1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
This allegory is at the heart of Jesus' farewell discourse to the disciples.
This passage illustrates the beauty of dependence upon Jesus, and its symbolism is historically significant. The Old Testament used the vineyard or vine as a symbol for Israel, God's covenant people.Yet, Israel's failure to produce fruit led to their divine judgment.
Jesus, by contrast, is the true vine, and His followers are to remain in Him and produce much fruit for God. The key word of this passage is “abide,” or “remain,” which suggests an effortless resting in the Lord, confident in the promised union between the vine and the true branches.
In the context of this passage, “remain” seems to emphasize an ongoing faith and loving obedience to the Father and the Son that results in fruit. The fruit in this passage references Spirit-generated behavior of Christians—works only done as a result of a relationship with Christ.
Jesus is both the initiator of our connection to Him and the sustainer of that connection.
He states: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you” (v. 3). Our being washed clean by the blood of Jesus motivates us to live in relationship with Him. He initiates that relationshipand motivates intimacy: “Abide in Me, and I in you” (v. 4).
We are reminded that we cannot bear fruit without Him: “apart from Me you can do nothing” (v. 5). Until we realize that God is the beginning, middle, and ending of our relationship with Him, we will fall prey to legalism, thinking that we can maintain the relationship ourselves. We cannot keep His commandments without His grace.
We must constantly remind ourselves of our helpless dependence upon the Vine.
- What role does the Holy Spirit play in our pruning and fruit-bearing process?
- How does “abide” imply an effortless resting in the Lord? How can you rest in Him this week?
Pray that you would remain in Jesus and rely on His grace and mercy to equip you for good works for the Kingdom.