Reflecting on John 15 4-17

We are studying John 15:4-17 for Sunday, November 8 – Jesus’s metaphor of the vine and the branches, and repetition of the commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.” [Some notes on the text are here, and here.] Here are a few questions about the text we might want to consider:
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What do we understand the term “abide” to mean? What do we understand Jesus’s statement “abide in me” to mean?

Jesus uses the image of a vine and branches to communicate what he means. How does a branch “abide” in a vine? Does this affect our thoughts on what it means to “abide” in Jesus? How?

[More personal] What, concretely, do we think of as “abiding”? Does it include things people do? Things people don’t do? Things people think, or feel? Other? What makes us say this?

[A lot more personal] Are we ourselves “abiding”? What makes us say this?
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What do we understand Jesus to mean by “fruit” in verse 8, and verse 16? What does “bearing fruit” look like, in human terms, do we think? How have we learned this?

How do we think “fruit” is related to various measures of “success”? Why do we think that?
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In verse 11, Jesus says he has said “these things” so that the disciples can share Jesus’s joy. Considering the context – that is, knowing that Jesus is on his way to be arrested, and then crucified, and then resurrected – what does this tell us about joy?

What are the things Jesus has said that make for joy, do we think? Why do we think that? That is – in what way or ways are these things “joyful,” in our view?

[More personal] How joyful are we, ourselves? What do we think that means for us?
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travellers stopping for a conversation by a wooded stream

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