Summary: Jesus is the true vine—life, peace, joy, and the fulfillment of the Old Testament type.
We talked a little last time about the first six verses of John 15, and we’re going to go back and study a little more of verse one. It’s there that we read Jesus saying, “I am the true vine,” and I’d like to think a little more about what that means. We’ve already concluded that Jesus is the source of all spiritual life, and the spiritual fruit we have is because we live in him and cling to him, but now we’re going to see a little more into what the original Jewish disciples may have thought when they heard him say this. To begin let’s go back to the Old Testament:
In Deuteronomy 32 we find another song from Moses about God and Israel. He describes how God saved Israel and set them apart (v. 7-14), but they forsook him (v. 15-18), so he turned them over to their enemies (v. 19-26):
The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the suckling also with the man of gray hairs. 26I said, I would scatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to cease from among men: 27Were it not that I feared the wrath of the enemy, lest their adversaries should behave themselves strangely, and lest they should say, Our hand is high, and the LORD hath not done all this. 28For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. 29O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! 30How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? 31For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. 32For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: 33Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. 34Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? 35To me belongeth vengeance and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste. 36For the LORD shall judge his people, and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up, or left. 37And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, 38Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection. 39See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. 40For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. 41If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. 42I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy. 43Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people (v. 25-43).
When Israel’s enemies saw her fall they rejoiced in their own gods and strength. They thought Israel’s God was nothing, and God says, but wait until you see the end. Israel’s fall isn’t permanent: the day comes when I repent myself for my servants! In other words, a day will come when I won’t be angry with them anymore and I’ll save them. But you! What I have prepared for you is stored up in my treasures. Just wait until you see your end. Then you’ll cry out to these so called ‘gods’ and find out that your vine is nothing!
And that’s the point I want to focus on in this study: the nations fell because their vine couldn’t give them life; it was useless, but Israel’s God (Israel’s Vine) can kill and make alive, and wound, and heal, and no one can deliver out of his hand.
Jesus is the true vine.
Let’s look at another verse:
And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life. 22And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, 23Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl. 24For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him. 25And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon (1 Kings 4:21-25).