Summary: When Jesus talk about the vine in John 15, what point is he trying to get across to his disciples, and us today?
(during this message, although I use the example of the vine like mentioned by Jesus in John 15, I intersect with an example of a tree, the stem(trunk), branch, and fruit.)
This morning let’s answer five questions about John 15:1-9.
#1 Who is speaking? Jesus
#2 Who are those receiving these words? The disciples
#3 What is the time that Jesus is giving this teaching to them? The night of his betrayal and arrest
#4 Where did they receive this teaching? The upper room
#5 What is the purpose of this teaching? For that answer, lets get to the Word of God.
Jesus gives a word picture, by this I mean that as he describe the vine, the branch and the fruit, we begin to get a picture in our mind of what he is saying. Now do you know what a vine is? Let me give you another example. Think of the bitter kola tree that is right outside. It has the same structure as a vine, like Jesus talked about. You see the stem (trunk or base) goes into the ground and up very high. Then off of that stem are branches. Then the branches can produce leaves, or even like the bitter kola tree, they produce fruit. This is the same thing that Jesus is talking about when he talks about the vine. I vine is a long plant that has a stem, then the branches grow off the stem, and off the branches grow fruit.
Why does Jesus give us this word picture? To give us a good understanding that anything that we do, any good thing we do, only comes from him.
Look at John 15:1 : I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Think about a vine, or even the stem of a tree. This is the portion of the plant that gives life. The vine, or stem goes into the ground, it draws water and nutrients from the soil to give the vine life. Jesus is saying that “I am the true vine.” Now we know that God gives us life, like that of when you are born, but Jesus is saying that He is the true vine, the only one that gives true life. What is this true life that he speaks of? It is a life, that goes beyond this life that we live right now. It is the life that is given because you have placed your faith, hope, and trust, in Jesus by what he did on the cross for you. In the chapter before, Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) Jesus is the true vine he is the source of true life.
Then in verse 1 Jesus goes onto say …and my Father is the vinedresser.” In the KJV it says he is the husbandman. Both the vinedresser and the husbandman are the same meaning, which simply means the vine worker or the pruner. In other words, he manages the vine, he cares for it, and maintains it, to keep it growing. How does He do this? Look at verse 2:
…every branch that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that bears fruit he prunes, that it may bear fruit.
When a vinedresser, or the person that cares for the vine and makes sure that it grows, looks at the vine, he can see whether a branch is good, or if it is bad. He knows this simply by what the vine is producing. If it is not producing, it is taking up valuable space of the vine. It may even be taking food from the trunk or stem that can be used for branches that can produce fruit. So what does the vinedresser do? He cuts it away. He removes it so that branches that are producing can grow and produce more fruit.
But a vinedresser has another job, to prune back the branches that are producing fruit. The is a difference in pruning and cutting away. When the vinedresser cuts away he is completely removing the branch because it is not producing fruit. But when a vinedresser prunes a tree, he simply cut it back a little bit after it has produced fruit, so it is ready to produce fruit again.
Now in verses 1 & 2, the word picture has been set. We understand what a vine is. We understand the relation that a branch and fruit have to the vine, and we understand the part that a vinedresser plays. So why is Jesus telling us about a vine? Is he giving us an agriculture lesson? Or do you think he is giving us a principle on how to live our lives that is pleasing to him? Look at verse #3…