Episode 31 – John 15 – I am the True Vine part 1
“I am the true vine.” With this seventh and final “I am” statement, Chapter 15 of John’s Gospel focuses on our need to abide in Christ, remaining in His love. The image of a vine reminds us of the many allegories in the Bible related to wine, grapes, and vineyards.
Sharon goes on to remind us that in the Old Testament, the oldest son did not always receive the blessing and birthright that was due to him. In particular, Sharon focus on the story of Jacob and his 12 sons. The blessing goes to Judah, the fourth-born son, and the birthright to Joseph. Though his sons, Joseph received a double portion inheritance of the Promised Land. The blessing given to Judah is fully fulfilled in Jesus, who was a member of the tribe of Judah. And the birthright given to Joseph is also fully realized in Christ. God’s highly favored son Jesus, wins for us a double portion, God’s kingdom on earth (the church) as well as God’s heavenly Kingdom of heaven. Joseph is a wonderful “type” of Christ, with numerous examples of striking parallels in their lives. Genesis 49:22 describes Joseph as a fruitful bough or vine, which points towards Jesus, the true vine described in John 15. In the Old Testament, the plentiful fruit of the vine would remind Israel of God’s promise for redemption, but unfortunately, Israel was often unfruitful, yielding wild or rotten grapes as described in Isaiah 5. Jesus uses the same imagery in John 15 when he describes the blessings to those who abide in him and the destruction that occurs to those that do not. God’s vine of Israel was meant to spread throughout the world but instead became an un-kept, disgraceful vineyard. Israel was in need of a new and true vine, and Jesus fulfills that need.
Sharon then digs deeper into the imagery of John 15, showing us how God the Father is the husbandman of the vineyard, tending to the vines, pruning away the dead branches so that the vine may grow and flourish. If we allow, God will cut out our sinful tendencies. This discipline, while at times painful, is necessary for us to abide with Him. The branches closest to the trunk of the vine bear the most fruit, encouraging us to always humbly remain as close as possible to God. We recall the story of Solomon, who early in his life stayed close to the Lord, but as he grew more rich and powerful, he fell into the sin of pride, becoming increasingly self-sufficient and separated from the Lord. Jesus tells us that without him, we can do nothing, but if we abide in him, our joy will be complete. If we want to remain with Christ, we much follow his commands, which serve as a blueprint for our lives, bringing us to the fullness of joy that God desires for us. He wants us to bear eternal fruit that will last, and have a sober intoxication of His Holy Spirit, the sap that flows through the vine as we climb the trestle back to the Father.
Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.
For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page
“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to www.seekingtruth.net