This week we
will be wrapping up a seven-week journey in which we have examined the
seven “I AM” statements of Jesus found in John’s Gospel. As we’ve
done that, we have been able to get to know Jesus better through His own words.
Each of these seven sayings reveals some aspect of the divinity of Jesus and
also has practical implications for each of us as we live our daily lives.
As I looked
back over the previous six messages this week, I noticed some interesting
patterns. Earlier in His ministry, Jesus made those claims in front of large
crowds. When He proclaimed that He was the Bread of Life, it was to a
large crowd that He had fed the day before. When He claimed to be, the Light
of the World, He spoke to a large gathering in the Temple. But the last
two claims, including the one we’ll be looking at this morning, they were made
to a group of eleven men who would soon be tasked with carrying on His
There is also a
sense in which the claims that Jesus makes build upon each other and become
more intense. He seems to be continually building upon the prior sayings with
each claim. So in a sense, the seventh “I AM” statement that we’ll be
looking into this morning encompasses everything we’ve already learned, but
takes it to an even deeper level for those who are closest to Jesus. That is
really exciting for us, because it means that if we really desire to take our
relationship with Jesus to a deeper level, there is much that we can take from
this passage and apply to our personal walk with Him.
With that in
mind, let’s read John 15:1-11 together: “I am the true
grapevine, and my Father is the Gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch
of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear
fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned
and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in
me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it
is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in
5 Yes, I
am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in
them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do
nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a
useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be
burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in
you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When
you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory
to my Father.
have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When
you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s
commandments and remain in His love. 11 I have told you these things
so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” NLT.
certainly a rich passage. Jesus is speaking these words to His closest
followers. He speaks for the purpose of preparing them to carry on His ministry
after the impending chaos and confusion related to His arrest and
this study by making some observations about critical elements in the passage, then
we’ll use those observations to help us make some practical applications for
our own lives.
SOME OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE TEXT
As the “True Vine,” Jesus is the genuine and only way to God. In the Old Testament, God frequently refers to Israel as a Vine or a Vineyard. That association led to the Vine being used as a symbol for Israel on Maccabean coins as well as on the gate of Herod’s Temple (much in the same way that the eagle is used as a symbol for the United States today).