I cannot believe we are on our last week of study on Roy Hession’s book, We Would See Jesus. These last nine weeks have been a tremendous blessing to me! I’ve always wanted to go through this book slowly and give myself time to absorb the truths presented from God’s Word. Yet, somehow I think it will take a lifetime to fully absorb these truths. Roy says, “It is only when we have truly seen the Lord Jesus to be the end that we have come to the beginning of the real Christian life that God has for us.”As we begin to embrace this abundant life in Christ, we will begin to see others as Jesus sees us. His love will be manifested through us as we desire for them to experience the same abundant life we are experiencing.
“In no place do we need to know the way of grace more than in the impartation of this life to others. Our service for our fellows does not come from strained efforts on our part to live for them but rather from seeing Jesus doing so, and then simply making ourselves available to Him that we may be the channel of His grace and power to them.” This truth is demonstrated beautifully in the life of Christ. Jesus says in John 5:19, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner” (NASB).
The Lord Jesus emptied Himself of His glory when He came to earth in the likeness of man (see Philippians 2:5-8). He lived life on this earth completely dependent on His Father. He was demonstrating to us exactly how we are to live the Christian life- completely dependent on Him who has all power! He lovingly invites us to join Him in the work that He is doing! “If we will first seek to see what the Lord Jesus is doing in a situation, then we can move with Him, even as the Son moved with the Father; and in that cooperation between man and God the true works of God are produced. It is not ours to originate anything, but simply to yield ourselves to Him to be the channel of what He initiates and carries through – and to trust Him to do so through us.”
The way we yield to Him is similar to the relationship between a vine and a branch. Jesus says in John 15:1, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser”(NASB). Roy explains that in saying He was the “true” vine, He was alluding to the insufficient vine of Israel. There are many Old Testament passages that speak to the vine of Israel that God planted. Hosea 10:1 says, “Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself.” Israel proved completely incapable of producing the kind of fruit that God required and could only produce fleshly fruit. “But in the failure of Israel was demonstrated the complete inability of man ever to be a vine to produce fruit for God. This likewise is the reason for our failure. It is simply that we have been trying to be the vine; we have been trying to find a holiness and a love for others in ourselves and from ourselves which Scripture never encourages us to expect to find there.”
This is why John 15 is so liberating for the Christian! Some may read this chapter as a harsh and strict treatise on the branch. But I see it as an encouraging and hopeful commentary on the vine! Because of Christ and His work on the cross, our days of being the vine are over! God doesn’t expect us to be the vine. The responsibility of producing fruit is not ours, but His! It’s not about what the branch can produce for God because the branch can do nothing apart from the vine. Instead, it’s about what the vine can produce in and through the branch as the branch remains rightly connected to it.
The inability of Israel’s vineyard to produce fruit reminds me of sowing to the flesh. Galatians 6:7-8 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life”(NASB). Sowing to the flesh will reap only decay and death from our sinful nature (see Galatians 5:19-21). BUT, when we are rightly related to the true Vine, He will produce in us the life giving fruit of His Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.
If the responsibility lies on Jesus, “where do we come in? Simply as branches in Him, the vine. We do not produce the fruit, but simply bear what He produces as we permit Him to live in us.” Our part is in the abiding. Jesus said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4 NASB). Roy says, “The way of victory is, however, always by repentance. Jesus cannot be the vine to us except as we repent of the works of the flesh as God shows them to us.” This involves the continual seeing of Jesus as the true vine and the willingness to be broken and available to Him as branches. This involves a continual choice of brokenness on our part. A surrendered heart, “not just in one sweeping surrender which we may make in a solemn moment of dedication, but just as things come up and as He deals with us. This will involve a continuous dying to self and its rights and wishes, but only so can the Lord Jesus bring forth His fruit on the branch.”
The key to abiding is in seeing Jesus as the All Sufficient Vine. The resulting fruit in our lives will be that of His love. “To see Jesus, then, is the answer here as in every other aspect of our Christian lives – ‘Sir, we would see Jesus.'”
Chapter 9: Homework Reflections
Day 1: Full Dependence on the Father
- How is Jesus’ relationship to the Father seen in John 5:19? How is that an example to us?
- Read Philippians 2:5-8.
- How do these passages help you understand Jesus’ dependence on the Father?
Day 2: The Fleshly Vine
- Read the following verses and note in your journal how Israel is described as a vine God planted? Psalm 80:9, Hosea 10:1, Jeremiah 2:21, Isaiah 5:1-7.
- Now read Romans 7:18. How does this verse apply to when you are trying in your flesh to be the vine?
- Now Read Romans 7:19-20. What is the result of the fleshly vine and why?
Day 3: Good & Bad Fruit
- Read Galatians 5:13-18. What do you learn about the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit? How is that evidenced in our relationships?
- Read Galatians 5:19-21. What are the deeds of the flesh? (You could say the fruit of the fleshly vine)
- Now read Galatians 5:22-23. Compare the deeds of the flesh to the fruit of the Spirit.
Day 4: Abiding in the True Vine
- Read John 15:1-15. Write down everything you learn about the true vine and the branches.
- How many times is the word “abide” mentioned in these verses?
- How does abiding in the vine help fulfill Jesus’ commandment in v 12?
Day 5: The Outflow of Abiding in the True Vine
- Read John 15: 12-17. We touched on this passage yesterday, but from reading these particular verses, what do you see as the fruit of abiding in the Vine?
- Read Galatians 2:20. How do you see the idea of abiding in Christ in this verse?
- Read John 13:34-35. We have established that the only way we can love others is to abide in Christ. According to these verses, what does abiding in Christ look like to the world? Our love for one another (or lack of love) shows the world whether or not we are disciples of Christ! Take some time to reflect on all you have learned throughout this study. As we walk in brokenness and surrender to Christ – moment by moment, as we abide in HIM, His life will begin to be seen in and through us. AND THE WORLD WILL KNOW!
As you reflect on God’s Word this week, prayerfully answer the following questions.
- In what ways do you see yourself sowing to the flesh instead of sowing to the Spirit? How can you tell?
- In what ways does abiding in the vine directly affect the relationships we have with each other? (hint: John 15:12-13).
“Jesus, be Jesus in me. No longer me, but Thee! Resurrection power, fill me this hour, Jesus be Jesus in Me!” (author unknown)
All italicized quotes that are not Scripture quotes, or cited by an author, are direct quotes from the book, We Would See Jesus, by Roy Hession.