The True Vine

Jesus the true vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in  me. 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.

John 15:1-5

I can remember speaking from this passage when we first started to get involved in our church here in Great Yarmouth. I talked at one point about pruning – how, to all outward appearance it looks only damaging. The rose bush is trimmed back until there’s nothing beautiful left. I made the point that there are times when God’s pruning feels as though he is cutting us clear through to the bone.

I didn’t know then what the next couple of years would bring, but I stand by what I said. However painful the cut, he only ever prunes for our good, and that we might be more fruitful. And I want to live a life that is fruitful – that I can look back on with satisfaction at the end of my days, for the glory of God, for my own sake and the sake of those who have run with me.

And I stand by everything this passage tells me about Jesus. Branches can have nothing of life without constant connection to their root. The vine is everything – it draws up the minerals, the water they need to live and put forth fruit. No living branch spends even a moment apart from the life-giving root.

Remain in him. Draw near to Jesus, believe in him, be baptised and ask him to enter into your life by the Holy Spirit. Read his word, dwell regularly on how he has given his life to rescue you from judgement, rejoice that he has set his heart on you and determined to give you eternal life and fullness of joy in the presence of God and all the angels. Read, pray, trust, worship, allow him to show you the greater reality of the kingdom he is bringing in and the wonder of life everlasting. Stay connected to him always.

If you want to know peace in uncertain times, remain in Jesus. If you want to stop worrying about your children or your job or anything else, remain in Jesus. He can answer your fears and replace them with peace supernaturally, so that instead of worrying you can go ahead and get on with what he’s asked you to do.

If you want to know comfort in affliction, remain in Jesus. He can sympathise with all your joys and tears, and he is so tender in your grief. His promises give light that will one day make the tunnel look less than momentary. Rather than crushing you, in his hands your experience of affliction can one day allow you to be a comfort to others under crushing weight.

If you want to know freedom from sin and addiction, remain in Jesus. He has paid the awful price to set you free. Draw near and remind yourself of the horror of sin – what it should have cost you, and what it instead cost your saviour. Remain in him, and remember how he has determined not to crush you but to save you, that you would be clean and set apart for his service – that the same power that raised him from the dead is active and at work to cut out the tumours of sin in your life if you are willing to go under his knife. Remain in him and you will find assurance that he can be trusted with your life, even if the cuts go deeper than you thought you could bear.

Don’t settle for a fruitless existence – join yourself to the true vine, and remain in him until he so transforms you that you marvel to think how little you once settled for – and how much God has given us in the precious gift of his son. Remain in him – the gardener’s shears are sharp, but he loves his vine and every single branch that draws its life from him. You might fear pain, loss and hardship, but take heart – if you remain in Jesus, you never need to fear Him.