apart from me you can do nothing”. In fact, later the apostle John wrote, “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

The disciples truly believed that Jesus was who He claimed to be: God incarnate (Matthew 1:23), the Saviour of the world (John 3:16; Acts 4:12) and the One who loved them deeply (Zephaniah 3:17). That’s why they were willing to suffer persecution and death for His sake. And if the disciples who walked with Jesus staked their lives on Him, so can we. Even if His words seem to be odd, we can trust Him. He’s proven Himself to be faithful and trustworthy—the true Son of God!

—Marlena Graves

365-day-plan: Matthew 6:19-34

Read 1 John 1:1-5 and consider why the disciples’ eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life resulted in joy. 
Where in your life do you have difficulty trusting Jesus and His words? What does it mean for you to remain in Him today?