Imitating Christ – the true Vine
John 15: 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
The significance of the vine was a part of Israel’s history. The vine was to grow and produce fruit. At the same time when God used the image of the vine it was a warning that Israel had gone astray and become a wild vine. Instead of producing the grapes that were large and cultivated, they produced those that were wild, weak, and small. (Ps 80, Hosea10) The vine has not been used to refer to a single individual. Jesus comes to the disciples and tells them that he is the true vine.
As the true vine, he is the one who comes from God and will not change. Jesus would give the branches all they needed to produce good fruit. This puts the Israelites one more step from the father. This will make the Israelites the branches and are required to produce good fruit. Jesus continued to say that although he was the vine, the father was the one that pruned the branches, gardener.
Let me take a look at Psalms 80, and Hosea10 in the understanding that Jesus is the true vine (that never disobeys the father). Starting with Psalms 80 verse 8, it could read more like this. Jesus was transplanted (born a man) a vine on earth, he drove out nations (sin) from our world. The father cleared the hearts of man of sin and Jesus filled him. The mountains were covered by his spirit, and mighty men of God became the branches. The branches became far reaching and those who were saved by their testimony reached throughout the land. Because Jesus is the true vine and would always proclaim the true word of God, verses 12 – 18 would not happen.
Hosea 10: one could read something like the following. Jesus was a spreading vine – spread to where his word was accepted. He brought forth fruit for himself – it is Jesus that produced the fruit and not the branches, the branches carried the spirit of Jesus to the fruit. As more people accepted the spirit of Jesus, he built more places of worship. The people were blessed and others were drawn to them.
As we see Jesus as the vine we also need to look at the father as the gardener. The gardener would prune the branched removing that which is dead or unproductive. First God would remove those who would fall into sin and would not repent, dead branches. Also God would prune that which was unproductive. For a new believer this would be removing sin from their lives. For those who have been living a life of following Jesus it would be that he would remove those things from their lives that hindered their relationship with him.
What hinders you from following Jesus completely? This could be something with our attitude, what we spend our time with, what we spend money on, or something we enjoy doing. All of us will find something in our lives that keep us from be just like Jesus. It is when we allow Jesus to have complete control of our lives that he reveals these things to us. Jesus who know the heart of man knows what and when to remove things that do not fit into his life. This does not mean that what he wants to remove from his people is always sin but something that hinders his people from worshipping him better.