To understand John 15:4-8, we must leap forward to John 15:9. It says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” Jesus is talking about God’s Love expressed through himself to them and how receiving and abiding in that love brings about the spiritual fruit of love in the branches who “abide” in it. When commenting on the “Fruit” of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23, most writers talk about the “fruits” (plural) of the Spirit and then quote the passage which says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Please notice that every translation gets it right when it uses the singular for fruit. It doesn’t say the “fruits” of the spirit “are” love, etc.… It says the fruit of the spirit “is” love. Love is the fruit and joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness and self-control proceed from love.

The fruitfulness that Jesus is speaking of in John 15 refers to the spiritual fruit of love. Jesus is the branch and through him flows God’s love that reproduces itself in us. This is what Paul meant in Ephesians 3:17. He prays that his readers, “…being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” The fullness of God is “Christ.” The fullness of Christ is love. It is love that nourishes and brings forth joy. This is what Jesus concludes in John 15:11. He closes this part of his passage by saying, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” He’ll then move into a deeper discussion about “love.”

John 15:12-17 says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” I hate to admit it but the Beatles were right: “All you need is love.” Paul (the Apostle not the Beatle) says in Romans 13:8 to owe no man anything but love. Then in verse 10 he says that love fulfills the law. 1 John 4:16 says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” Faith and hope are important, but love is greater than both according to 1 Corinthians 13. Paul (The Beatle not the Apostle) is right: “Love, love, love! All you need is love.”