The True Vine
“The Vine and the Branches”
“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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“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. 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. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 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. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:1-17 (NIV)
This is one of my absolute favorite passages in the Bible. This passage has always spoken to me and ministered to me in so many ways. I almost feel like I could just post this scripture alone as the entire blog without my comments. Where do I begin? I would like to give a few definitions of words that are in this scripture. Who else loves looking up words in God’s Word? As I was reading over this scripture there were several words that just jumped out at me and I wanted to dig deeper.
The words and phrases that really stand out to me are: “I am”, prune, remain, remain in me, and remain in my love. If you have studied John, you know that there are seven “I AM” declarations that Jesus makes. This phrase “I AM” means that He is everything. Have you heard the song, “I Am”, by Eddie James? If not- you should definitely go and listen to it, and if you have heard it- go listen to it again. There is no word after the phrase “I AM” because one isn’t needed. He is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, and the Alpha and Omega.
I have looked up the definition of abide, and would love to share my findings. Abide and remain are synonyms; you can even find other translations of this passage that say abide.
Abide- Old English word signifying progressively: await, remain, lodge, sojourn, dwell, continue, endure, and encamp. (Definition from biblestudytools.com)
Abide- 1.) a. to bear patiently: TOLERATE b. to endure without yielding: WITHSTAND 2.) to wait for: AWAIT 3.) to accept without objection (definition taken from Merriam-Webster)
Yield- to give up, to surrender or relinquish to the physical control of another, surrender or submit
Dwell- to remain for a time, to live as a resident, to keep the attention directed
Endure- to continue in the same state, to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding, to regard with acceptance or tolerance
Jesus is around his closest friends (his disciples), and it wasn’t uncommon for Jesus to have them around all the time. The word “disciple” is taken from the word discipline, and means follower. Jesus knew that it was almost time for His crucifixion, His resurrection, and His departure to go sit at the right hand of God. This passage was meant to prepare not only his disciples but those of all time. (Us!) Jesus was definitely a very thoughtful and went to great lengths to make sure that those who were looking for “they way” would be able to find it.
His disciples were very confused when Jesus would talk about him no longer being around. Jesus never did come out and say it that way, it was always in ways that were simple but not clear. His disciples had been following Jesus and started to depend on Him for every little thing, which is how we are supposed to be. When Jesus was making statements about Him no longer being there with them, they began to get worried and have the “what will we do” attitude. Jesus- gave them this parable of the vine to teach and instruct the disciples for when He is no longer physically there with them.
He says that He is the true vine and his Father is the gardener. If you think about a vine, you think branch, vine, fruit, and the fact that they are connected. Jesus is saying that He is the true vine. God the Father is the gardener; I don’t really know a lot about gardening except that if you have a garden, it has to be tended to. Every garden needs a gardener to help the crop grow successfully. Having a successful garden comes with quite a bit of responsibilities. God the Father is claiming to be the gardener, which means HE does the work. We do not have any responsibility except to remain.
These are the things we know: 1. Jesus is the vine. 2. God the Father is the gardener. 3. We are the branches.
What does this mean to you? The vine of a plant is literally the lifeline of the entire thing. The vine is where the nutrients come from. Vines produce energy that nourishes and sustains the branches while they develop their fruit. Jesus is telling us to abide in the vine. He is telling us to remain close to Him so we will be fruitful. Even though we can not see him, we can still abide and remain close to Him. When you pray, worship, read his Word, and serve Him you are abiding in the vine. We have to be obedient to the Holy Spirit and stay in constant communication to remain.
Not only does Jesus want us to abide, but there is a reason. He wants us to abide so that we will grow fruit. He means fruits of the spirit. He wants us to bear the fruits of the spirit. If we are bearing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control we have the ability to serve Him effectively. There will be fruits that we will bear that are not beneficial to our relationship with God. God the Father, and gardener, then comes in and cuts that fruit. How many of you have experienced some pruning?
I would like everyone reading to read this passage and meditate on it. Study it, read it again, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal something to you that you may not have ever thought about. What is something that you may be praying for God to take you out of, but in fact He is pruning you. He sees where that path goes, and it will not bear fruit. We (the branches) must abide in the true vine to be sustained and bear fruit.