5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Thoughts: It is a bold statement that apart from God we can do nothing. Yet, if God gives us life, and protects us from disaster, plague, and leads us to the right place at the right time- then we really can't claim ultimate credit by ourselves. Yet in another sense- all the things that we do apart from God and for our own glory amount to nothing. Human accomplishments apart from God are like the poem Ozymandus by Shelley- where the broken ancient statue, surrounded by miles of desert sands, boldly states- "Look on all my accomplishments... and weep." Yet the angel told Mary (Lk 1:37), "Nothing is impossible with God." Jesus said, "With God, all things are possible." (Mt. 19:26). By ourselves, our work is in vain. But when we plug into God the sky is the limit.
Prayer: Give me grace to believe in your ability and possibility.
John Calvin Abridged: So long as we are separate from him, we bear no fruit that is good and acceptable to God, for we are unable to do anything good. There is our remedy provided for our fruitless poverty, and it is found in asking God.