Summary: This sermon shows the importance of remaining in the Lord for our spritual wellfare. To remain in Jesus we need to have the same life in us, as He did.
The Vine and the Branches
It is at the end of Jesus’ public period. He is on his way thru the big Temple in Jerusalem with his disciples. They pass the big gate into the Holy of the Temple. Above those great gates is a great cluster of Grapes carved into the stone wall. It is a picture of that great Cluster of grapes the explorers brought back to Moses in the desert before the People were to take possession of the land that God had promised their fathers.
This Cluster was so huge that they had to carry it on a pole between themselves! This is what is written in Numbers 13:17-25( 4Mos)
This gigantic cluster of grapes had been carved into the stone wall above the Gates to the Holy part of the Temple.
When Jesus and his disciples pass it, He point to that great picture and in John 15:1-7 it is written what he said.
If you have seen a Vine you know that it is not much to look at. In the autumn there is only the trunk (log) left. Actually it is no ordinary trunk. Because the Vine has almost nothing in common with normal trees. It has no beauty at all and it is certainly not grand and tall. The Vine looks much more like an old tuber (bulb) forced up from the soil to the height of about 70 cm.
It has no practical use at all. You can’t carve anything from it. You can’t make anything from it. All you can do with it is use it as fuel for the fire. That’s why Jesus said that the branches with no fruit get cut off and thrown on the fire. It is the only thing they can be used for.
But this insignificant and ugly tuber has the ability to produce better juice than any other plant on earth. That gives it its hole value.
Like a root out of dry ground
I find it rather odd that Jesus talk about himself as the true Vine. The prophet Isaiah said about Jesus in 53:2 “He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.”
The tuber of the Vine is not good for tool-making or for furniture. All you can use it for is fuel for the fire. You can carve it and human hands can’t use it in any way. All it can do it to give thirsty men relief with the juice from its fruit.
Jesus was like that actually! He was no good at politics. He was far too honest and straight forward and not nationalistic enough. There were no deceitfulness in his speech and he didn’t take sides that he would profit from. That’s why he didn’t try politics.
He was no good at being a high Priest under the old Covenant either. He had not much room for old dead rituals. He was full of flowing life! He wasn’t a dogmatic man. He was the source of the living Water. He gave from its richness without thinking about whether the time or place was proper.
This is why he was only good at being our Lord and Savour. He was meant to carry the enormous burden of the blood red sins of this world.
He was meant to walk to the Cross on Calvary and to die there for our sins so that we could be saved. He was impossible as priest because he was the true sacrificial lamb. He didn’t fit into the political system, but he fitted as an open channel between heaven and earth, between God and Man.
And then, when he hang on the Cross the Prophet Isaiah saw him several hundred years earlier and writes in 53:2b-3
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like on from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not”
Jesus was an outcast, hanging there on the Cross. All those who had been following him and believed in him were very sad and their spirits were broken. With human eyes, He was less worth than the soldiers watching him die.
And still, it was at this very moment, and at that very place, the Cross, he won the biggest victory of all times. It was there on the Cross he fulfilled the greatest mission of all times. The prophet Isaiah continues his description. (v4-)
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows,…But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him (v10) Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his live a guilt offering, he will se his offspring and prolong his days.”