During my junior year of college, I wrote my 20 page Greek exegetical paper on this paper on the first 8 verses of the passage. A matter of fact, the week that I was writing this paper on college is the same week that I met Pastor Trent for the first time! It sure is pretty neat looking at this passage again and remembering the memories that go along with it. This truly is one of my favorite passages in all of scripture.
In this passage we see that Jesus was entering his final hours before his betrayal and the night before his death. In Jesus’ day, the wine industry was a popular type of economic industry that his disciples would be very familiar about. The vine (or grape vine) was seen as how fruit prospered. Jesus refers to himself as the true vine and us the branches. Every branch that does not bear fruit, he takes away to prune. The truth is that we all have bad fruit. If we abide in him who is the true vine takes away our sins and will and will transform them into good and prospering fruit. If we do not abide him, we will be thrown into the fire. This may sound a bit scary but we have to remember that nobody in all of the spoke about hell as much as Jesus did. He wants us to know the cost of not abiding in him. We shouldn’t let this scare us but instead it should encourage us to abide in him. Not just him and the Spirit he gives us but also abide in his word. Memorize scripture and draw near to the blood he shed on Calvary.
So why does this metaphor of vines and branches and fire relate to all Christians? Because our sinful nature wants to do good works on our own. The branch wants to bear fruit without the vine. This simple illustration of the Gardner pruning the branches while it stays connected to the vine is such a beautiful illustration our dependence on him. The beautiful thing is that the words of Jesus have effect. When they are able to take root in our lives, they produce righteousness and holiness. My last thought with this and I hope it’s encouraging to you is that when Jesus abides in us, that’s when sanctification happens. When we abide in Christ, God’s one and only son, he no longer see’s our sin, he no longer sees our shame. He sees his Son Jesus.