“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. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples." (John 15:1-8)
Jesus taught that He is the vine of which we are the branches. But not only did He say that He is the vine, but that He is the "true" vine. In the Old Testament, the vine was used as a symbol for the nation of Israel. God planted this nation, this vine, in the Promised Land. God nourished and tended the nation of Israel, guarding it and protecting it. But God found that, instead of yielding a harvest of good fruit, this vine produced bad fruit (Isaiah 5:1-2). Throughout the Old Testament, the people of Israel rebelled against God.
Because His love for His people was so great, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the true vine. Jesus is the vine that produces fruit that is filled with goodness and love. When we become followers of Jesus, we become the branches of that vine, capable of producing good fruit. As disciples of Jesus, we are tended and nourished by God, the vinedresser. In a vineyard, the vinedresser prunes the branches of the vine in order to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased growth. In the same way, God prunes us, in order to purify us, to nourish us, and to remove anything in our lives that should not be there. This pruning helps us to bear good fruit.
If you were to cut a branch off a vine, it no longer would be able to produce fruit. It would not have the nourishment it receives through the vine. That branch would just wither and die. As the branches of the true vine, we will produce fruit only if we abide in Jesus. If we abide in Him and in His words, He abides in us. As branches connected to the true vine, we will bear much fruit. And when we do, God is glorified through us and we show ourselves to be true disciples of Jesus Christ.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.