Summary: Seeing Jesus as the vine of our lives, emphasizes that Jesus is the source of life, and who empowers us to be fruitful.
John 15:1-8 “I am the Vine”
We are a culture obsessed with staying connected. We have cell phones, streaming, text messaging, and GPS tracking. We all need to stay in touch.
Today’s text deals with being connected. Jesus describes the divine connection between his followers and him as similar to that of a vine and branches. The vine gives us life. Connected to Jesus, we have life and we bear fruit.
SOURCE OF LIFE
Christians have always understood humankind to have a special place in creation. We are not everlasting, spiritual beings like the angels, nor are we confined to a mere physical existence like birds, mammals, or fish. We are not gods. We do not become gods, but through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives—the sap that flows through the vine—we take on godlike characteristics. Though we are not gods, we have the life of God flowing through us.
We are branches, connected to the root of life by the vine. This is a dramatically different image than picturing God pouring out God’s blessings upon us like the sun shines and give life to the plants and animals of creation. The image is being connected to God, with God’s life, power, and blessings flowing through us. The emphasis is on the internal rather than the external.
REMAIN IN JESUS
Jesus encourages his followers to remain in him. With the invitation to remain comes with it the acknowledgement that we can separate ourselves from Jesus, the vine.
The term “remain” is defined as “dwelling with,” or “pitching your tent with.” Our relationship with Jesus is nurtured and sustained by remaining in him—connected.
We nurture our relationship by:
¨ Seeing life as a journey—one where we walk with Jesus through life, as opposed to striving to get to him in heaven.
¨ Realizing that we dwell with Jesus when we are about God’s will and not ours.
¨ Practicing spiritual disciplines enable us to nurture our relationship with Jesus and open ourselves to the life that flows through us.
The branches that are connected to the vine will naturally bear fruit. The fruit that the branches bear glorifies God.
One type of fruit that we bear is the fruit of the Spirit. Taking on the characteristics of God both glorifies God and bears witness to God’s power to those around us.
Another fruit is that of people who see God’s love and power in our words and deeds and respond to that love by placing their faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Branches are not intended to be brittle, dry, and dead. Branches are expected to bear fruit. As Christians we grow in the strength of our faith, our lives take on the characteristics of God, and we are bold and loving in our witness. All of these are natural consequences of being connected to the vine.
The Christian life is not one of trying harder. We are not the center of attention. Jesus is the focus. Connected to Jesus, the vine, God’s life runs through us. Transformed, we transform the world in which we live.