5 “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. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:5-6
There is a gentleman in my neighborhood that a grape vine. Every year he prunes it, ties the branches up and really puts a great deal of work on it. Despite all his work, his vines never produce. Year after year, there are no grapes. He blames it on the birds or deer, he claims the neighbors steal them or the neighborhood kids eat them. He always has a reason why there is never fruit.
Many of us are like this man in our spiritual lives. We rely on ourselves; we make a good show of all we do. We are quick to boast about what we have done and as quick to blame others when it doesn’t work out. But we have forgotten the most important thing. We have failed to rely on God. For anything in our lives to be truly fruitful it must be through God.
There are several references to wine in the Bible. In fact, 256 times. Wine was not just made from grapes but from dates, figs, and pomegranates. It was consumed as part of the regular diet, during celebrations and weddings. Wine was even used for medicinal purposes and gifted as a symbol of blessing. That is why grapes, wine and the vineyard are used in parables because everyone was familiar with the process. Within this chapter, (John 15) Jesus repeats several times that He is the vine and we the branches. One may wonder why Jesus repeated the theme. In Jewish learning the process of rote or repetitious learning was principle. The average mind requires the reiteration of truth before it can make that truth its own. By repeating “I am the Vine and you the branches”, Jesus is emphasizing the relationship between Jesus and the Christian.
The vine is connected to the root system and its function is to nourish the branches. The branches are the conduit through which the vine expresses itself. Grapes do not appear on the vine or the trunk. Only the branches bear fruit and that fruit is a direct result of the vine’s nutrients. The vine is the source of life.
Jesus is the source of life for all that choose him. Without him there is no life. Only through Christ can the branches, Christians, flourish. Does your life produce fruit? Can those around know that your fruit comes from the spiritual relationship that you share with Jesus? Or, like my neighbor, are your branches barren? Has the relationship grown cold? Or maybe you are trying to do it all yourself and not relying on Jesus.
Jesus said: apart from me you can do nothing.
Typist for Jesus