Read: John 15, Psalm 15
Who: Who wrote this book? Who did they write it to? What was their reason for writing?
What: What does this passage say about God, me, and my relationship with him?
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” (v.1)
The prophet Isaiah likened the nation Israel to a vineyard planted by the Lord (see Isaiah 5:1-7). The Lord did everything an expert vine-dresser could do to provide for His vineyard, but when He looked for a crop of good grapes it yielded only bad fruit. Therefore, the Lord removed its protection and the vineyard became a wasteland. The fruit the owner of the vineyard was looking for was described: “He looked for justice, but saw bloodshed, for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.”
The picture of the ruined vineyard would have been in the minds of Jesus’ hearers when He declared, “I am the True Vine and my Father is the Gardener.” We who have put our faith in Christ are seen as branches on which the fruit is born.
Why: Why is the truth important?
Using the word picture of the Vine and branches, Jesus makes several points:
- His Father is the Gardener who watches over the vine, cutting off branches which bear no fruit and pruning – cutting off the excess foliage – of the branches which bear good fruit so they will be even more fruitful. (v.2)
- We must remain connected to the Vine in order to bear good fruit. (vv. 4-8)
- An essential aspect of remaining connected to the Vine is to obey Jesus’ primary command: “Love one another as I have loved you.” When we do not act in love toward one another, the connection between Jesus and His follower is threatened. (vv. 9-11)
- The relationship between the branch and the vine is initiated by Jesus. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit.” (v.16)
How: How would my life, character and perspective be different if I truly believed this truth?
If I truly believed the truth that I could not bear good fruit unless I remained in the vine, I would make my personal connection to Christ the highest priority of my life.
If I truly believed my connection with Christ was rooted in obedience to His command to love one another, I would evaluate my relationships against the criteria of love established in the New Testament (see I Corinthians 13).
Father, I want to produce good fruit in my life, fruit which pleases you. Help me to cultivate my connection to Jesus every day. Help me to love my fellow believers and all whom I contact according to the standards of the Bible. I understand you have chosen me, and I submit to your pruning. In the Name of Jesus, the True Vine, Amen.
Follower of Jesus and lover of His church; married to Johnese for 48 years; father of the RCC lead pastor, Jon; proud papa to fourteen of the smartest, most beautiful, etc. etc.; ordained with the Assemblies of God; soon retiring superintendent of the Potomac Ministry Network.