THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
In the Old Testament, Israel was called “the vine”. “Israel was a spreading vine” Hosea 10:1. God planted Israel in their own land as a choice vine, but He was disappointed with them because their fruit was bad.
Now Jesus tells His disciples that He is the vine, and they are the branches. Which part of the vine is Jesus? Is He the root, is He the stem or is He the branches? He says that He is the whole vine, and we are the branches. That means that we are part of Him. He wants us to bear fruit for Him, but we can’t bear fruit without being a part of the whole vine. The roots and the stem don’t bear the fruit; the branches do, but they cannot make grapes without the roots to take up the food and water from the soil and the stem to carry it to the branches.
The leaves on the branches are also important because they use the food and water from the soil and the sunlight and air to produce the energy which the vine needs to grow grapes. The leaves on the branches don’t have to work hard to gather sunlight or air. They just sit on the end of the twigs in the sun and air and the cells inside the leaves use the sunlight and carbon dioxide in the air together with the water and food from the soil to produce grapes.
If the branches are separated from the vine, they wither and die. They cannot bear fruit by themselves. They must be part of the vine. Jesus said that we are just like that. If we are to bear fruit for Him, we must live in union with Him. That means that we must submit to Him, trust in Him and obey Him. Our hearts must be filled with His word because it is His word that is the food that helps to produce the fruit.
What is the fruit that He wants us to bear for Him? The Apostle Paul tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. The first three teach us about our relationship with God. When we stay connected to Jesus, He fills our hearts with His love, joy, and peace because that is who He is. The next three show us how He wants us to treat people, with patience, kindness, and goodness because that is how He treats us. The last three, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control, tell us who we are. When we stay connected to Jesus, we learn to be in control of ourselves.
Staying in His word and listening to Him is what we need for the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our lives. In this way, people will see how beautiful Jesus is.