Remain in Me, and I in you.
Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in Me. “I am the vine; you are the branches.
The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit,
because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me,
he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers.
If you remain in Me and My words remain in you,
ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit,
showing yourselves to be my disciples.
In the rarefied atmosphere of theology Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles and methods of interpreting the biblical text. Have I impressed you? Actually, when it comes to any biblical text, there are some $1.00 principles. The text above illustrates one: a word that is used multiple times in a defined context is mostly likely extremely important. Such is the case with the word “remain(s)“.
The Greek word is μένω. The root of the word has to do with spatial location. On this foundation, however, is built the idea of attachment and connection, staying and dwelling in a specific location. For example, you may have been on an extended trip. After visiting many geographical locations you desire to go ‘home‘. You may have used the phrase, “There’s no place like home!” Now then, whatever “home” means to you, that’s precisely what’s conveyed in this word “remain“. Of this I spoke in The Basics section of this blog: The Means of Life: Connection to Jesus,
One of the most famous stories in the Gospels is that of the “Prodigal Son”, though, I believe, it ought to be called the “Heart of the Father.” Below is an abbreviated version.
Then Jesus said, “A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the property.’ So the father divided his property between his two sons. “After a few days, the younger son gathered his possessions and left for a country far away from home. There he wasted everything he had on a wild lifestyle. Finally, he had nothing to live on. He was so hungry that he would have eaten what the pigs were eating. It was then that “he came to himself” and said, I’ll go home to my father. “So he went home. While he was still at a distance, his father saw him and felt sorry for him. He ran to his son, put his arms around him, and kissed him. The Father said, ‘My son was dead and has come back to life!” (Luke 15:11-24)
Thinking he could make it on his own, unattached from home / father, the son left for a distant country, getting as far from the father as he could, “far away from home.” Soon, however, the son had to resort to the food of pigs. In his circumstance of hunger, a light went on. Apart from his father / home he would not make it on his own. The food of pigs (for those who want to know, look into the Hebrew attitude about pork) was totally inadequate, to the point of death. So, having “come to himself“, the son went home!
Arriving home, he experienced the lavishness of the Father’s heart! Home meant nothing less than the nourishment of grace and mercy, that which alone is Life. (John 14:6) Remaining is nothing more or less than “staying at home”!
This may surprise you but this is the essence of Steps 2-3 of the Twelve Step program!