One With Them: Branches of the Same Vine
In John 15, Jesus paints a majestic (and extremely helpful) word picture that shows us who we are in relation to Him:
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
In this picture, we see a vine – a beautiful, healthy, vibrant vine with many branches. And what do we find on these branches? Fruit – delicious, life-giving fruit that makes the vine all the more beautiful to behold. “Ah, yes,” you might say, “the fruit that I produce for God when I do great things for His kingdom.” But the question is, are we actually producing fruit? Or do we feel empty, weary, lifeless – striving to make a difference in the world but confused as to why we haven’t sprouted even the tiniest bud? Perhaps we should examine this word picture more closely.
Look: there’s the vine, and there are the branches. And on the branches, there’s the fruit. Now, what would happen if one of the branches were cut off from the vine? How much fruit would it produce then? If you said, “not much,” you are correct! But if the branch remains attached to the vine, what must it do to continue producing fruit? Jesus gives us the answer in one word: “abides.”
To abide means to stick to, stand by or go along with something. Doesn’t sound too hard, right? But later in the same chapter of John, Jesus says, “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love…” Starting to sound a little harder. Yet the wonderful secret that Jesus shares in His word picture is that we, the branches, naturally produce fruit when we are connected to Him, the vine. If you desire to keep His commandments and produce fruit for Him, the key is to abide in Him and the life-giving nourishment He secured for you in His death and resurrection. Because of the new life we have in Christ, who has delivered us from the death of our sins, we can trust Him to produce fruit through us. What a magnificent truth, especially for weary branches!
As we pray for persecuted Christians around the world, all of whom are branches of the same vine, let’s remember that it is Christ who sustains us all. Let’s pray that all believers will abide in Jesus, finding their rest and strength in Him alone. Let’s pray that as we all abide, we’ll produce fruit for His glory, so that the one true vine might receive all of the honor and worship that He deserves. Amen.