Pastor’s Thoughts

Apr 25, 2024

What Does Jesus Mean by Vine and Branches? Listen now to Jesus as he begins one of His most amazing statements: “I am the vine; you are the branches…” (John 15:5). Such a simple statement, yet you can spend a lifetime plumbing the depths of it. Let’s explore its meaning. Jesus first mentions that He is the vine a few verses earlier: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener” (John 15:1). There are a number of Old Testament references that speak of Israel being a vine, planted and tended by God. Yet instead of bearing good fruit, it was degenerate. It was a false vine. Against this background, Jesus speaks of Himself as the true vine, the One who will bear good fruit to His Father’s approval and glory. Now we understand a bit more about our verse at hand. Jesus is the vine, the true source of life for us believers. We are branches connected to Him, drawing that life from Him as branches draw the necessary nutrients to survive and flourish. At first glance, we may assume that branches bear fruit, but in another sense, it’s really the vine that makes it all happen. The point is: there is such interconnectedness that while we are doing the work, Jesus is doing the work in us as well. But there is even more here in this short statement. When Jesus says that He is the vine, it is the last of a series of statements He makes in the gospel of John using the same form: “I am the Bread of life, I am the Good Shepherd, I am the Resurrection and the Life.” The repeated use of “I am” suggests the name God gave to Moses by which to call Him: “I am who I am” (Ex. 3:14). Jesus is implying that He is the vine from which all life comes, that He is indeed God as the Son. Every life in the created order came through Jesus (John 1:3), and the new life of the Kingdom now flows out of Him as well.