John 15 is about abiding in Christ. We will learn about vines, branches, and why it is important for the branches to abide in the vine. We will also learn God loves us, calls us His friend, we will be hated by the world, and that Jesus will send us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God.
The true vine (15:1-3)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
The metaphor in John 15 is of a vine and its branches. The vine is the source and sustenance of life for the branches, and the branches must abide in the vine to live and bear fruit. Jesus is the vine, and the branches are people. While it is obvious the fruit-bearing branches represent true Christians, the identity of the fruitless ones is in question. The Father is the vinedresser.
This introduction sets the stage for our teaching on abiding in Christ. The vine, the husbandman, and the branches. The branches that produce fruit and those that do not.
“Jesus was not introducing a new idea by using the metaphor of a vine and branches. In the Old Testament, God’s vine was Israel. He used them to accomplish His purpose in the world, and He blessed those connected with them. He was the vinedresser; He cared for the vine, trimmed it, and cut off branches that did not bear fruit. But God’s vine degenerated and bore no fruit. The vinedresser grieved over the tragedy of Israel’s fruitlessness:
Let me sing now for my well-beloved a song of my beloved concerning His vineyard. My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill. He dug it all around, removed its stones, and planted it with the choicest vine. And He built a tower in the middle of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; then He expected it to produce good grapes, but it produced only worthless ones. “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between Me and My vineyard. What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones? So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard: I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed; I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground. I will lay it waste; it will not be pruned or hoed, but briars and thorns will come up. I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.” For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel. (Isaiah 5:1-7)
God had done everything He could to make Israel bear fruit, yet it bore none. So He took away its wall and left it unprotected. It was then trampled down by foreign nations and laid waste. Israel was no longer God’s vine; it had forfeited its privilege.
Now there is a new vine. No longer does blessing come through a covenantal relationship with Israel. Fruit and blessing come through connection with Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true Vine.” (The Vine and the Branches, pg. 25, John MacArthur, Grace to you ministries)
This week will help us to determine are we fruitful branches or not.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001