Summary: Jesus made some incredible claims. Was He crazy? A lunatic? A liar? Was He actually telling the truth and therefore should be viewed as Lord?

Liar, Lunatic or Lord?

Pt. 3 - Vine

I. Introduction

Lie Detector Test

Have you ever dealt with someone who couldn't or wouldn't tell the truth? It is maddening. They constantly fabricate. White lies. Bold face lies. Outright lies. No truth to be found. Then there are those that are crazy. You know that person . . . the elevator doesn't go all the way to the top. They are off their rocker. They have a screw loose. The cheese slid off of their cracker! Most of us have dealt with folks like this, but have you ever stopped to think that there were days when people thought these things about Jesus? I remind you that not only did Jesus' family, but the religious leaders of His day thought that at times!

Jesus' own family in Mark 3 try to corral Him and they say, "He is out of His mind!"

The religious leaders felt the same way. Remember what we have been reading in

Text: John 8:58-59 (NIV)

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

The religious leaders rise up and try to kill Jesus because they think He has lost His mind. When Jesus uses this phrase, and this isn't the first time, the leaders consider it blasphemy. Jesus is saying in no uncertain terms that He is God Himself. It is these "I am" statements that made the people of His day wrestle with Jesus’ identity. We too need to wrestle with His identity.

CS Lewis said . . .

"You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.”

He claimed to be The Bread of Life, The Light of the world, and last week we looked at His claims that He was the Gate and The Good Shepherd. Today, He makes another claim that we must examine.

TEXT: John 15:1-8 (NIV)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no 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. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

We miss that the way Jesus would have said this in His native tongue which was "The True Vine . . . I am!"

Is He a liar? Is He a Lunatic?

What is Jesus saying? What does He mean?

Jesus' claim here to be The True Vine would have been shocking to His disciples because as good Jews they would immediately recognize the implications of this claim. The Jews were taught from a young age that Psalm 80 and Isaiah 5 that Israel, the nation and the people group, is the vine and God is the vinedresser watching over the vine. Jesus is reinterpreting this passage, hijacks it if you will, to change the playing field. He literally inserts Himself into the role of what connects us to God. So, when Jesus says, “I am the true vine” He is really saying, “I am the true Israel.” He is saying that He is the embodiment of all that Israel should be. “Should be” because, as is well known, Israel did not faithfully execute her mission as God’s representative. So, He is refocusing the disciple’s identity off their national identity to an identity in Him. He is saying your connection to God isn't because of your Jewishness. Your connection to God is through me . . . Jesus!

Jesus is addressing:

Connection vs. Attachment

Connection gives you power, attachment sucks the life out of you.

Jesus is declaring that our connection to God can only be found in and through Him. Literally what flows from God goes to Jesus and then flows to us. He is the delivery system. This truth reveals that some of us are attached to the church, but not connected to Jesus. We wonder why we are attending church, but we are not experiencing the flow of life. We are attached to Christian teachings and lifestyles, but not connected to Jesus. We wonder why we aren't experiencing the flow of power. We must come to an understanding that Jesus is the vine. The church isn't the vine. Christian teachings aren't the vine. Christian friends aren't the vine. We don't experience the flow of power, the flow of strength, the flow of peace, the flow of provision if we are only attached, in close proximity, an associate of Jesus! We must be connected.

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