What did Jesus mean when He said, “I am the true Vine” (John 15:1)?

What does it mean that Jesus is the true vine? In John 15:1 Jesus says: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”

Christianity is about Total Dependence on Jesus Christ
“I am the true vine” is one of the seven “I AM” statements of Jesus Christ. The entire essence of Christ’s illustration of Him being the true Vine and His disciples being the branches is to teach that Christians need to live in total dependence on Jesus.
Without Jesus Christ leading us, our lives would be purposeless and meaningless because Jesus is the source of abundant life and purpose for the Christian believer.

Acts 17:28 says: For in Him we live and move and have our being.
This means that for the Christian believer, our identity, our actions, our thoughts, our lifestyle and our belief systems should be entirely connected to Jesus Christ.

So in John 15:1-17, Jesus was emphasizing the importance of His disciples being spiritually connected to Him. As Christians, we are the branches whilst Jesus is the true vine through whom we have spiritual life.

In John 15:2-5 Jesus also says: “Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

 

Our relationship with Jesus as the true Vine and Christians as the branches means the following:

1. We need to be saved by Jesus in order to bear fruit. From the moment we become born again through believing Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we immediately receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The good fruit we bear is that of the Holy Spirit which is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23).

2. We cannot produce good fruit without being connected to Jesus. This means we are purposeless without a spiritual connection or relationship with Christ. For our life to have meaning, we need Jesus who is the Source and Sustainer of life.
In John 15:5 Jesus says: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing”

3. We cannot glorify God without bearing good fruit. It is through our obedient relationship with Christ that we can magnify and glorify the Father so that others may witness God’s goodness and also desire to know the Lord. We need Jesus in order to display and express the nature, the characteristics and the lifestyle that represents the goodness of God in our personal day-to-day life.
In John 15:8 Jesus says: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.”

4. We become equipped and draw strength from Jesus Christ. Every day we face different life challenges, temptations and trials. It is only through abiding in Christ as the true vine that we gain the strength to remain fruitful in the midst of negative external circumstances. By abiding in Christ as our true Vine, the Lord gives us the strength to overcome the obstacles we face in a fallen and wicked world.

Ephesians 6:10 says: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

5. We need Jesus to obtain eternal life. Without Jesus we cannot have everlasting life. Anyone who is cut-off from Christ, will unfortunately experience eternal punishment.
In John 15:6 Jesus says: “If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”

So Jesus is the only true sustainer and source for eternal life. Like branches without the vine, we cannot have life.
1 John 5:12 says: Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

 

Conclusion
Jesus wants us to depend on Him for everything. He wants us to remain connected to Him through prayer; reading, studying and meditation of His word; and through obedience to sound doctrine.
He is always wanting us to be genuine in our relationship with Him and to worship Him in spirit and truth.
It is only through Christ that we can bear good fruit and glorify the Father in Heaven.

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