Readings: John 15:1-8 | Isaiah 5:1-7
Today’s reflection was written by Mrs Vivienne Lear
Jesus says, I am the true vine, you are the branches.
The vine was the emblem of the Jewish nation. It was represented on the doors and entrance to the Temple; it appeared on their coins. God had selected the nation to be his chosen people. Through the prophets he shared his intention for his people. He was described by Isaiah as the gardener who prepared a vineyard, cared for it, and expected a good harvest but when he came to pick the fruit of the vine the grapes were sour. These grapes, the chosen people had stopped obeying God’s word and lived their own ways and not in God’s ways. They experienced exile as a result. But God still loved and cared for his people, he did not desert them, he gave them the promised Messiah.
Jesus was the true vine, the fulfilment of God’s purpose where Israel had failed. When Jesus spoke to the crowds, declaring he was the true vine they would have comprehended the reference to the vine and known he was a special prophet from God. Jesus the true vine, the root stock from whom all who believed in him would be the branches and flourish and grow.
But if good fruit was to be expected then growth could not be left to chance. Christ’s contemporaries needed to accept his teaching and grow in his love. This is so with us, we need to hear Christ’s teaching and grow in it. He prepares us as a gardener would prepare the soil and guides us through our daily living.
We don’t just hear his words once and think we will become a good harvest from the true vine. We are not separate from him, we need to abide in Jesus at all times, returning to him daily through our Bible reading and prayers and if we are able, to attend worship regularly for nourishment to our faith. Then whatever our age, our health we can belong to the true vine.
God the gardener has prepared for the fertile soil of our being. He has given us the opportunity to abide in him and absorb the nutrients of the teaching of Jesus who is the true vine. We are aware of the things that delight and please God. He loves to find such fruits in us as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control. He loves to see justice, mercy, right living and honesty. The products of vines, grapes, are different varieties, different colours, different sizes yet together create a combination of tasty sweet fruit. We are all different but as attachments to the true vine we can become good products of that vine and share our fruits with others and not keep it to ourselves.
Lord Jesus, you are the vine we are the branches;
remove every branch from us that bears no fruit
and prevents healthy growth.
You are the vine we are the branches
help us to abide in you,
in your words and in your love.