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“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and [so prove to] be My disciples” (John 15:8).

This is quite an odd verse and the words in brackets are not in the original Greek. The verse literally reads, “so that you will be my disciples.” Wait a minute. Yeshua is speaking to those whom he had personally chosen to be his disciples (see 15:16).

Does this mean they would be on probation until they had produced enough fruit to finally qualify to become real disciples? How much fruit would they need to produce in order to earn the title? The text does not say.

The larger context helps us understand the meaning of this verse. Yeshua is about to leave his disciples (13:33) and he longs for the world to realize that he isn’t really gone. He desires the world to see him through the disciples’ humility one towards another (13:13-15), their love one for another (13:35; 15:9, 12, 17), their answered prayers (14:14; 15:7), their commitment to Yeshua’s teachings (14:15, 23; 15:10), and the Spirit’s activity in their lives (14:26).

We do great damage to this verse and also to our spiritual lives when we live as if we need to earn enough points to make the team, to truly be saved. The point of producing fruit is not to prove anything to God, but for the world to recognize the True Vine. When people see us, I pray they will know we are disciples and recognize the Savior!

“Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).