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::Devotional:: ‘I am the true vine’

August 18, 2009

This week we are taking a closer look at some of the “I am” proclamations of Jesus and digging a little deeper than a simple read through to uncover the truths the text has for us.  Today we are going to look at the “I am the true vine” proclamation in John 15 to see what that statement tells us about Jesus and how we can apply that to our lives today.

 

I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  John 15:1-2

As I said yesterday, Jesus is a master communicator and his ability to convey truth using word pictures was incredible.  As we saw yesterday, Jesus proclaimed “I am the bread of life” to a crowd of hungry people who had come to him for food, to convey the truth of salvation for eternity.  The “I am the true vine” proclamation is very similar.

Jesus was eating the last supper with his disciples one evening just hours before he was to be betrayed by Judas and arrested.  During the course of the meal, the conversation was full of the teachings of Jesus.  In fact, most of his teachings dealt with addressing the fact that he was soon to leave his disciples and they would have to press on.  It is within this context that Jesus made the statement “I am the true vine.”

What does that mean?

John 15:1 is an incredible passage because it reveals to us a very important principle about living as disciples of Christ.  A branch on a grape vine can not bear fruit on it’s own just like a disciple of Jesus can not fulfill the responsibilities of the life he was created for without Jesus.  There is a vital relationship between the two parts.  A vine must bear fruit through a branch just as Jesus must be glorified in the lives of his disciples.  That is what bearing fruit is for a disciple, bringing glory to God.  Allowing Jesus to work through them in the world.

When you think about it, in the context of the meal and the conversation Jesus was having with his disciples that night and the events that were to come in just a few hours, letting the disciples know that they would have to stick with him was a very important statement.  Jesus would later commission them after his resurrection to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20  What was Jesus commissioning his disciples to do?   To go and bear fruit in the world by making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all the Jesus had taught.  Not only that, but Jesus said he would be with them to the end of the age.  The true vine and the branches.

Why did he choose of all things, the true vine?

For the longest time, the grapevine has represented the nation Israel’s fruitfulness in doing God’s work.  Consider these passages of scripture:

You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.  Psalm 80:8

Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches because of abundant water.  Ezekiel 19:10

 The vineyard of the LORD Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight.  Isaiah 5:7

In fact, part of the passover meal included drinking from the fruit of the vine as a representation of God’s goodness to His people.  Jesus said “I am the true vine.”  What is important about the word true?  True here means genuine, authenticity, the real deal.  You see, those passages of scripture we just looked at and even the drink of the passover meal were all representations of the true vine, Jesus.

How does any of this relate to me as a Christian?

As disciples of Christ, we have to ask ourselves a very important question;  are we attempting to live as a branch away from the true vine?  In John 15: 4 Jesus says “Remain in me, and I will 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.”  Have you come to a point in you walk with Christ that you feel a bit dry or a withered up?  Do you feel like you are not experiencing the vibrance you once did with him?  Maybe it is time to take a look and see where you are remaining in him and where you have separated yourself from him.  I encourage you to take some time today and prayerfully evaluate your life with Christ.  Attach yourself to the true vine so that you may bear fruit.

-Stay Rooted Col 2:7-

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