am the True Vine
Jesus says that He is the vine and His people are His
branches, we understand that He is speaking in
figurative language again. Jesus is not literally a
vine with branches coming off Him and fruit hanging on
Him, any more than that He is literally bread or a
door. Rather, Jesus is drawing a figure that was very
familiar to these Jewish disciples, familiar because
vines were a common part of the landscape and of the
farming of that day. There were many vineyards in
Judea. The disciples would easily be able to grasp the
truth of which Jesus spoke if He used this figure.
Besides, this figure would be familiar because it was
part of Old Testament, biblical language. In the Old
Testament, Israel was called “God’s vine”-for
example, Psalm 80:8, 9.
Jesus calls Himself the vine, then, He is drawing a
beautiful picture of Himself with His church. He and
His people are one plant, one living organism. It is a
figure similar to that of the church as Christ’s
body with Christ as its Head. So here, Christ is the
main vine and His people make up the branches joined
to Him. Together they are a united, living organism.
is the source of all life and strength and every
blessing of salvation to His people. In a vineyard,
the vine is the main trunk of the plant. The branches
depend on the vine for their life, for their vitality
and nutrients. The vine is the source, the tap of
these things to the branches. The vine is the means of
support, literally as well as physically, to the
branches. Without the vine the branches have nothing.
They die. That is why they have to be connected to the
vine. It is this way, spiritually, with Christ and His
people. His relationship to them and ours to Him is
such that He is the vine, the source of our life, our
strength, our salvation. He is our total spiritual
support. We depend on Him for everything, just as the
branch depends on the vine for everything. Without
Christ we are nothing. It is in Christ that all the
nutrients of God’s grace that we stand in need of
are found: forgiveness and righteousness and life.
That is why we must be united to Him as branches to
the vine. That union is by faith.
is also the source of fertility. He is the One who
causes the branches to bear fruit. This is one of the
major points in this passage in John 15. Five times
our Lord mentions bearing fruit or not bearing fruit.
And it all hinges, you will notice, on being connected
to the vine. Just as in nature the vine is the power
of the branches being able to produce fruit, so also
in the realm of the spiritual, Christ is the only
power that enables His people to produce fruit. The
spiritual fertility is in Him.
Christ stresses here, negatively, that without Him we
can do nothing. We have no ability to produce good
fruit without Christ. That certainly says something
about our spiritual condition by nature, does it not?
All we can produce, of ourselves, in sin, is the fruit
of sin. More evil, more depravity, more death. The
only reason, child of God, that you and I can bear any
fruit pleasing to God is because Christ is our vine,
the source of our spiritual strength and productivity.
All our good is in Him. All our strength to do any
good is in Him.
know what that fruit of which Jesus speaks is, do you
not? It is the fruit of faith: a real, visible,
living, working faith. Not a mere profession but a
faith that confesses the name of Christ personally,
publicly, boldly, unashamedly before the church-world
and before the unbelieving world. The fruit of which
Jesus speaks is the fruit of a life lived for Christ
in submission to His Word, in obedience to His
commandments. The fruit of which Christ speaks here is
the fruit of a godly character, bearing the image of
Christ, such as: purity, integrity, love,
faithfulness. It is the fruit of a holy walk,
antithetical, separate from the world and pleasing to
God. It is the fruit, dear listener, of daily
repentance and conversion, sorrowing over your sins
and turning from them. These are the fruits which
Christ, the vine, produces in His people as branches.
These are the infallible signs of a true Christian. We
may ask ourselves today: “Do we have these fruits?
Are we bearing them, and are they visible before
is at this point that we need to see how important
this fruit-bearing is from the viewpoint of what the
Father does as the Husbandman, or Vine-dresser, that
is, the One who cares for the vine and its branches.
That is part of the figure.
the first place, Jesus says that every branch that
does not bear fruit the Father takes away. There are
those who believe that this verse teaches that
believers can fall away and lose their salvation. But
it is evident from the rest of Scripture that this
cannot happen. So our text cannot mean this, either.
believe the text is referring to hypocrites, to
unbelievers who are masquerading as Christians. They
are “branches” in the sense that they belong to
the visible manifestation of the church and appear to
be in Christ, even profess Him with their mouth, but
in reality, they are not. So it is that they do not
bear any real fruit, either. They only bear wild
grapes. Because they do not bear good fruit, the
Father prunes the vine of these dead, barren branches.
He cuts them off from Christ, the vine, that is, from
any connection to Him, because they must be shown that
they have no part in Christ.
that purpose be an incentive to you to abide in
Christ. Then the purpose of God being glorified will
also be fulfilled in you. That is the ultimate purpose
of being on the vine and abiding in Him, the ultimate
purpose of your bearing the fruit of good works in
your life-so that the Father may be glorified through
your much fruit. Let the desire that the Father be
glorified fill you. Go and abide in Christ and bear