15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you 1 and appointed you to go and bear 2 fruit, fruit that remains, 3 so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. 15:17 This 4 I command you – to love one another.
15:18 “If the world hates you, be aware 5 that it hated me first. 6 15:19 If you belonged to the world, 7 the world would love you as its own. 8 However, because you do not belong to the world, 9 but I chose you out of the world, for this reason 10 the world hates you. 11 15:20 Remember what 12 I told you, ‘A slave 13 is not greater than his master.’ 14 If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed 15 my word, they will obey 16 yours too. 15:21 But they will do all these things to you on account of 17 my name, because they do not know the one who sent me. 18 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. 19 But they no longer have any excuse for their sin. 15:23 The one who hates me hates my Father too. 15:24 If I had not performed 20 among them the miraculous deeds 21 that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. 22 But now they have seen the deeds 23 and have hated both me and my Father. 24 15:25 Now this happened 25 to fulfill the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without reason.’ 26 15:26 When the Advocate 27 comes, whom I will send you from the Father – the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father – he 28 will testify about me, 15:27 and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
16:1 “I have told you all these things so that you will not fall away. 29 16:2 They will put you out of 30 the synagogue, 31 yet a time 32 is coming when the one who kills you will think he is offering service to God. 33 16:3 They 34 will do these things because they have not known the Father or me. 35 16:4 But I have told you these things 36 so that when their time 37 comes, you will remember that I told you about them. 38
“I did not tell you these things from the beginning because I was with you. 39
1 sn You did not choose me, but I chose you. If the disciples are now elevated in status from slaves to friends, they are friends who have been chosen by Jesus, rather than the opposite way round. Again this is true of all Christians, not just the twelve, and the theme that Christians are “chosen” by God appears frequently in other NT texts (e.g., Rom 8:33; Eph 1:4ff.; Col 3:12; and 1 Pet 2:4). Putting this together with the comments on 15:14 one may ask whether the author sees any special significance at all for the twelve. Jesus said in John 6:70 and 13:18 that he chose them, and 15:27 makes clear that Jesus in the immediate context is addressing those who have been with him from the beginning. In the Fourth Gospel the twelve, as the most intimate and most committed followers of Jesus, are presented as the models for all Christians, both in terms of their election and in terms of their mission.
2 tn Or “and yield.”
3 sn The purpose for which the disciples were appointed (“commissioned”) is to go and bear fruit, fruit that remains. The introduction of the idea of “going” at this point suggests that the fruit is something more than just character qualities in the disciples’ own lives, but rather involves fruit in the lives of others, i.e., Christian converts. There is a mission involved (cf. John 4:36). The idea that their fruit is permanent, however, relates back to vv. 7-8, as does the reference to asking the Father in Jesus’ name. It appears that as the imagery of the vine and the branches develops, the “fruit” which the branches produce shifts in emphasis from qualities in the disciples’ own lives in John 15:2, 4, 5 to the idea of a mission which affects the lives of others in John 15:16. The point of transition would be the reference to fruit in 15:8.
4 tn Grk “These things.”
5 tn Grk “know.”
6 tn Grk “it hated me before you.”
7 tn Grk “if you were of the world.”
8 tn The words “you as” are not in the original but are supplied for clarity.
9 tn Grk “because you are not of the world.”
10 tn Or “world, therefore.”
11 sn I chose you out of the world…the world hates you. Two themes are brought together here. In 8:23 Jesus had distinguished himself from the world in addressing his Jewish opponents: “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” In 15:16 Jesus told the disciples “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you.” Now Jesus has united these two ideas as he informs the disciples that he has chosen them out of the world. While the disciples will still be “in” the world after Jesus has departed, they will not belong to it, and Jesus prays later in John 17:15-16 to the Father, “I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” The same theme also occurs in 1 John 4:5-6: “They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us.” Thus the basic reason why the world hates the disciples (as it hated Jesus before them) is because they are not of the world. They are born from above, and are not of the world. For this reason the world hates them.
12 tn Grk “Remember the word that I said to you.”
14 sn A slave is not greater than his master. Jesus now recalled a statement he had made to the disciples before, in John 13:16. As the master has been treated, so will the slaves be treated also. If the world had persecuted Jesus, then it would also persecute the disciples. If the world had kept Jesus’ word, it would likewise keep the word of the disciples. In this statement there is the implication that the disciples would carry on the ministry of Jesus after his departure; they would in their preaching and teaching continue to spread the message which Jesus himself had taught while he was with them. And they would meet with the same response, by and large, that he encountered.
15 tn Or “if they kept.”
16 tn Or “they will keep.”
17 tn Or “because of.”
18 tn Jesus is referring to God as “the one who sent me.”
19 tn Grk “they would not have sin” (an idiom).
sn Jesus now describes the guilt of the world. He came to these people with both words (15:22) and sign-miracles (15:24), yet they remained obstinate in their unbelief, and this sin of unbelief was without excuse. Jesus was not saying that if he had not come and spoken to these people they would be sinless; rather he was saying that if he had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of the sin of rejecting him and the Father he came to reveal. Rejecting Jesus is the one ultimate sin for which there can be no forgiveness, because the one who has committed this sin has at the same time rejected the only cure that exists. Jesus spoke similarly to the Pharisees in 9:41: “If you were blind, you would have no sin (same phrase as here), but now you say ‘We see’ your sin remains.”
20 tn Or “If I had not done.”
21 tn Grk “the works.”
22 tn Grk “they would not have sin” (an idiom).
23 tn The words “the deeds” are supplied to clarify from context what was seen. Direct objects in Greek were often omitted when clear from the context.
24 tn Or “But now they have both seen and hated both me and my Father.” It is possible to understand both the “seeing” and the “hating” to refer to both Jesus and the Father, but this has the world “seeing” the Father, which seems alien to the Johannine Jesus. (Some point out John 14:9 as an example, but this is addressed to the disciples, not to the world.) It is more likely that the “seeing” refers to the miraculous deeds mentioned in the first half of the verse. Such an understanding of the first “both – and” construction is apparently supported by BDF §444.3.
25 tn The words “this happened” are not in the Greek text but are supplied to complete an ellipsis.
26 sn A quotation from Ps 35:19 and Ps 69:4. As a technical term law (νόμος, nomos) is usually restricted to the Pentateuch (the first five books of the OT), but here it must have a broader reference, since the quotation is from Ps 35:19 or Ps 69:4. The latter is the more likely source for the quoted words, since it is cited elsewhere in John’s Gospel (2:17 and 19:29, in both instances in contexts associated with Jesus’ suffering and death).
28 tn Grk “that one.”
29 tn Grk “so that you will not be caused to stumble.”
sn In Johannine thought the verb σκανδαλίζω (skandalizw) means to trip up disciples and cause them to fall away from Jesus’ company (John 6:61, 1 John 2:10). Similar usage is found in Didache 16:5, an early Christian writing from around the beginning of the 2nd century
30 tn Or “expel you from.”
32 tn Grk “an hour.”
33 sn Jesus now refers not to the time of his return to the Father, as he has frequently done up to this point, but to the disciples’ time of persecution. They will be excommunicated from Jewish synagogues. There will even be a time when those who kill Jesus’ disciples will think that they are offering service to God by putting the disciples to death. Because of the reference to service offered to God, it is almost certain that Jewish opposition is intended here in both cases rather than Jewish opposition in the first instance (putting the disciples out of synagogues) and Roman opposition in the second (putting the disciples to death). Such opposition materializes later and is recorded in Acts: The stoning of Stephen in 7:58-60 and the slaying of James the brother of John by Herod Agrippa I in Acts 12:2-3 are notable examples.
34 tn Grk “And they.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.
35 sn Ignorance of Jesus and ignorance of the Father are also linked in 8:19; to know Jesus would be to know the Father also, but since the world does not know Jesus, neither does it know his Father. The world’s ignorance of the Father is also mentioned in 8:55, 15:21, and 17:25.
36 tn The first half of v. 4 resumes the statement of 16:1, ταῦτα λελάληκα ὑμῖν (tauta lelalhka Jumin), in a somewhat more positive fashion, omitting the reference to the disciples being caused to stumble.
37 tn Grk “their hour.”
38 tn The words “about them” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
39 sn This verse serves as a transition between the preceding discussion of the persecutions the disciples will face in the world after the departure of Jesus, and the following discussion concerning the departure of Jesus and the coming of the Spirit-Paraclete. Jesus had not told the disciples these things from the beginning because he was with them.