Jesus’ Teachings – I Am The True Vine, Part 1
In this post, Steph Beth Nickel shares Jesus’ teachings from the gospel of John chapter 15. In this chapter Jesus is quoted as saying, “I am the true vine.” Stephanie discusses the significance and implications of this statement.
Read Part 2 here.
John 15:1-11 (ESV) is another of my favourite passages in the gospel of John. In fact, they are among my favourite verses in all of Scripture. They read as follows:
“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.I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
The Source of Life & Security
Many of those living in Bible times were well aware of the process of tending to the many vineyards that marked the countryside. And the parallels Jesus draws are rich in meaning.
Jesus says He is the vine, the source of life and security for each fruitful branch. And who are these branches? Each believe in Jesus Christ whose live produce good things for His honour. God the Father is the vinedresser who tends to the branches.
First, Jesus gives a warning. His Father will take away the unfruitful branches. But before we despair and wonder how we can ever produce enough good fruit in our lives, let me remind you of a fact that I’ve often mentioned in this series of devotionals. We cannot desire or accomplish truly good things in life without the work of God’s Holy Spirit in us. This corresponds to the idea of abiding in the vine. After all, if you remove a branch from the life-giving vine, there is nothing it can do to produce fruit.
What Pruning Looks Like
Our confidence must be in God alone. We can rest in Him because it says in Hebrews 13:5 that God will never leave or forsake us. Plus, we can cast all our care on Him because He cares for us, as it says in 1 Peter 5:7.
While we can be confident in God’s love and care for us if we’ve asked Jesus to forgive our sins and we are seeking to walk the path He has set before us, that in no way means life will be easy or carefree. Fruit-bearing vines and trees don’t bear abundant crops if they are allowed to go wild. They must be pruned . . . and the same is true of us.
I can’t tell you what that pruning will look like in your life, but it can take many forms. And I can tell you that pruning is never comfortable. In fact, it often means the removal of what we do find comfortable. Sometimes God takes away people, things, and situations that are hindering us and others from becoming even more fruitful. At other times, He may prune those parts of our personality that aren’t conducive to the good fruit He wants to produce in our lives. And maybe the most difficult pruning to understand and endure is when God removes things from our lives that we think are glorifying Him and blessing others . . . and maybe they truly are. But remember, branches bear even more of the same kind of fruit when they are pruned. And God is the best vinedresser ever.
Abide In The Vine
The passage tells us we must abide in the vine. And that vine is Jesus. Just how do we do that? We acknowledge our need of Him and ask Him to save us. We dig into the Word of God and study the Scriptures diligently. We talk to God in prayer. We meet with other Christians and study the Bible and pray together. And we submit ourselves to the vinedresser, asking the Father to prune us and make us fruitful.
And the most amazing and truly awesome thing is that He can be completely trusted. He loves us more than we can imagine. He doesn’t want to prune us to bring us harm or to hurt us. It is truly for our good and the good of others. When the pruning seems unbearable, ask Him to strengthen you and remind you just how much He loves you.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio.
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Images courtesy of:
Vineyard – Andy Stafiniak
Hands with Grapes – FreePhotos
Grapes – Kostya Kakaskind