"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you ...." (John 15:16)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." (John 15:16)

Is Jesus appointing his successor?

No, Jesus is not appointing his successor, as we see in many sectarian institutions around the world. Rather, Jesus is saying that all of his followers have the opportunity to pass on his teachings and thus represent him.

We know this because of the full context of this statement:
"I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last ..."
He isn't saying that any particular person will take his position. He is saying that he has spoken the Truth directly to all of them and thus entrusted them to pass on those teachings to others.

This is quite different from the appointment and election we see in many institutions, where councils will elect and appoint a particular person to the post of teacher. These are political appointments. They are made using politics.

Jesus is speaking of a choice that is made in the heart and nurtured by the Supreme Being within - the Holy Spirit. This is confirmed by the Greek word being translated to "appointed" - τίθημι (tithēmi). This word can mean, "to set, fix, establish" according to the lexicon. Jesus is helping to 'set up their relationship with the Supreme Being, through his personalized teachings.

What does 'bearing fruit' mean?

As mentioned, the topic of this statement is "bearing fruit."

We must look back at previous verses, where Jesus defined this process of "bearing fruit":
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." (John 15:1-2)
So we can see that the bearing fruit for the benefit of the gardener is being compared to serving the Supreme Being and doing His will. Therefore, bearing fruit is symbolic of doing God's will - serving God.

In John 15:1-2, Jesus clearly states that God is the gardener and he is a vine. This communicates that Jesus understood himself to be God's servant. Jesus was not stating that he was God, as many ecclesiastical institutions portray.

Jesus confirms that his service and the service of Jesus' disciples was all about glorifying and praising the Supreme Being:
"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." (John 15:8)
This also clarifies that being a disciple of Jesus - and pleasing Jesus - meant glorifying the Supreme Being.

Jesus' disciples were chosen to go out and teach to others. This illustrates, therefore, that the Supreme Being essentially chose them. Why? Because Jesus is doing God's will:
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
"As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me." (John 9:4)
We also see that Jesus connects believing in him and his teachings with believing in the Supreme Being:
"When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me." (John 12:44)
And we can see that Jesus' teachings came not from himself, but from God:
"For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it." (John 12:49)

Will they be working on behalf of God?

We can see clearly from these statements that Jesus' selection of these close followers was ultimately a selection by the Supreme Being. God is ultimately making the selection because Jesus is focused on doing God's will.

This process of selection is diametrically opposed to the political process that many ecclesiastical institutions have assumed over the centuries, beginning a few years after Jesus left the planet. Instead of a personal selection process by God and His representative, they utilize a process of their teachers being elected by political (elected) committees made up of cardinals, bishops, deacons or otherwise.

While James and others went out and began preaching and accepting personal disciples just as Jesus had done and John the Baptist had done, and the other bonafide teachers before them had done, institutions led by politically-minded teachers began to institutionalize the process of selecting teachers.

The process that Jesus is explaining here is based on personal initiation and personal training by a specific mentor or teacher. This personal process allows the disciple to be trained and disciplined by the teacher (note the word "disciple"). Jesus illustrated this process as he sometimes scolded his disciples.

The personal process also allows the student to gain insight into the personal relationships of the spiritual realm by seeing the relationship between the teacher and the Supreme Being. Should the student follow the teacher sincerely, this allows the student to gain entrance into the loving affairs of the spiritual realm. This allows the student to develop his/her own loving service relationship with the Supreme Being, and become able to pass what they have learned onto others.

Is this tradition being followed today?

Jesus' process contrasts greatly with the processes of sectarian institutions today. Their teachers are selected by first paying to attend seminary colleges that are staffed by salaried professors (in other words, professional teachers). The students must pay tuition to attend, and then pass the exams. Should they pass the exams and pay the tuition, they receive a piece of paper saying they are now qualified to be a teacher. If they don't pay, they don't get the paper.

Once they have this piece of paper, the graduate then gets selected by a political committee to begin teaching.

This selection process - the tuition-fuelled seminary and the political selection committees - is not the process Jesus is using. Jesus is acknowledging those who have made a choice to serve God. He is simply being God's conduit.

Consider the contrast with the political process used today. Theoretically, a seminary graduate could be selected by one of those councils and not even believe in the Supreme Being, let alone serve Him.

This is illustrated by the hundreds of thousands of children who were abused by elected teachers in these institutions.

Did God come to earth to be crucified?

God also does not have to come down to earth and be crucified in order to relieve our sins, as taught by some seminary graduates. God is all-powerful. He does not need to comply with any rules of sacrifice. He can forgive sins with a simple thought, and this is why Jesus taught his followers to pray:
"Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven ...
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us." (Matt. 6:9-12 NLT)
This means that God can forgive our sins directly. We don't need to go through some kind of mental gymnastics to imagine that Jesus died for my sins. We don't need to partake in empty rituals. We don't need to eat some crackers and wine while pretending they are Jesus' body and blood in order to be forgiven. 

If we want to be forgiven, we can simply follow Jesus' instruction. We can ask God for forgivenss directly within a prayer with a humble, repentant heart as stated in Matthew 6:12 (above).

The process of the Supreme Being is a personal one. It is built upon personal relationships. He personally selects those who have a sincere and humble desire to love and please the Supreme Being. He does not select those who want to use the Supreme Being to become wealthy, or become popular, or become otherwise advantaged. These are not who the Supreme Being selects to become His spokespeople - and bear fruit for Him.

Those whom God selects to speak on His behalf are known by the fact that they do not teach things contrary to the teachings of their teacher and other representatives of the Supreme Being - documented in scripture. This is why Jesus' teachings not only mirrored John the Baptist's teachings, but also mirrored the teachings of Moses, David, Samuel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Job, Abraham and many others.

Did Jesus' teachings reflect John's?

How do we know Jesus' teachings mirrored John the Baptist's teachings? Consider these verses:
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matt. 3:1-2)
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matt. 4:17)
Because this is a summary statement about their teachings, it is clear that Jesus' general message mirrored John's message.

Furthermore, illustrating the passage of that message through this lineage, Jesus then told his disciples to preach this very same message to others:
"As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'" (Matt. 10:7)
Many teachers of today indicate they do not need to accept a teacher, yet they want others to accept them as a teacher (as they are teaching). They want to be God's representative and teach in the churches, tents and television shows, but they don't want to themselves become disciplined by a teacher. They want to imagine they have a direct line to Jesus, so they are somehow exempt.

Yet even Jesus accepted John the Baptist, and Jesus' students also passed on Jesus' teachings, following in line with the prophets before Jesus:
"Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord." (James 5:10)
This clearly states that James accepted that not only did Jesus teach "in the Name of the Lord" ("Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" - spoken about Jesus), but all the prophets like David, Samuel, Moses, Abraham and so many others in this great lineage of teachers also taught "in the Name of the Lord."

James also passed on the teachings of Jesus and John regarding having a personal relationship with the Supreme Being:
"Come near to God and He will come near to you." (James 4:8)
James taught, as his teacher Jesus taught, love for the Supreme Being. Care for the Supreme Being. Focus our attention on the Supreme Being.

These teachings - or "fruits" as Jesus puts it - "will last" because they come from the spiritual world. They come from the eternal unconditional love that the Supreme Being has for each of us.

These teachings contrast greatly with those who misinterpret Jesus' statement above ("Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.") to mean that we should be asking God to give us wealth, fame (a big following) and other material - and temporary - benefits. Was Jesus teaching materialism?

Certainly not. Jesus was teaching his followers to love the Supreme Being and do God's will. Therefore, a request asked "in my name" should certainly be in the spirit of Jesus' teachings - and centered around our learning to love God and serve God. Jesus himself illustrated this type of request:
"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will." (Matt. 26:39)