John 15:1–10, Abide in me.
What Does It Mean to Abide in YHVH-Yeshua?
Here is a list of scriptures that speak of “abiding” with or in YHVH in some way.
YHVH, who shall abide [Heb. goor meaning “to sojourn, dwell for a time, stay for a while, to assemble oneself with, to seek hospitality with”] in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? (Ps 15:1)
I will abide [Heb. goor] in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. (Ps 61:4)
He shall abide [Heb. yashab meaing “to sit down, to set, to remain, to stay”] before Elohim for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him. (Ps 61:7)
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide [Heb. luwn meaning “to temporarily lodge, pass the night, stop over”] under the shadow of the Almighty. (Ps 91:1)
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide [Gr. meno meaning “to remain, to sojourn, tarry, not to depart, to continue to be present, to be held, kept, continually] in darkness. (John 12:46)
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide [Gr. meno] with you for ever. (John 14:16)
Abide [Gr. meno] in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide [Gr. meno] in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide [Gr. meno] in me .… 6 If a man abide [Gr. meno] not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned .… If ye abide [Gr. meno] in me, and my words abide [Gr. meno] in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you .… If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide [Gr. meno] in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide [Gr. meno] in his love. (John 15:4–10)
Let that therefore abide [Gr. meno] in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall abide [Gr. meno] in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. … But the anointing which ye have received of him abide [Gr. meno] in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing [chrisma, that which is smeared with oil] teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide [Gr. meno] in him. 28 And now, little children, abide [Gr. meno] in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. (1 John 2:24, 27–28)
Humans Are Like Tree
In several places, the Bible poetically likens humans to trees.
But his delight is in the law of YHVH; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. (Ps 1:2)
For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: 4 And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses. (Isa 44:3)
Blessed is the man that trusteth in YHVH, and whose hope YHVH is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. (Jer 17:7)
Lessons from a Tree on How to Abide in Yeshua, Who Is Our Tree of Life
Now let’s combine the concept of abiding, humans being like trees and Yeshua as it relates to his teaching about abiding in him in John 15.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide1 in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide2 in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide3 in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth4 in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me5, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide6 in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide7 in his love. (John 15:1–10; the superscripted numbers indicate the word abide occurs seven times in the passage as it relates to a righteous person abiding in Yeshua.)
Yeshua relates the concept of abiding in him to a plant or a tree with branches in John 15:1–10. What are the spiritual implications of abiding in Yeshua and how do we abide in him?
The term abide is found nine times in this passage. Seven of the those nine times are in reference to abiding in Yeshua or his Father. Seven is the biblical number of completion or perfection. When we abide in Yeshua and his Father, then we’re made perfect or complete in all areas of our life: spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. The result is that we will bear much spiritual fruit for him; namely, we will produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Gal 5:22–23).
Let’s explore the spiritual dynamics of abiding in Yeshua that enable us to be spiritually complete and to produce good fruit that will result in changing the world around us for the better, and keep us on the path of righteousness, which leads to eternal life as sons and daughters of Elohim in his heaven on earth kingdom.
Here are some things we can learn from John 15:
- We are made clean (Gr. katharos meaning “to be made pure, blameless, innocent; free of corrupt desire, sin, guilt and from that which is false”) through the Word of Elohim (John 15:3, 7).
- We must continue or abide in the love of Yeshua by keeping his and the Father’s commandments (John 15:10).
- We must love one another (John 15:12–17). How do we do this?
- We must practice the key elements Yeshua taught in the Sermon on the Mount. This includes living by the golden rule: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt 7:12).
- What are the results of abiding in Yeshua?
- We become clean, pure, free of sin, corruption, defilement and guilt (John 15:3).
- We will bear much spiritual fruit (John 15:5). What fruit? The fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–25).
- We will avoid being burned up in the (lake of) fire (John 15:6 cp. Rev 20:15). This is the fate of the wicked.
- We can ask whatever we want of the Father and he will give it to us (John 15:7, 16).
- Glory will come to the Father as a result of our bearing much spiritual fruit (John 15:8).
- We will be filled with joy (John 15:11).
- We will become the friends of Yeshua (John 15:14).
Yeshua likened his followers to tree branches that when attached to him will produce much fruit. Let’s examine tree biology to see what we can learn spiritually from how trees operate.
Trees are phototropic. Tropism is the orientation of the direction of the tree’s growth in response to external stimulus. The leaves of a tree are phototropic. They orient themselves to catch the maximum energy from the sun’s light, so they can produce food through the biological process of photosynthesis. In reality, leaves and needles are like little solar panels.
Spiritual parallel: Yeshua is the Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2) whose face shines like the sun (Rev 1:16). He is also the Light of the world that shines into the spiritual darkness (John 1:4–5; 8:12) and the righteous man orients himself to catch the spiritual light and energy from Yeshua.
Trees are geotropic. They grow upward away from the earth and toward heaven.
Spiritual parallel: The spirit of a righteous man naturally reaches away from this earth and toward Elohim in heaven, though man’s flesh is composed of earth’s elements with his feet planted firmly in this world and is thus inclined toward the things of this earth. His soul (his mind, will and emotions), on the other hand, is in the middle with both heaven and earth battling for control over it. Man, like a tree, must resist gravity (the downward pull) and reach for heaven if they are to improve spiritually and morally and eventually achieve immortality.
Trees are hydrotropic. The roots of a tree sense water and grow in that direction. As the roots reach deeper into the earth for water, this makes the tree strong and able to resist wind and drought.
Spiritual parallel: The righteous man is planted by the river of life (Ps 1:3), which is the Torah-Word of Elohim), and draws up water from the wells of salvation (i.e. Yeshua; see Isa 12:3). When a man sinks his spiritual roots deeply into the word of Elohim, he will be like the wise man who built his house on the solid rock of Yeshua, the Living Word of Elohim, and be able to resist the storms of life (Matt 7:24–27).
Trees suck up nutrients. Trees pull up water and nutrients from the soil through the roots and these are translocated throughout the rest of the tree in several ways: through osmotic pressure, through cell attraction, and through evaporation of water from the leaves into the atmosphere (called transpiration). The evaporation of water from the leaves of trees not only helps to keep the tree cool in the heat of the sun, but helps to cool the surrounding area. The tree doesn’t have to work, fight or struggle to make this process happen. It just happens.
Spiritual parallel: We must be like a tree planted by the waters of YHVH’s Word (Ps 1:3) whose roots suck up the life-giving sustenance of that life-giving Word. As a result, we will bear much fruit because we’re feeding on the Word of Elohim, and our leaf will not wither in the heat and rigors of life’s trials, for the Word of Elohim will help guide and protect us. By abiding in Yeshua, this process will happen naturally and spontaneously.
Trees produce fruit. As water is pulled upward through the xylem and nutrients through the phloem (a tree trunk’s innermost bark layer containing living tissues that carry organic nutrient to the rest of the tree—i.e. it’s the tree’s vascular system), the sunlight captured in leaf cells containing chloroplasts (the green pigment that reflect the sun’s light and captures the blue and red parts of sunlight that drive the process of photosynthesis) through a series of complex chemical reactions called photosynthesis that use the sun’s energy to convert the minerals in the water into simple sugars called glucose along with starch and cellulose. During these chemical reactions, water molecules are split apart into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. The hydrogen atoms combine with carbon dioxide molecules to make glucose, and oxygen is released as a by-product. The food that is produced from this process is used to grow the tree and to produce stems, roots, leaves, flowers and fruit. The process by which chemical energy generated by photosynthesis and is stored as sugar and starch and is used by the tree is called respiration. In this amazing process, trees (along with all plants) purify the air by taking otherwise useless carbon dioxide and turning into the oxygen that humans and animals breathe.
Spiritual parallel: YHVH’s Set-Apart Spirit is like the sap in the tree that flows throughout the tree energizing it resulting in fruit production. All this occurs as the we suck up the nutrient-filled water of YHVH’s Word, which feeds and energizes us spiritually. The Comforter or Helper of YHVH (the Spirit of Elohim) aids us in metabolizing or assimilating the word and the life of Torah or Yeshua into our entire being resulting in our manifesting the fruit of the Spirit. Through this life producing process that is occurring in us, we make the world around us more liveable.
What is the bottom line? Trees don’t struggle to produce food and fruit. They simply abide, and through naturally occurring processes that just occur, they grow and produce fruit. If Yeshua abides in us and we abide in him, through the work of his Set-Apart Spirit in us as we feed on YHVH’s Word, we will be naturally producing the fruit of the Spirit, so that everything we do, say and think should imitate him. We should be outgrowths and extensions of his life and a reflection of him in every way to those around us.
Yeshua is the tree of life. Abide him!