Day 51: Mutual Dependence

As the Last Supper was winding down, Jesus dropped a really cool analogy on the disciples. It might seem simple on the surface, but when you dive deeper, Jesus was laying out some incredibly important truths to them.

This teaching begins with a few familiar comparisons. The vine was a popular symbol in Scripture (Psalm 80:8-9; Mark 12:1-12 are a few examples), and we frequently see Jesus describe our relationship as one where we must depend on God: a child to a father, a sheep to a shepherd, and here, a vine to a branch.

These are very important teachings, as is the description of pruning in verse 2.

But I want to take today to focus very intentionally on a point Jesus drives home several times in this passage:

  • “Remain in me, as I also remain in you.” (John 15:4)
  • “If you remain in me, and I in you…” (John 15:5)
  • “If you remain in me and my words remain in you…” (John 15:7)

Key in on the second part of each of those phrases. Jesus requests devotion in the first half of the sentence, but doesn’t do so without promising His presence. He will stay with us always!

This is what separates Jesus from any other king or god the world has tried to worship. Jesus promised mutual relationship. He is not some master who solely demands His subjects worship Him. Rather, He promises that He will remain with us through it all. There is nothing you go through alone because your King is with you.

I think there’s a reason Jesus kept repeating that phrase to the disciples. They were about to endure a terrifying, confusing few days in which their Master would be killed. Though there would be pain, Jesus wanted to hammer home and leave no shadow of a doubt that His presence would be with them through it all. He was about to be taken away physically, but never would He truly leave them.

And this promise extends to us today. It’s a callback to Deuteronomy 31:6:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

There’s something about just having somebody with you, right? We all need people to laugh with, embrace, cry with, and just enjoy their presence. Both good times and bad are easier when you have a companion you can entrust your life to.

When I lost my job in 2018 and struggled to find a new one, I severely struggled with self-worth. No employer seemed to want me; why would anyone else? I felt useless and powerless.

My wife, Sarah, was my rock. She encouraged and uplifted me every day. She reminded me of my previous successes and assured me better days were ahead. She told me jokes to lighten my mood when I couldn’t find anything to smile about.

She was incredible.

And yet, great as she was, I felt Jesus’ words from John 15 in that moment. I specifically remember one day just looking in the mirror, contemplating why I existed. Tears streamed down my face. It was probably the lowest moment of my life.

And then, out of nowhere, I felt uplifted. Nothing changed physically, but something within me shifted. I heard words in my head that I don’t think were my own thoughts: “I love you.”

That’s Jesus. And He will always remain in you.