"I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer.
He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.
You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing.
Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire.
But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.
This is how my Father shows who he is - when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
"I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love.
If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done - kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.
"I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.
This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you.
This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.
You are my friends when you do the things I command you.
I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father.
"You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
"But remember the root command: Love one another.
"If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me.
If you lived on the world's terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God's terms and no longer on the world's terms, the world is going to hate you.
"When that happens, remember this: Servants don't get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them.
"They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me, because they don't know the One who sent me.
If I hadn't come and told them all this in plain language, it wouldn't be so bad. As it is, they have no excuse.
Hate me, hate my Father - it's all the same.
If I hadn't done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn't be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father.
Interesting - they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, 'They hated me for no good reason.'
"When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes - the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father - he will confirm everything about me.
You, too, from your side must give your confirming evidence, since you are in this with me from the start.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)