“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that does not produce fruit, and he cleanses every branch that does produce fruit so that it might produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. “Abide in me, and I will abide in you. Just as the branch cannot produce fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. The one who abides in me while I abide in him produces much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Unless a person abides in me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up. People gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you can ask for anything you want, and it will be yours. This is how my Father is glorified, when you produce a lot of fruit and prove to be my disciples. Just as the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. So abide in my love.”
These words were spoken just prior to Jesus’ underserved and brutally painful betrayal and arrest. It is a speech- a discourse to Jesus’ disciples that recognises God as the highest authority and bringer of life; Jesus, or the true vine is the core of the church and we- the branches are given life and liberty through His selfless sacrifice; alive to sow seeds in the hearts of others and bear the fruit of faith and love for others to consume. But as the branches and vines, what do we need to sustain healthy life? What roles does Jesus play as the true vine and his father as the vinedresser?
As the True Vine, four significant roles sit at His hand, named so through the linguistic interpretation of His title. The first of these, like the subsequent two, are drawn from the Macquarie Integrated Dictionary. The term ‘true’ can mean ‘a representation of what has happened, or what exists.’ Jesus is the representation of what God has done for all, and what He is doing today. Jesus represents His ministry- the church, and His Father in heaven. He is the ever fruiting central vine and the foundation on which Christianity was formed and now stands.
The second role derives from the fact that Jesus is the genuine vine. His everlasting life is real (Today’s English Version says He is ’The Real Vine’) and accurately righteous. The Bible- the Living Word of God, the Father is undeniable proof of Divine life and with so much evidence for this, disproof is unrealistic.
The third is that He is a ‘true friend.’ He is loyal and kind and faithful, undeniably selfless. “Greater love has none than this than to lay down his life for his friends.‘ He serves us generously, in love and is loyal and faithful to his Divine father. He is not just man’s best friend but in truth, only real friend.
The final role is that He is the core of all of the branches. He is the central provider of life and the crux and core of the church. He brings to life the branches of the church, and through Him, we have the ability to grow to our full, God-given, celestially predestined futures and potentials. We have an ability to produce fruit as fed by the life-giving blood of Jesus Christ.