“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”– John 15:1-4
The readings for this Sunday all focus on the call to follow Jesus in the way of eternal life. Just as Jesus abided in his Father, so his children are called to abide in the triune God. By doing so, we are equipped to continue the work of Jesus’ ministry and to build the Kingdom of God here on earth.
Jesus tells his disciples that he is the true vine. This is another statement of his divinity, another “I Am” proclamation, and it refers back to Isaiah 5 and Psalm 80. The nation of Israel knew their special relationship to the Lord. God had set his people apart to dwell in him and to be a blessing to the world. When the Lord called Abraham, he spoke these words: “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 2-3). Abraham and his children (the nation of Israel) were set apart by the Lord to reflect his glory to the world around them.
Instead of living into this special relationship with the Lord, the nation of Israel followed the ways of the world. They forgot the God who brought them into the land and chose to worship false deities. They did not live according to the covenantal promises. Detached from the vine, they lost their source of nourishment and no longer received the tender care of the vinedresser. They could not bear fruit.
When Jesus said that he was the true vine, he addressed this unfaithfulness of Israel and spoke of his own faithfulness. He was in the Father and he was perfectly sustained by the Father. Anyone who sought to live in him would also find life and fruitfulness. Jesus tells his disciples of their need to come to the Father through him, to stay connected to the true source of life, and to allow that nourishment to produce the fruit of the children of God. Fruit came only through abiding in Jesus the true vine. As you abide and produce the fruit of his Spirit, God is glorified in you and through you. You are a blessing, as others see God’s glory and are drawn to him.
Reflect & Respond:
Are you abiding in the true vine? How have you received nourishment for the work God has given you to do? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our new six-week Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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