Jesus is God – The Living Water, The Bread of Life, The Light of the World, The Healer of Blindness, The Resurrection and The Life, The Way, The Truth and The Life, and here in chapter 15, The True Vine (Yep - 20:31 again!).
This is an amazing chapter that uses a vine metaphor to explain a believer’s connectedness to Jesus & how their fruitfulness is directly related. Jesus is The Vine, God is the Gardener and true believers are the branches. Basically here’s the deal – those not connected (dead, fruitless branches), God cuts off, even throws into the fire (an illusion to judgment). And those who are connected (live branches), He prunes so they will produce even more. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Those not connected to the LIFE in the Vine are dead and dying and can’t do a thing. “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
Jesus goes on to explain how this looks: “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love……..Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends………..I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit………Love each other.”
To finish the chapter, Jesus explains to His disciples that they will be hated! People hated & persecuted Jesus, and the world will do the same to His followers. “Whoever hates me hates my Father as well.” Why? Because Jesus IS God! But take courage, God is sending His Advocate, The Holy Spirit, to those who hate us in order to testify about Jesus! Kinda’ like a big brother who sticks up for his siblings! Cool God Stuff!~
*Ok, so I’ll ask the obvious, are you connected with Jesus? I’m not talking about knowing things about Him, or going to church or being involved in your student ministry. A relationship with Jesus begins by acknowledging you’re a sinner & that can’t make yourself right with God. But when by grace through faith, you believe that Jesus took the penalty for your sins when He gave His life on the cross and you receive that free gift of forgiveness - THEN you become connected forever. If you haven’t admitted this yet – believe & receive today! If you have already – whoohoo – let’s be producin’ fruit for Him!
*Pruning hurts. The tough stuff God allows us to go thru in our lives is His pruning. This is done NOT to pick on us but to make us more fruitful for Him! Is there anything you are going through right now where you think God is being unkind? Spend some time in prayer asking God to give you strength and to help you see what He is doing. Most likely, He is preparing you for even greater things!