“I am the Vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.”
Jesus Christ is the Vine. We are the branches. If we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit.
Looking at a branch, which bears leaves, I’ve made a few observations. It appears that the branch and it’s leaves have very little striving to do in order to “bear fruit.” It seems as though if the branch attempts to “bear fruit” on its own determination and will, it will be seriously hindered and at an extreme disadvantage. Bear with me for a moment.
The Branch Derives It’s Life from the Vine
It would make little sense for a branch to say to itself, “You know, I think I can do this on my own. I believe I will leap off of this vine and do it myself.” Of course the branch will eventually wither up and die from lack of nutrients and hydration.
It would also be senseless for it to say, “Even though I’m attached to this vine and I get all my life from it, I can still do something myself… I know! I will bear fruit. Then I will be able to show the vine how “fruitful” I am!” Sound familiar?
The branch can do absolutely nothing apart from the vine. “…apart from Me, you can do nothing.” were Jesus’ words concerning this.
So the branch doesn’t have to hydrate itself, give itself the proper nutrients, or even decide where it will grow, or how quickly. The only task for the branch is to express the life that it derives from the vine! (More on this to come.)
The Branch Derives It’s Life from the Sun
Another thing the branch must do to survive is allow the Sun to shine on it. That’s it.
I’m sure we can all agree that the Sun is another picture, or shadow (no pun intended) of Christ. All the branch has to do, besides allow the vine to give it life and vibrance, is to sit and let the big-bright-ball in the sky shine on it.
Well, that big-bright-ball in the sky is figurative for Jesus Christ: The visible image of the invisible God. How hard is that? To sit and just let the Sun shine on the leaves of the branch is about the easiest thing in the world to do.
The trouble is found when the branch would rather be on its own, than where it belongs.
A Quick Look at the Spirit
Often in the Bible we hear of the Holy Spirit being described as water. So I want to take a quick look at this and where it fits in to all this.
So Jesus is the Vine. In nature the vine carries the water to the rest of its counterparts. Because the vine carries the water, the branches and leaves have the ability to live by that water. (We are the counterparts of Christ Jesus because we are the Body of Christ!)
Same is with us, the children of God. Because of Jesus Christ, we can live by the Spirit. You can’t have the Spirit without the Christ. Jesus is the vehicle of the “life-giving Spirit.” Only through Him can we have the privilege of being filled with the Spirit. (That could be an article by itself. I will write that one later.)
A Look at “Pruning”
“I am the true Vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. ” (John 15:1-3 NIV)
It has been said that if we don’t “bear fruit” as Christians, we will be “cut off” from the Vine (Christ). But I think this may be taken a bit out of context. I believe He is speaking of unbelievers there, not the saints. He even says, “You are already clean [pruned] because of the word I have spoken to you.” The “word” He spoke to them was water, it was life. Because of that water and life flowing from the mouth of the Son of Man, we are already clean. We already have the proper nutrients to grow, to be fruitful, and to express the Vine!
Of course there is something to be said about God “pruning” us. He does do that for sure. He gets rid of the fruitless leaves on us that are already dead and withered. The reason they are dead and withered is because anything in us that isn’t Christ, can’t possibly live by His life. They are dead in themselves.
Our Part in the Growing Process
The leaves are the expression of the vine, the gardener, and the branches. So what does this mean? It means exactly that: When we live by the life that is in the Vine, the light from the Sun, and the pruning from the Gardener, we will automatically express Their work.
That’s “our part.” That’s what brings Him glory; to take a branch with its lifeless leaves, give it life, prune it, and give it light, and make it express Him. That is altogether glorious. Anyone can make something strong to display its glory. But only God through Jesus Christ can make something as weak and frail as us, beautiful.
I have a lot more to write on this subject so stay tuned or subscribe. I can’t wait!
Can you think of anymore examples of Christ as the Vine? Or we the branches?