Summary: We must remain connected to our life source, Jesus, the true vine.
August 5, 2007
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Some of the most amazing times in our lives, occur when we experience a deep connection to someone. It may come because of an event we are participating in, a life situation we are celebrating or struggling with. When that connection occurs, we are filled with amazing joy, peace and contentment.
This happened to me this past week when I was visiting with Don McClead. Jan gave me permission to share this with you. Don was in occupational therapy and I went into the therapy area, and he and I began to talk to one another. Then it hit Don who I was. He got this big smile on his face and grabbed me and hugged me. It was a great time of connecting with Don.
If we were to be really honest, these points of connection don’t happen all of the time. Do they? We seem to pass through days and weeks before they occur. We look at family members we live with, but often times we don’t connect with them. We’re like ships passing in the night.
As much as we crave this connection with one another, the deepest connection we have in life is with God. God has created a vacuum in our souls, a vacuum which leads us to have a desire for a relationship with Him, a relationship which leads us to this amazingly strong connection with the God of all creation. If we are not connected to God, then life will always seem less than, instead of more than. So, let’s take a look at how we do that, and what it means.
In John 15, Jesus claimed “I am the True Vine,” the vine which brings life to each branch. The purpose of the vine is to bring nourishment to the branches so they might produce fruit. When separated from the vine the branches wither and die. The vitality of our spiritual life is dependent upon our connection to Christ the “true vine.”
Each of us must answer two questions this morning. First, are we connected to the vine, or is the life of Christ flowing within us? Secondly, if we are connected to the vine and we are joined to Christ, then how much fruit are we producing; no fruit, some fruit, or an abundance of fruit?
Have you ever wondered why Jesus told His disciples, “I am the true vine.” Let’s look at what was happening in Jesus’ life at that moment.
It was the night of Jesus’ betrayal, but before that happens Jesus and the disciples have celebrated Passover, they ate together, Jesus washed the disciples feet, and He spoke to them about His betrayal and departure. At the end of His discussion (John 14), Jesus told the disciples “Come now; let us leave.”
Another one of the disciples, Matthew, tells us that following the Passover meal Jesus and the disciples sang a hymn and then went to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30). As Jesus and the disciples are walking to the Mount of Olives and eventually the Garden of Gethsemane, He continued to instruct these men who had walked with Him for the past 3 years.
Jesus was a master teacher. He didn’t waste any opportunities to teach. He used everyday things to help people understand who God is. So as they were walking they passed something familiar to everyone in Jerusalem – a grapevine.
Jesus used something they were familiar with and could understand. And Jesus proclaimed to the disciples ‘I am the true vine.’ They understood that life flowed from the vine into the branches.
Jesus was showing His disciples and us that He is the source of all true life, and if we want to live a fruitful spiritual life, we must be connected to Jesus.