Summary: Believers depend completely on Jesus who came that first Christmas as the source of their spiritual life. He show that life through the images of The Vine (John 15:1a, 5a), 2) The Vinedresser (John 15:1b), 3) The Vine Branches (John 15:2–11)
To explain the impact of Jesus coming to this earth that first Christmas, the image of the branch and the vine was used to illustrate being in relationship with Him. Just as a branch depends entirely on the vine for life, sustenance, growth, and fruit, so believers depend completely on Jesus who came that first Christmas as the source of their spiritual life. He show that life through the images of The Vine (John 15:1a, 5a), 2) The Vinedresser (John 15:1b), 3) The Vine Branches (John 15:2–11)
1) The Vine (John 15:1a, 5a)
John 15:1a [15:1]"I am the true vine, (and my Father is the vinedresser). (ESV)
John 15:5a 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). (ESV)
This is the last of the seven “I AM” statements in John’s gospel, all of which affirm the deity of this one born in Bethlehem (6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; cf. 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5–6). As God in human flesh, Jesus rightly pointed to Himself as the source of spiritual life, vitality, growth, and productivity.
The Old Testament portrays Israel as God’s vine (Psalm 80:8; Jer. 2:21), the channel through which God’s covenant blessings flowed to the world. Yet its unfaithfulness, made it an empty vine, which disqualified it as the channel for God’s blessings. Those blessings now come only from union with Jesus Christ, the true vine. Jesus is the true vine in the sense that He is the final and complete revelation of spiritual truth. We wait for no other Christmas.
As Jesus is the Vine, He describes God, His Father as:
2) The Vinedresser (John 15:1b)
John 15:1b [15:1] ("I am the true vine, and) my Father is the vinedresser. (ESV)
During His incarnation, that first Christmas, Jesus willingly assumed a subordinate role to the Father (cf. Jn. 14:28). Vinedresser (Georgos) refers to one who tills the soil; hence a farmer (2 Tim. 2:6; James 5:7), or a vine-grower (Matt. 21:33, 34, 35, 38, 40, 41; Mark 12:1, 2, 7, 9). Apart from planting, fertilizing, and watering the vine, the vinedresser had two primary responsibilities in caring for it. First, he removed the branches that did not bear fruit. Second, he pruned the ones that did bear fruit, thus enabling them to bear more fruit. It is with those two types of branches that the rest of Christ’s analogy is primarily concerned.
Therefore in this story explaining the significance of Christ in Christmas we all:
3) The Vine Branches (John 15:2–11)
The two types of branches represent the two types of disciples outwardly professing attachment to Jesus: a) the genuine branches that abide in Him (John 15:2b–5, 7–11), and b) the false branches that do not (John 15: 2a, 6).
a) The blessings of abiding branches (John 15:2b–5, 7–11)
Three distinguishing marks of the true branches stand out in this analogy. They bear fruit (vv. 2, 4, 5, 8). That characteristic most clearly sets them apart from the false branches (cf. vv. 2, 8). And, they also abide (remain; continue) in Christ’s love (v. 9).
Because He wants them to be spiritually productive, the Father takes every branch that bears fruit and prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. All true believers, those who abide in Christ and He in them, will bear spiritual fruit, but believers cannot bear fruit on their own, because as He plainly stated, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing (cf. Hos. 14:8).
The Lord promised to impart to believers His joy—the joy that He shares in intimate fellowship with the Father. These things I have spoken to you, Jesus said to the eleven, so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. The Lord promised that His own joy will permeate and control the lives of those who walk in communion with Him.
In contrast to the blessings of abiding branches is
b) the burning of non-abiding branches (John 15: 2a, 6)
John 15:2a 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). (ESV)
John 15:6 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. (ESV)
A very different fate awaits the branches that do not bear fruit. Because they are detrimental to the health of the vine, the vinedresser would cut off the dry, lifeless, withered branches. In the Lord’s analogy, the vinedresser (the Father) takes the unregenerate false branches away from their superficial attachment to the vine, and they are thrown away. There is no true life apart from life from the one that came that first Christmas. Some may try to life apart from him for a time, but like branch separated from the vine, it will wither and die.