Notes & Commentary:
Ver 1. I
am the true vine. Christ, says St. Augustine, speaks of himself, as man, when he compares himself to a vine, his
disciples to the branches, and his Father to the husbandman. He himself, as God, is also the husbandman. ---
Without me, you can do nothing, that shall be meritorious of a reward in heaven. (Witham) --- These words are supposed
to have been spoken by our Saviour, when on the road, as he was going from the house, where he had supped, to the garden of
Olives. It was then about midnight. (Calmet) --- Though many other interpreters think they were spoken before Jesus Christ
left the house.
Ver. 2. He here
shews, that the virtuous themselves stand in need of the help of the husbandman; therefore the Almighty sends them tribulations,
and temptations, that they may be cleansed, and rendered firm, like the vine, which, the more it is pruned, the more vigorous
are its shoots. (St. Chrysostom, hom. lxxv. in Joan.)
Ver. 3. See
John xiii. 10.
Ver. 7. On account
of our being in this world, we sometimes ask for that, which is not expedient for us. But these things will not be granted
us, if we remain in Christ, who never grants us any thing, unless it be profitable to us. (St. Augustine, tract. 81. in Joan.)
--- If we abide in Christ, by a lively faith, and his words abide in us by a lively, ardent charity, which can make us produce
the fruits of good works, all that we ask, will be granted us. (Bible de Vence) --- These conditional expressions, if you
remain in the vine, if you keep my commandments, &c. give us to understand, that our perseverance and salvation are upon
conditions, to be fulfilled by us. --- (St. Augustine, de cor. & gra. chap. 13.)
Ver. 8. It is
the glory of the husbandman, to see his vine well cultivated, and laden with fruit. And it is the glory of God, my Father,
to see you filled with faith, charity, and good works, and to behold you usefully employed, in the conversion of others. Then
will men, seeing your good works, and the fruit of your preaching, among all nations, glorify your heavenly Father,
as the author of all these blessings. (St. Matthew v. 16.) (Calmet)
Ver. 10. As
I also have kept my Father's commandments. He still speaks of himself, as man. (Witham) --- This frequent admonition,
of keeping the commandments, proveth, that a Christian's life consists not in faith only, but in good works. (Bristow)
Ver. 14. You
are my friends. A wonderful condescension, says St. Augustine, in our blessed Redeemer, who was God as well as man, to
call such poor and sinful creatures, his friends; who, when we have done all we can, and ought, are still but unprofitable
servants. I have called you my friends, because I have made known to you, &c. We can only understand these words,
as St. Chrysostom takes notice, of all things which they were capable of understanding, or which it was proper to communicate
to them; for, as Christ tells them in the next chapter (ver. 12.) I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear
them now. (Witham)
Ver. 16. O ineffable
grace! For what were we, before Christ chose us, but wretched and abandoned creatures? Such we were; but now we are chosen,
in order that we may become good by the grace of Him that hath chosen us. (St. Augustine, tract. 86. in Joan.)
Ver. 18. If
the world hate you. The wicked, unbelieving world, hate and persecute you, as they have done me; remember, that the servant
must not desire to be treated better than his master. (Witham)
Ver. 20. Here
Christ predicts, that many will be deaf to the words of his Church, as they have neglected to attend to his precepts.
Ver. 22. They
would not have sin, or would not be guilty of sin: that is, they might be excused, as to their not believing me to be
their Messias: but after so many instructions, which I have given them, and so many, and such miracles done in their sight,
which also were foretold of their Messias, they can have no excuse for their obstinate sin of unbelief. They have hated
both me, and my Father: that is, by hating me, the true Son, who have one and the same nature with my Father, they have
also hated him, though they pretend to honour him as God. See on this chapter St. Augustine (tract. 81.) and St. Chrysostom
(hom. lxxvi.) in the Latin edition, hom. lxxvii. in Joan. in the Greek.
Ver. 24. How
can this be true, that Christ wrought greater wonders than any one else had ever done? We find recounted in the Old Testament,
the miracles of Elias and Eliseus, who raised the dead to life, healed the sick, and brought down fire from heaven; of Moses,
who afflicted Egypt with plagues, divided the Red Sea, for the passage of the Israelites, and brought water from the rock;
of Josue, who stopped the waters of the Jordan, for the passage of the children of Israel, and in the battle of Gabaon, made
the sun and moon stand still; in all which miracles, there appeared a greater manifestation of power, than in any of the miracles
wrought by our Saviour, during his ministry. But to this may be answered, that the miracles of our Saviour were much more
numerous than those of any of the saints of the Old Testament, even of Moses himself; particularly when we compare the few
years which he preached, and manifested the glory of his Father by his miracles, with the long life of Moses: Christ did not
preach full four years, whereas Moses governed the people forty years. Again, if the miracles of Jesus were not of so astonishing
a nature, at least they always had for their object, the healing of the sick, and the good of the people; which the prophets
have given us, as the distinguishing characteristics of the miracles of the Messias. Add to this, the ease and authority with
which he performs them, which are most sensible proofs of their superiority. But what chiefly distinguishes his miracles,
from those of the other saints, is, that he performed them in proof of his divinity, and of his mission, as the deliverer
of Israel: whereas the prophets only perform miracles, as the ministers of the Lord, and as so many voices, which foretold
the Messias. Besides, if the ancient saints could work miracles, they never could confer that power upon others, as Christ
did upon his disciples, of which the Jews themselves were witnesses, in all the places whither Christ sent his disciples.
We omit mentioning his resurrection, which at this time he had not performed, but had already foretold, and which was the
greatest miracle that has ever been performed. (Calmet)
Ver. 26. Whom
I will send. The Holy Ghost is sent by the Son: therefore he proceedeth from him also, as from the Father; though the
schismatical Greeks think differently; (Bristow) otherwise, as Dr. Challoner says, he could not be sent by the Son.
Ver. 27. You
shall give. He vouchsafes to join together the testimony of the Holy Ghost, and of the apostles; that we may see the testimony
of truth, jointly to consist in the Holy Ghost, and in the prelates of the Catholic Church. See Acts xv. 28.
Bible Text & Cross-references:
A continuation of Christ's discourse to his disciples.
1 I am the true vine; and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me, that beareth not fruit, he will take away: and
every one that beareth fruit, he will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 *Now you are clean, by reason of the word, which I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me: and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
unless it abide in the vine: so neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5 I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I
in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing.
6 If any one remaineth not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch,
and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth.
7 If you remain in me, and my words remain in you: you shall ask whatever
you will, and it shall be done to you.
8 In this is my Father glorified, that you bring forth very much fruit,
and become my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you. Remain in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, as I also
have kept my Father's commandments, and do remain in his love.
11 These things I have spoken to you: that my joy may be in you, and
your joy may be filled.
12 *This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved
13 Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for
14 You are my friends, if you do the things that I command you.
15 I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what
his lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard from my Father, I have made known
16 You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you, and have appointed
you, *that you should go, and should bring forth fruit, and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the
Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17 *These things I command you, that you love one another.
18 If the world hate you, know ye that it hath hated me before you.
19 If you had been of the world, the world would love its own; but because
you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember my word that I said to you: *The servant is not greater than
his lord. If they have persecuted me, **they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things they will do to you for my name's sake: because
they know not him that sent me.
22 If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin: but
now they have no excuse for their sin.
23 He that hateth me, hateth my Father also.
24 If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done,
they would not have sin: but now they have both seen, and hated both me and my Father.
25 But that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law:
*They have hated me without cause.
26 *But when the Paraclete is come, whom I will send you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me:
27 And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.
3: John xiii. 10.
12: John xiii. 34.; Ephesians v. 1.; 1 Thessalonians iv. 9.
16: Matthew xxviii. 19.
17: 1 John iii. 11. and iv. 7.
20: John xiii. 16.; Matthew x. 24. --- ** Matthew xxiv. 9.
25: Psalm xxiv. 19.
26: Luke xxiv. 49.