The Gospel of John
I Am the True Vine
Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.
1. Here now is the 7th, and last, of the “I Am” sayings. In 15:1 Jesus uses the term “true vine” and in 15:5 it is “the vine.”
2. The grapevine was a symbol of the nation of Israel. (see Isaiah 5); On the door by the Holy Place was mounted a vine made of gold. The vine is also an ancient Jewish symbol for messiah. And on a coin from the Maccabean period is a representation of a vine.
3. Marcus Dods relates that “Jesus and His followers are the true vine of God.”
4. In verse 2 we find that the Father “prunes” or cleanses us in order that we might bear more fruit. Sometimes this is less than a wonderful experience, yet necessary as we tend to get sidetracked.
5. At the same time we are also “clean” meaning all our sin is gone, which can result in a continuing abiding in Jesus.
6. Bearing fruit depends on our abiding in Jesus. To abide will mean studying His words, seeking to bring others to faith, remaining strong in prayer, and loving one another. These are consistent biblical principles.
7. We are “branches,” an interesting way to see ourselves. The branch is connected to the core vine from which comes the life and energy to grow. A branch cut off–does this mean a Christian can be cut off and cast into hell if he or she does not bear fruit?
8. No, such is impossible and is the answer to the above question. Rather Jesus takes the analogy of what does actually take place with the farmer who cultivates grape vines. We need not, should not, carry the metaphor too far, which if we did, would violate a core biblical doctrine.
9. It takes years for a vine to produce a harvest of grapes. This also applies to us. There is a slow process ongoing for us all; indeed, we are growing up into the fullness of Christ. (see Ephesians 4:11–13)
10 The greatest commandment of them all Jesus again states: we are to love one another, and learning the how of this is never ending.