Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jesus as the Vine

God seems to have a fondness for growing things. When he created Adam and Eve, he put them in a garden! The Bible even refers to Jesus as a Vine, and to God as the Husbandman, or gardener. Jesus and the Apostle Paul referred to people as branches. 

First, let’s look at John 15:1-5. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

First, Jesus tells us He is the Vine; later in the passage He says that we are the branches. A branch cannot bear fruit unless it is part of the vine or tree that holds it. Just like that, we cannot bear fruit unless we remain in Christ. 

In Romans 11, Paul talks about the Jews being the natural branches of that holy Vine. Some did/do not believe that Jesus is the Vine and were broken off. After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to Heaven, God opened up salvation to the Gentiles (anyone not a Jew). Paul describes this be referring to the Gentiles as branches from a wild olive tree, grafted into the holy root.  He warns us not to get proud and cocky about being grafted in. 

And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.  And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
Romans 11:17-24

If God will break off His own natural branches who don’t believe, He won’t even think twice about breaking of grafted branches who don’t produce!  But again, in His infinite mercy, He is also willing to graft any of those branches back in when they give up their unbelief. 

The Prophet Isaiah prophesied many years ago that Jesus would come and be like a plant. He referred to Jesus as a rod and a Branch:

"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;  And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:  But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Isaiah 11:1-4

Finally, what is the purpose of all these branches?  To bear fruit!  What kind of fruit?  The Fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

We must always acknowledge our need of Jesus, to hold us up and to give us life. A disconnected branch is dead and bears no fruit. The Husbandman (God) throws them in the fire! 

When we bear fruit for Him, we bring Him honor and glory!

Praise God! Let’s be fruitful branches!

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