John 15:1-11 Parable of the Vine and the Branches

John 15:1-11 Parable of the Vine and the Branches

          This story takes place after the paschal supper and now Jesus and the disciples were going to the Mount of Olives. There were vineyards by the way. The OT refers to God’s people as a vine God planted (Isa 5:1-7; Ps 80:8-16; Joel 1:7; Jer 2:21; Ezek 19:10). When Jesus says He is the true vine, He is alluding to Jer 2:21. The word “true,” here means real or genuine. The word “remain” or “abide” (KJV) is mentioned 10 times in 11 verses. This should get our attention. This word implies a constant dwelling. It is going in and going out. The point of the metaphor: The word “gardener” means caretaker of a vineyard; whose office it is to nurture, trim, and defend the vine. Look at Matthew 21:33. A vine yields proper juice and nourishment to all the branches, whether these are large or small. So Jesus is the source of all real strength and grace to His disciples.

1. The believer’s life is in made in the true vine.

   a. Notice the allusion to the “I am” in Scripture (with Moses Ex. 3:14 “I AM”and Ex 6:2I am the Lord”, John 6:48I am the bread of life.” John 9:5I am the light of the world”, John 10:9,11I am the gate and the good shepherd”, John14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life”, John 15:1 “I am the vine”.

   b. The truth is every branch is cut. For the branch that has no fruit, he cuts it off completely. For the branch that has fruit, he still cuts it in order to make it more productive. Psalm 80:8-19 tells us that Israel was supposed to be the fruitful to the world.

   c. Jesus says you are already clean v. 3 (essentially, you are ready to produce fruit.) It is easy to get dirty.

2. The believer’s life is maintained by the true vine.

Where there is life in the vine, the Father will provide everything necessary for growth (including pruning). v. 4 “no branch can bear fruit by itself”. Pruning is never comfortable in the present. Its effect is seen later. Maybe you feel the sharp cut in your life now but you will be thankful for God’s great plan of maintenance. Can you imagine what man would be like if there was no suffering? His pride would so great that he would think he was invincible. The story of the tower of Babel is a story of man’s pride growing to a point as to reach the heavens. “Pruning” is a word also translated cleaning (katharizo). Without the pruning, a tree is apt to go all to wood. This happens when the sap of the tree goes exclusively to the formation and growth of fresh branches, and none of it to the production of fruit. Pruning prevents this by cutting their useless purpose. Then all the strength of the tree goes toward healthy branches that produce fruit.

What causes the branch to be unfruitful?

Mark 4:19 answers this from another parable. “And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” “Choke” means smothering. We should not fear the devil but we should not underestimate his plans. Malcolm Muggeridge said, “If the devil can’t get you to convert, then he will try to get you to divert.” Notice also the phrase, “apart from me you can do nothing.” There are a lot of things you could do without the Lord but they would not be fruitful to your heavenly Father.

3. The believer’s life is marked with the true vine.

Notice how many times the words ”bear fruit” occur-6 times. 3 marks of a believer’s life are mentioned in this metaphor.

1. bear fruit v. 2 and 4

2. bear more fruit v. 2

3. bear much fruit v. 5 and 8

4. The believer’s life is modeled in the true vine.

How is this accomplished? v. 7 “If you remain… v. 10 “ If you obey my commands, …” It is impossible to remain in the life of God without a continuing obedience. v. 6 Who is on the mind of Jesus and the disciples when Jesus is speaking these words? “If anyone does not remain in me…”? Judas Iscariot has just left the Passover and gone to betray Jesus. After being with Jesus for 3 years, he leaves.

Lessons for the Branches

1. All believers will be shaped in order to be more fruitful. v. 2

2. All believers can be cut down if they have no fruit. v. 2

3. All believers have the choice to remain or not remain. v. 6-10

4. All believers that obey are promised the true joy of being in the vine. v. 11

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