Summary: This sermon brings new understanding of the last teachings of Jesus to his disciples.
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
Today’s sermon is about the final message from Jesus to His disciples on the night He was betrayed. The last words or message from someone before they die is likely the most remembered. The events could have happened like this.
This conversation probably took place after the strange events in the upper room. Most of you know the story of the upper room. Jesus had desired to partake of the Passover meal with his disciples. Jesus had tried to let his disciples know of his nearing death and resurrection but they did not fully understand. At the end of the Passover meal Jesus laid aside his garments and took a towel and girded himself and begin to wash their feet. This was a task usually left for the humblest of servants. Jesus did this to teach them a lesson about humility and service.
Judas leaves to betray Jesus. Jesus talks to his disciples about many things and then Jesus says “arise let us go from here”. (Judas had already left)
Eleven men follow Jesus down the hill, through the winding streets of Jerusalem. They head for their final destination of the Mount of Olives. As they stay out of the crowds they may have walked single file between rows of neatly tended grapes, plants that have been bearing fruit for generations. Ahead rises the Mount of Olives, where unknown to the disciples, Gethsemane and betrayal await.
Here Jesus stops. Surrounded by rows of vines, the disciples can not go on and they gather around Jesus. Jesus appears to be looking for something on the ground. Jesus reaches down for a grape branch and says: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”
I. The True Vine
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman (vine dresser).
a. (Jesus = the vine) The vine is actually the trunk that grows out of the ground. Which is traditionally cut off to about waist high, ending in a large gnarl from which branches grow in either direction.
b. (God the Father = the husbandman or the vinedresser) The vinedresser is the keeper of the vineyard. His job is simply to coax from his plants the most fruit possible a healthy and properly tended vineyard means more fruit.
c. (You and I = the branches) In the vineyard, the branches are the focus of the vinedresser’s efforts because they produce the fruit. Branches are tied to a trellis or propped up with sticks to let air circulate, provide the maximum amount of sunshine, and to allow full access for tending. The vinedresser lovingly cultivates each branch so that it will bear as much fruit as possible.
II. Lifted Up
2a Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away (“airo” take up or lift up)…
A. Taketh away – some would say this means if you bear no fruit you cannot be a Christian.
a. The Greek word “airo” that some interpret “take away” would be better-interpreted take up or lift up.
b. This verse says “Every branch in me” other scriptures describe the believer as “In Christ” for example:
• 1 Corinthians 1:30 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”
• 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
c. A person who grows grapes will walk countless hours: tending the grapes, watching them develop, waiting for the perfect day to harvest