Bearing fruit is normal for a healthy tree. In the same way true disciples are known by the fruit they produce not who produced them, or who they belong to, according to Jesus. Real identity comes from what we have produced. The tree that produced us just did what it does as a normal healthy tree. Being the fruit of that tree does not give us our identity. Only the fruit we produce as an individual gives us our identity. This is more than semantic play.
It is always in the current generation that we see fruit. The past crop produced us and we are presently producing fruit because we are attached to the tree. This is the end of the tree’s identity for that generation of fruit and now that fruit is responsible for the next crop. Jesus said, “bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” That is our identity—being fruitful.
“Proving we are disciples” is simply to be what we are, or the fruit we are intended to be. Jesus further stated that we are “to abide (remain, continue) in him, in his words and in his love,” and by so doing we are not left as vulnerable disciples, but as fully secure fruit in the influence of what produced us. Our love then produces more fruit and the identity cycle is completed and God is glorified.
“My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father.” Jesus