Homes have rules to maintain some sense of sanity and order. Breaking the house rules can earn a statement along the lines of, “If you are going to live in my house …” The point is clear: follow the rules so we can all get along and live with one another.
In this passage Jesus speaks about what it looks like for those He has called to be in His house. Clearly there are expectations. You must produce! That’s a lot of pressure. And, the consequences are frightening. Withering? Being cut off? Thrown into the fire?! The severity of the consequences begs the question (and begs for an answer), “How do I produce?” Jesus is clear when he speaks to the issue of production: You can’t.
This is hardly a fair or reasonable. How can Jesus justify such an impossible task? He doesn’t. He justifies the tasked. In John 15:3 Jesus announces, “You are already clean.” We are clean because of Jesus and what He has done. As far as production goes, what John 15 calls “bearing fruit” is straightforward as well. The work demanded by Jesus is make every effort to be abide. To remain in Him. Jesus tells us that in Him we work and grow and produce because we are in Him. Outside of Him anything accomplished by any other standard is worthless to God. Toils destined for the trash.
We shouldn’t be surprised. His house rules have never changed and neither have their purposes. God wants us to find our joy in Him because it brings glory to Him. It was that way for His first image-bearers in the garden (Genesis 1), it will be that way in the end. He simply asks that we be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46).
Thank you Jesus for allowing us to abide in You. Please help me bear fruit that shows my home is in You. Please make that fruit attractive to others so they will seek You.