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 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.
(John 15:1-6 ESV)
Jesus used this illustration to teach his disciples what it means to Abide in Him. The union with Christ is a living, permanent and complete one; both the vine and the branches are dependent on each other.
Without the vine, the branch can do NOTHING. The life, sap, fatness and fruitfulness of the branch are only possible because of its attachment to the vine.
As a Christian, only what I do through the power of Christ in me pleases God. The only good fruit I bear is through the life-sap of the Holy Spirit. I know this; it is not a surprise to me. I know that I can only do what is pleasing in God's sight if I do it as I am led by Him.
But there is a surprise in this parable.
Without the branch, the vine can also do NOTHING. A vine with no branches bears no fruit.
Andrew Murray writes,
Such is the wonderful condescension of the grace of Jesus; just as His people are dependent on Him, He has made Himself dependent on them. Without His disciples He cannot dispense His blessing to the world. . . This is God's own doing, giving such high honour to those He has called His redeemed ones!
As neither vine nor branch is anything without the other, so is neither anything except for the other.
ALL THE VINE POSSESSES BELONGS TO THE BRANCHES!
The vine does not gather the minerals from the soil for itself - all it does in its work of bringing minerals, water, and nutrients from the soil is FOR the branches!
"The glory which You gave Me I have given them." ~ John 17:22
"All that Jesus is in heaven, He is for us. He has no interest there separate from ours; as our representative He stands before the Father on our behalf!" ~A. MurrayALL THE BRANCH POSSESSES BELONGS TO THE VINE!
The branch bears fruit that proclaims the excellence of the vine; it has no reason to exist except to be of service to the vine.
The entirety of the believer's consecration is given for service to his Lord.
- every power of his being
- every moment of his life
- every thought
- every feeling
ONE THING to live for: the will, the glory, the work, the kingdom of JESUS.
THE OBJECT OF THE UNION BETWEEN VINE AND BRANCHES
To bear fruit. Only to bear fruit.
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away."
- the leaves of the branch are for the maintenance of its life, for the perfection of its fruit
- the fruit is for others - it is given away
The believer must forget himself and live entirely for others; this is why Jesus came:
- to love them
- to seek them
- to save them
Can you say with Andrew Murray these heartfelt words?
"Jesus is indeed to me the True Vine, bearing me, nourishing me, supplying me, using me, and filling me to the full to make me bring forth fruit abundantly."
"I am indeed a branch of Jesus, the True Vine, abiding in Him, resting on Him, waiting for Him, serving Him, and living so that through me, too, He may exhibit the riches of His grace, and give His fruit to a dying world."
Jesus looks at His people with love. I can picture Him saying,
"It is my desire to make you a fruitful branch; Only abide in Me. You are weak, but I am strong; You are poor, but I am rich. Only abide in Me.
In case you missed it, abiding is nothing but
- the acceptance of my position
- the consent to be kept there
- the surrender of faith, knowing the STRONG VINE will hold the weak branch.