Jesus has said many things that He is as we have discovered over this series. He is many things and they mean something in context of his teachings and even today. This time we are going to look at when Jesus calls himself the vine and what that means for us. Let’s dig in.
We’ll start in John 15:1-4, “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.”
There are two aspects to Jesus being the vine. First, Jesus refers to himself as the vine and the Father as the gardener. God is the one who prunes and cuts off the bad parts of Jesus. What this means is when Jesus is working his ministry, he finds people who accept his message or do not accept his message. A vine has many branches on it, so when a branch does not produce fruit, God cuts it off because they have not accepted the message. So next begs the question: who are the branches?
Jesus answers that for us in the next verses. John 15:5-8 says, “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.”
Because we are the branches of the vine of Christ we must remain with Christ. If we remain in Jesus (continue to accept him and follow him) and he remains in us, then we will bear fruit as we are to do. In other words, we will continue to do the work of the Lord and build God’s kingdom here on earth. Jesus warns us though in verse 5 and 6. If we are cut off because we do not accept him, then we are cut off from the vine. In other words, cut off from Jesius who is the vine and who gives life. We must remain connected to our vine who gives us life and that is Jesus.
This imagery of a vine and branches is used to describe Israel in much of the prophets. Israel is described as a fruitless vineyard that yields no fruit to God. We must be wary of this warning to continue to do good and keep connected to our giver of life.