Sunday, September 24th, 2017

I Am the True Vine

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[15:1] “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. [2] Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. [3] Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. [4] Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. [5] I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. [6] If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. [7] If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. [8] By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. [9] As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. [10] If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. [11] These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
[12] “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. [13] Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. [14] You are my friends if you do what I command you. [15] No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. [16] You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. [17] These things I command you, so that you will love one another. (John 15:1-17 ESV).

I might start with a horticultural note from one who many years ago tried his hand at raising grapes for wine. It was an unsuccessful venture, but I did get a little firsthand experience about the need to butcher grape vines to get them to produce. One prunes grapevines to get grapes. Jesus’ hearers, if not today’s readers, related easily to these words.

In the spring of 1997 I toured Israel and stood among grapevines as I heard this passage read by our tour “professor.” I hope I can pass a taste of my love for this passage in my Lenten articles.

Dave

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