John 15:1–8 NRSV – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 15:2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 15:3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 15:4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 15:6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 15:8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
Summary – Jesus taught His disciples that He is the vine. He feeds us through our relationship with Him which is Life. We have no means of true life apart from Jesus. He is the true vine and we are the branches. Just like branches, we must be connected to the root to bear fruit. He promises those who live in Him will bear much fruit. But those who do not abide or “live” in Him will be thrown into the fires of judgment. Bearing fruit is becoming a disciple or “learner” of Jesus (v8).
Insight – Have you ever seen a dead tree? To some it looks alive since there’s a trunk and branches. The wonderful truth of John 15 is that Jesus is our Source of Life and we are nourished by Him. This means that we are to be connected to Him and we are to live as a result. Observing grapes or any fruit, it is easy to see a physical connection between the root and the branches (or vine and branches), but the secret life of growth requires that we live through Jesus. All those who were gathered for the fire were externally connected at some point. Looking at it from the outside, one branch had just as much appearance of life as the other. But Jesus says only those really receiving His life internally will live. Are you on the inside of this Life or just part of the external appearance of life?
Child Catechism: Jesus is the vine, who are you? I am the branch.
Discussion: What are some ways we receive the life of Christ as branches in Him? How can we bear fruit as a result of living in and through Jesus?
Prayer: Our Father, You are the Owner of the Vineyard of all creation, You have made Jesus the vine of our lives. We thank you for your grace and goodness. Give us the faith to accept life in Jesus and walk in the faith that results in the fruit of faithfulness. In Jesus Name, Amen.