John: Branches

John 15:1–17

Abide. Abide. Abide.

It’s the image of a grape vine here. Jesus always likes to use vivid pictures. Grapes grow pretty abundantly in that part of the world. You have a thick, running vine. Fruit, that is, the grapes, don’t grow on the vine. Branches shoot off from the vine, and the grapes grow on the branches.

What do the branches do to grow the fruit? Absolutely nothing. They are simply there. They abide. Branches can’t manufacture fruit. They can’t even try.

Can you get grapes from branches but no vine? Absolutely not. No vine, no fruit. Branches without a vine, therefore, have no fruit. And that makes them dead and worthless.

And Jesus uses this vivid picture to illustrate a point. He is like the vine, the source of life and nutrients. Disciples are the branches. Now, if this is true, then who bears responsibility for growing the fruit? Not the disciples. All the disciple has to worry about is staying connected to the source.

If you were to examine a grape vine and its branches, or even a tree trunk and its branches, how do you know where the vine ends and branch begins? Can you? One is in the other and vice versa. They overlap.

What if it’s like that with Jesus? I think this communicates contact, connection, give and take, relationship. Knowing.

If Jesus is a vine, and I am a branch, then my purpose in life (bearing fruit) depends on my connection to Jesus. Not just my purpose, but my very survival depends on it.

Tangent: You know what grape vines naturally do? They turn water into wine. There’s a deep thought. But probably apropos of nothing.

Abide. Abide. Abide. In a world of busyness, only one thing matters.

What about you? What do you see?


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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