DiVine Lessons - I Am the True Vine

“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 bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”  John 15:1-2

This last of the “I am” statements has Jesus teaching His disciples how the Christian life resembles a vine and branches.

 This night was the night they had the Passover dinner.  It would be the last Passover, the last supper, Jesus would have with His disciples before He died.  He had little time left to tell them all He wanted them to know before He died.  Chapters fifteen through seventeen of John are often called Jesus’ farewell messages.  These chapters are essentially the same as words spoken from one’s deathbed, for in a few short hours, Judas, the betrayer, would find them in the olive grove and send Jesus on the way to Calvary.

The image of the vine was familiar to the disciples.  The vine is very prominent in the Old Testament.  

  • Psalm 80:8 says, “You removed a vine from Egypt; You drove out the nations and planted it,” referring to God bringing Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land.  
  • Isaiah 5:7a says, “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel and the men of Judah His delightful plant.”  
  • Jeremiah 2:21 says, “Yet I planted you a choice vine, a completely faithful seed.  How then have you turned yourself before me into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?” 

“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1).  In this verse, the Messiah was called a shoot, then a Branch.  Now Jesus is calling Himself a vine.  The change emphasizes that Christ’s place is at the center of the church, and He is the One who provides the nourishment that enables His body to grow toward maturity and bear fruit.

The vine is connected to the branches.  The vine is the source of nutrition and life to the branches.  If a branch is disconnected from the vine, it will be unproductive and will wither and die.  In the same way, if members of the church do not stay properly connected to Christ, we will be unproductive and our spiritual life, and therefore our physical life, will falter and fail.

No one can bear fruit unless they remain in Christ.  Remaining, or abiding, in Christ is necessary for the life of a believer.  Verse five of chapter fifteen states that unless a person is in Him, the person can do nothing.  Someone who is not abiding in Christ does not have the power of Christ, the authority of Christ, behind him or her.

Remaining in Christ is not a physical thing like the literal vine and branches.  Remaining is resting in and depending on Jesus.  For a real branch, remaining is simple as long as nothing outside the plant comes to tear apart or kill that abiding relationship.  A branch is simply in the vine.  For believers, it is not automatic.  It is a decision, day after day, moment by moment, to continue to stand with Christ, abiding in His presence.

If someone is abiding in Christ, the fruit of that relationship will be evident.  Natural branches bear fruit because they are in the vine.  In the same way, fruit will be produced in the lives of Christians who live their lives in Christ.  As believers abide in Christ, they begin to look like Him.  When two people spend a lot of time together, like roommates or spouses, they begin to act alike.  They use some of the same phrases in conversation.  They even start to think alike.  This is the same thing that happens when a person begins to live their life in Christ.

In the same way the branch depends on the vine, the vine also depends on the branch.  God has no plan B.  If the church fails, there is nothing else.  He uses His people, the ones of His church, to do His work in the world.  God does something step in and act completely independent of His people, but much of God’s work is accomplished through His people. 

Remaining in Christ is immensely important, both for ourselves as well as for the furthering of the kingdom.  Without this abiding relationship, the work of God will not be accomplished within us or within the world.

In what ways do you remain in Christ?

“I am the bread of life.” 
“I am the light of the world.” 
“I am the door.” 
“I am the good shepherd.” 
“I am the resurrection and the life.”
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
“I am the true vine.”

God has put pictures of Himself and what He desires for His people into the world that the church might be able to more easily understand spiritual matters.  Parts of the world that are familiar, such as the vine and the branches, reflect God’s nature and God’s passion for His people.  I pray that this series on the I Am statements of Christ has enabled you to learn more about who Christ is.

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9 Responses to DiVine Lessons - I Am the True Vine

  1. It really is a moment by moment decision. I pray I become more like Christ with each breath I take!

    1. Agreed! Life changes so fast sometimes that even day by day is not enough! It has to be moment by moment.

  2. That is a very good word with some in depth study. We often forget that God does prune us. But He has to do some chopping on all of us! Amen

    1. It's difficult to recognize that is what He is doing and submit to it.

      Thank you for coming by!

  3. Hi Kirra: This blog post is incredibly "thoughtful," thereby fulfilling the promise you make with the title of your blog. The analogy of the vine and the work that Jesus does in our lives is potent. Everything read perfectly to me, except the part that came to the statement you make that there is no plan B. If I understand correctly what you are trying to say, you are inferring that if a person is not connected to a church, he is no longer served by God. In other words, belonging to or being affiliated with a church becomes an essential component of God's presence in our lives.

    If that is not what you are saying, I'd appreciate hearing more. If that is what you are saying, I would respectfully disagree. I do not believe that affiliation with any church is a requisite to God loving us or being present in our lives. Faith knows no artificial bounds created by religions or churches. It is innate in all of us, even in nonbelievers, agnostics, atheists, etc. There are many who love God but cannot find themselves ready to commit to a particular church or religion.

    1. Amanda, i went back and read the portion you mentioned. I fully believe that Christianity is the source of life and hope, but within Christianity, i do not believe a certain denomination holds all the answers, even though i like some better than others. I do not necessarily believe a Christian needs to be connected to a specific church, though i do think it is rare for someone to have a growing and abiding faith if they are not connected with other believers in some manner.

      Unless it is clear that i am talking about a specific church or denomination, you can assume i am talking about the church of Christ as a whole, the entire body of believers.

      I hope that clears things up. If you have more questions, or if i didnt answer you fully, please let me know.

  4. Beautiful post!

    You made it very clear that if we are abiding in Christ, remaining in Christ, fruit that glorifies God will be produced in our lives. Period. The fruit will be evident.

    I liked your definition of remaining in Christ: resting in and depending on Jesus.

    It was powerful to me when you shared how if we are spending a lot of time together with Christ, we will automatically begin to be like him--in talk, action, and thought. We have all seen that happen with people in connection with their spouses and friends.

    1. Monica, thank you for stopping by. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post because it is one of my favorites. Your comment made me think of when Jesus said "if you have seen Me you have seen the Father." I realize this statement was about Jesus being divine, but it makes me wonder if people ever think they have encountered God through me because I abide with Him.

    2. Yes! One of my prayers is, "Lord, make me transparent so that when people look at me, all they see is You."


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