The True Vine.
“I am the true vine and my father is the gardener.”
“I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15.
I have chosen this as my last reflection this week as it is probably my favourite and I think speaks volumes for our church. According to John, Jesus twice makes the claim that He is ‘the vine’. On the first occasion He links Himself with the Father, and on the second occasion with the believer. It is interesting to note that in the Old Testament the nation of Israel was also depicted as a vine planted by Jehovah ( Psalm 80:8-16; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15:1-8’ 17:5-10’ 19:10-14; Hosea 10:1). But the nation proved unfaithful and unfruitful, so the Lord Jesus now presented Himself as the true vine, the perfect fulfilment of the perfect vine God intended.
In these words Jesus is telling us to stay close to Him and to each other. He is the source of all we need in our lives, He will feed and nourish us if we continue to believe and trust in Him. These words from the Gospel of John reflect the work of ‘the Vine’ in our church, which many may not even be aware of. It is a way of caring for and interacting with one another outside Sunday morning worship, a way of spilling out into the everyday lives of people where we can make a real difference, and building each other up as part of the body of Christ.
By its very nature, ministry involves interaction with others, our whole path is defined by our relationships with people and God, and Christ commands us as His disciples to stay together and build one another up in love. John 15 says: “Just as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” It is the love of Christ which enables us to stay together. We cannot do anything in our own strength because our strength comes from Christ – like the branches of a vine gain their strength from the vine itself. If they do not remain as part of the vine, they are cut off and perish. So too it is with us. When we try to do things in our own strength it often leads to failure so we need to build one another up in Christ, remembering that we all belong to the vine, the body, each with our own unique gifts to bring to serve Him and one another.