Studies in the Gospel of John- I Am the Vine
I. “I AM the True Vine and my Father is the Vinedresser”
A. “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. (John 15:1-5)
B. Here we come to the final “I AM” statement in the Gospel of John. The statement is recorded within the Lord’s last night with the disciples before His crucifixion. This statement is followed by a discourse concerning the disciples relationship with Himself. The example is very clear in that any branch that is not connected to the Life-Giving Stem will of course be unfruitful and wither.
C. “I am the true vine,…. The fruit of which he had been just speaking of at supper with his disciples; and then informs them, that he himself is the vine from whence that fruit must be expected, which should be partook of by them in his Father’s kingdom;…from him come the wine of divine love, of Gospel truths and Gospel ordinances, the various blessings of grace, and the joys of heaven, which are the best wine reserved by him till last: Christ is the “true” vine; not that he is really and literally so, without a figure; but he is, as the Syriac renders it, נפתא דשררא, “the vine of truth”. Just as Israel is called a noble vine, (On the Maccabean Coins Israel was represented by a Vine)…Christ is the noble vine, the most excellent of vines, wholly a right seed, in opposition to, and distinction from, the wild and unfruitful, or degenerate plant of a strange vine: to him agree all the properties of a right and real vine; he really and truly communicates life, sap, juice, nourishment, and fruitfulness to the several branches which are in him. The metaphor Christ makes use of was well known to the Jews; for not only the Jewish church is often compared to a vine, but the Messiah too, according to them: thus the Targumist explains the phrase in Psalm 80:15, “the branch thou madest strong for thyself”, of the King Messiah:…The Jews (k) say, there was a golden vine that stood over the gate of the temple, and it was set upon props; and whoever offered a leaf, or a grape, or a cluster, (that is, a piece of gold to the temple, in the form of either of these,) bought it, and hung it upon it. And of this vine also Josephus (l) makes mention, as being in Herod’s temple; of which he says, that it was over the doors (of the temple), under the edges of the wall, having clusters hanging down from it on high, which filled spectators with wonder as for the size of it, so for the art with which it was made. And elsewhere he says (m), the inward door in the porch was all covered with gold, and the whole wall about it; and it had over it golden vines, from whence hung clusters as big as the stature of a man:…” -John Gill
D. Psalm 80, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15, Zechariah 6:12, John 19:5
II. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.”
A. The way for fruitful living to manifest itself in us is to abide in Him and His words to abide in us! Abiding in His Love is Key.
B. “If we keep His commandments” Jesus said, “you will abide in My Love.” “This is My commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.”
C. Ephesians 3:17-19, John 15:15