Jesus’ encouraging words to his disciples continue, and while we aren’t told this explicitly, the group is probably now outside, most likely among grapevines. This prompts Jesus to share his most vivid teaching about the absolute necessity of our dependence on him if we want to experience the life that is truly life. (He may also be reflecting on Isaiah 5:1-7.) As you read the first half of this chapter, be thinking through how you can better “remain in Me,” as Jesus commands.
The second half of the chapter understandably follows the first – as we seek to remain in Jesus, with his words remaining in us, we may find it a rough journey. The life of following Jesus is never presented in Scripture as an easy life, and so Jesus prepares his disciples for the challenges that lay ahead. We would do well to take these words to heart as we follow Jesus in our world today.