In John 15 a famous teaching by Jesus is seen specifically verses 1-11 in which He teaches His disciples some important principles before He departs from this world. In John 14 the context shows us that Jesus is promising to send the Holy Spirit to aid the disciples’ in their work after His departure while also affirming His deity as One with the Father. This is especially important because oftentimes the disciples’ viewed Jesus as the One who would set up an earthly rule, the Messiah, but failed to see His standing with God and most importantly the eternal realm which Jesus is always directing their eyes towards. John 15 contains several truths which I have been studying recently and I will elaborate on a few of them, although there are certainly more which could be drawn from this passage. First of all, Jesus declares Himself to be the “true vine” while his Father is the “vinedresser.” The declaration by Christ to be the “true vine” is most likely a reference to the nation of Israel who in the Old Testament was called a vine (Isaiah 5:1-7 for example). In the Old Testament the Jews were God’s chosen people yet would continually rebel against God, thus as Isaiah 5:1-7 indicates Israel was compared in a negative sense to a vine. Jesus here affirms that with His coming he is the genuine, real, authentic vine. Salvation would be through Christ and only Christ. Throughout the New Testament the apostles as well as Jesus constantly teach that salvation is for both the Jews and Gentiles, through Christ. Jesus is taking an opportunity to teach His disciples that He alone is the source of salvation, but even further than that by comparing Himself to the vine He gives a wonderful illustration, as Albert Barnes put it below.
The point of the comparison or the meaning of the figure is this: A vine yields proper juice and nourishment to all the branches, whether these are large or small. All the nourishment of each branch and tendril passes through the main stalk, or the vine, that springs from the earth. So Jesus is the source of all real strength and grace to his disciples. He is their leader and teacher, and imparts to them, as they need, grace and strength to bear the fruits of holiness.
The teaching in this part of the verse is clear, namely, that Christ is the true vine and is our source as Christians of all we need. Additionally, God the Father is called the “vinedresser.” This appears to be a testament to how God works, for just as Christ is the vine from which all good flows to the Christians connected to Him, in the same manner God is the husbandman who takes care of the vine, pruning as needed and reaping the fruit produced by it. The comparison is that of God taking Christians and pruning, cleansing them and at the same time being the One who reaps the fruit from these Christians who are growing more in Christ. From this comparison Christ gives, one can clearly see the truths being taught. First, that Christ is our source of everything we need in life. He will provide us with the grace we need daily to serve Him, grow us stronger spiritually, teach us, etc. Christ is our life, without Him we would have nothing. Second, God is the One who oversees our Christian walk, disciplining us as necessary to keep His children on the right track. Additionally, the disciples of Christ ultimately produce fruit so that the Vinedresser may receive the fruit. We are to serve God, knowing that any fruit we produce is because of Christ not ourselves, and the fruit we do produce spiritually is for the glory of God alone! Tomorrow I will be posting some more from this passage, it has been very encouraging yet challenging as I have been studying out the truth of God’s Word.
Application: The application from John 15:1 is several fold.
1. Christians should focus on Christ as the source of all good in their life. We must be connected to the true vine or else we will not be able to produce fruit. Prayer and reading God’s Word are the two ways in which Christians should grow and maintain a relationship with Him.
2. God is overseeing every walk with our life, and even at times when we may feel as if God is not there or involved in our life, He is. Just as the vinedresser takes care of his vineyard and does what is necessary to help the plants grow, God is involved in our life similarly and uses events, circumstances, and trials to develop us into a follower of Christ who will grow and produce more fruit each year. What is encouraging to me personally is that even though there are seasons in our life which may be less fruitful and discouraging, we can rest assured that if we are abiding in Christ and growing in our walk with the Lord that there will be a season of multiplied fruitfulness by the grace of God. Even more encouraging to me personally is knowing my fruitfulness spiritually must find its source in the true vine; Jesus Christ.
I hope these truths from Scripture are a blessing to everyone else as much as they have been to me, any feedback or comments are certainly welcome!