Read: John 15:1-11
I am the true vine. (v. 1)
The small planting of vines my parents tended ripened about the same time as the apple trees in our yard, but I never really noticed them until harvest. Apple blossoms fill the countryside with their bright color and fragrant aroma as if making a grand announcement. Grapes provide no such fanfare, yet their abundant clusters of fruit far exceeded their meager spring blossoms. In speaking of the vine and the branches, Jesus was telling us something true about himself, about us, and about our mission.
That Jesus called himself the “true vine” (John 15:1) contrasts with Psalm 80, where Israel is pictured as a vine that God brought out of Egypt, only to be burned and cut down because of unfaithfulness. The same psalm promises that the burned up vine will be replaced by “the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself” (Ps. 80:17). This is Jesus! As God’s Son, he is the true vine.
We, along with the disciples, are the branches (John 15:5). Branches on a vine exist for one reason: to bear fruit. This fruit-bearing is only possible if the branch does one thing: abide in Jesus. There is little fanfare in abiding. Stay rooted in his words (v. 7) and saturate our lives with love for God (v. 9) and love for one another (v. 12). When we do, we are both joyful and full (v. 11). Abundant clusters of grapes will come from simply abiding in the True Vine! —Jon Opgenorth
As you pray, thank God for grafting you into the True Vine.
About the Author
Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.