The True Vine
We made it! This Sunday, we take a look at the last of the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John. As we have journeyed together, we have seen Jesus identify himself as the incarnate I Am, and as the Bread of Life, Light of the World, Door for the Sheep, The Good Shepherd, The Resurrection and Life, and The Way, Truth and Life.
He has demonstrated through teaching and action that he is provider, healer, rallying point, sanctifier, bringer of peace, shepherd to his people, all powerful, bringer of righteousness, and the God that is present with us… This week, we see Jesus present himself as The True Vine:
1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.
2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.
4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.
7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!
8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.
10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
14 You are my friends if you do what I command.
15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.
17 This is my command: Love each other. John 15:1-17 (NLT)
For me, this I Am statement serves as more than just an example of who Jesus is. It also serves as encouragement to be who Jesus intended me to be. He intended me to be a bearer of his image, a reflector for his light. Just as he was about me, he wants me to be about others.
Throughout this time, I hope the point has been made that being good and living squeaky clean lives is not the Christian life. Loving God and Loving People is the Christian life.
As a Vineyard Church, we are recipients of a legacy left by John Wimber, the founder of Vineyard Churches. The legacy is popularly known in Vineyards around the globe as “doing the stuff.” Doing the stuff is a reminder that following Jesus is to do what Jesus did… He made his life about others, and we are to do the same! Check out this 3 minute video about John’s path to doing the stuff.