John 15:16 MEANING

John 15:16
(16) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.--Comp. Luke 6:12 et seq., and in this Gospel John 6:70; John 13:18. The thought of His love for them, which had exalted them from the position of slaves to friends, from fishermen to Apostles, is made to remind them again (John 15:17) of the duty of love to each other. In John 15:20 he reminds them of the words which accompanied His own act of humility in washing their feet (John 13:15-16). The chiefest Apostle owed all to His gift and election, and should be ready to sacrifice all for his brethren, as He Himself was.

And ordained you.--The word "ordained" has acquired a special sense in modern English which is here misleading, and it will be better, therefore, to read appointed.

That ye should go and bring forth fruit.--Comp. Matthew 13:44; Matthew 18:15; Matthew 19:21, for the idea of going away and doing something. It implies here the activity of the Apostles as distinct from that of Christ. Each one as a branch ever joined to Christ was to grow away from Him in the development of his own work, and was to bring forth his own fruit. The margin compares Matthew 28:19, probably, with the thought of their fulfilling the Apostle's missionary work. This view has been commonly adopted, but it gives to the word "go'" a fulness of meaning which is scarcely warranted.

And that your fruit should remain.--Comp. Note on John 4:36; and see 2 John 1:8, and Revelation 14:13.

That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father.--Comp. Notes on John 15:7-8.

Verse 16. - From the thirteenth to the fifteenth verse, our Lord, in a brief digression, has justified a portion of the great commandment of mutual love. That love is to correspond with his love to the disciples, and to explain his self-sacrifice to them; he proves to them that they are his "friends," and therefore the objects of his dying love. Then the appeal is still further clenched by showing the origin and purport of his friendship for them. Ye did not choose me (ἐξελέξασθε... ἐξελεξάμην are middle, "you chose... I chose... for yourselves or for myself"), but I chose you. I selected you as individuals, not excluding thereby a gracious choice of other souls; I destined you to accomplish work dear to me and essential to my kingdom. Christ has already told them that he must "go away" from' them to the Father, and that they "cannot follow him now, but afterwards;" and he has also convinced them that, though he go away, he will "come again, and abide with them," and also that "severed" from him they can "do nothing." Consequently when he adds, I appointed you (see 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 1:2; Acts 20:28, for similar use of τιθέναι) as my apostles and representatives, to do work in my Name, there is no contradiction in his adding, that ye should go forth, depart into the world with my message and in my Name, as I am "departing" to the Father, to rule over you from a higher and more august position. And bear fruit. A passing reference to the imagery of the first part of the chapter, showing that their "going forth or away" upon this mission would not separate them from his Spirit, or divide the link without which they could bear no fruit at all. The "fruit" may here, in its issues, suggest another class of ideas. In the first case the "fruit" was the "fruit of the Spirit," but here it would seem to be the abiding consequence of the "greater works" which they would be called upon to do. This rich fruit includes all the victories they were to win over souls, and all the effects of their ministry. "Fruit" in either case is only valuable when it is utilized by the Husbandman and according to his purpose. "Fruit" is a Divine self-exhaustion of the living organism; it does no good to the branch nor to the stem; it is the sacred property of the husbandman, whether for his own joy or for fresh seed. In this case your fruit will abide for ever, not in the branch, but in the Father's hands, that (ἵνα) whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my Name, he may give it you. It now becomes a question whether the second ἵνα introduces a clause which is co-ordinate with the former or one logically depending on the preceding. Meyer concludes the first, viz. that the granting of prayer brings about the fruit and its continuance (so De Wette, Lucke, Stier, Godet); and Olshausen maintains the second, viz. that by going and bringing forth fruit we enter into that relation with God from which proceeds the prayer in the name of the Son which the Father will grant, thus bringing the passage into close relation with John 14:13 and John 16:23. Hengstenberg says, "By their fruit they would show themselves to be true disciples of Christ, and to such the Father can deny nothing." But Westcott and Lange endeavor to combine both ideas. The co-ordination of the two clauses requires the inversion of their order, or the introduction of καὶ before the second ἵνα. Moreover, the thought that Christ chose and appointed them in order that whatsoever they should ask God would give, is out of harmony with "the conditions of acceptable prayer" elsewhere insisted on; while the bearing of fruit - in both senses,

(a) that of Christian grace and

(b) Christian usefulness = - completes the idea in a concrete form of abiding in Christ and having His Words abiding in them. Surely the view that the Second clause is conditioned by the First, is far from obscure, as Luthardt Says, while He virtually accepts the same interpretatio," see John 16:24.)

15:9-17 Those whom God loves as a Father, may despise the hatred of all the world. As the Father loved Christ, who was most worthy, so he loved his disciples, who were unworthy. All that love the Saviour should continue in their love to him, and take all occasions to show it. The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment, but the joy of those who abide in Christ's love is a continual feast. They are to show their love to him by keeping his commandments. If the same power that first shed abroad the love of Christ's in our hearts, did not keep us in that love, we should not long abide in it. Christ's love to us should direct us to love each other. He speaks as about to give many things in charge, yet names this only; it includes many duties.Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,.... Not but that they had made choice of him as their Lord and Master, Saviour and Redeemer; but not first, he was before hand with them; he chose them, before they chose him; so that his choice of them was entirely free, did not arise from any character, motive, or condition in them: the allusion is to a custom of the Jews, the reverse of which Christ acted; with whom it was usual for disciples to choose their own masters, and not masters their disciples: hence that advice of R. Joshuah ben Perachiah, said (r) to be the master of Jesus of Nazareth,

(s), "make", provide, or chose "thyself a master", and get thyself a companion.''

Those words in Sol 2:16; "my beloved is mine, and I am his", are thus paraphrased by the Jews (t);

"he hath chosen me, and I have chosen him:''

which is not amiss, provided the latter choice is thought to be by virtue, and in consequence of the former; if not, our Lord directly opposes the words and sense. This may be understood both of election to salvation, and of choice to the office of apostleship; in both which Christ was first, or chose them before they chose him, that good part, which shall never be taken away; for as they were chosen in him, so by him, before the foundation of the world; being as early loved by him, as by his Father; and in consequence thereof, were chosen by him, for his people and peculiar treasure; he first chose and called them to be his disciples and apostles, to follow him, preach his Gospel, and become fishers of men; and clothed them with full power and authority to exercise their high office:

and ordained you; which may design either ordination to eternal life, or apostleship, before the world began; as Jeremiah was ordained to be a prophet, before he was born; or else the investiture of them with that office, and with all gifts and graces necessary for the discharge of it; for when he called and sent forth his disciples to preach the Gospel, he is said to "ordain" them, Mark 3:14; and the rather this may be meant here, because the former is designed by his choosing them; or he set them, or planted them in himself, a fruitful soil, that they might shoot up and bear much fruit, as it follows:

that ye should go and bring forth fruit; go first into Judea, and then into all the world; and brings forth the fruits of righteousness and holiness in themselves, and be the happy means of the conversion, and so of bringing in a large harvest of souls to Jesus Christ:

and that your fruit should remain; as it has done; for they not only persevered themselves in faith and holiness, in preaching the Gospel, and living according to it, but the persons whose conversion they were instruments of, continued steadfastly in their doctrine, and in the fellowship of the saints; and the Gospel which was preached by them, has remained, though not always in the same place, yet in the world ever since:

that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. This is added, to encourage their perseverance in the work he chose and called them to, which would be attended with many difficulties and discouragements; wherefore as they would stand in need of divine assistance, they might assure themselves of it; for be it what it would they should ask of his Father, making mention of his name and righteousness; whether for a sufficiency of gifts and grace in the discharge of their duty; or for success in it; or for the confirmation of the truths delivered by them; or for liberty and boldness to speak in vindication of themselves, when called to it before kings and governors, it should be given them.

(r) Ganz Tzemach David, fol. 24. 2.((s) Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 6. (t) Zohar in Exod. fol. 9. 1.

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