What is the “fruit” Jesus’ disciples must bear?
It must be important. We are branches off the vine that is Christ. A branch that does not bear fruit has only one end: to be pruned from the vine and thrown into the fire.
If we are going to avoid the fire, we must bear fruit.
But what is the fruit?
John does not specifically address this question. Evidently, the Christians he wrote to knew what fruit was expected of them. On the other hand, in his “upper room” speech, Jesus deals with the very obvious signs that one is attached to him: humility, service (a willingness to do the necessary but menial tasks), trust in God (exemplified by prayer), obedience to God, courage, unity in the Church, and especially love for fellow Christians.
We should get away from the notion that “fruit bearing” for the Church is proselytizing. While that may be involved in the list, it’s only one component. Certainly those involved in bringing others to Christ will be most productive if their lives exhibit in themselves the kind of fruit intended by the vine which is, to be specific, Christlikeness.