But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
I am the Vine
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. John 15:1
As noted in a previous article “Yahweh: The Great I AM” God revealed himself to Moses, at the burning bush, as I AM, THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14).
Jesus used the same name for Himself in His seven, great I AM statements found in the Gospel of John. In our July/August 2014 Tulip Gems Issue, we examined John 6:35, where Jesus said, I am the bread of life.
In our September/October 2014 Issue, we studied John 8:12, where Jesus said, I am the light of the world.
In our November/December 2014 Issue, we considered John 10:9, where our Lord Jesus said, I am the door.
In our January/February 2015 Issue, we meditated on John 10:11, where our Lord Jesus said, I am the good shepherd.
In our March/April 2015 Issue, we looked at John 11:25-27, where our Lord Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life.
In our May/June 2015 Issue, we studied John 14:6, where our Lord Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life.
Now, if the Lord wills, we’d like to take a closer look at our Lord’s seventh and final great I AM statement, found in John 15:1, I am the vine, and my Father is the husbandman. This is a claim to Deity.
To better understand our Lord’s statement, it might be a good idea to read it in context.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. John 15:1-5
Our Lord Jesus was now at the end of His earthly life and ministry. He knew that He would soon be arrested (later the same night) when He spoke the words above. He would be crucified for our sins on the very next day.
He had just told his disciples so. And so it came to pass. His miracles, His matchless teachings, His sinless life, His love for His own had all now been fully manifested. In his “upper room” discourse, He continues to teach.
In John 15:1, He likens Himself to a “fruitful vine” and His Heavenly Father to a “husbandman” (“georgos” when transliterated from the Greek, meaning “farmer” or “vine-dresser” in English).
He then tells His followers that we are the “branches”. We need to abide (remain, live, dwell, stay) in Him and He in us. Without Him, we can do nothing.
The goal of the Christian life is to produce “much fruit” that pleases God. Life in Christ produces the fruit of the Spirit, as Paul reminds us in his letter (epistle) to the Galatians:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
This fruit also includes winning others to faith in Christ, not only by our lives, but by our lips and pens—preaching the Gospel—in obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 (see also Mark 16:15-16).
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. Proverbs 11:30
Our Lord Jesus tells us how to abide in Him (and He in us):
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:7-11
By this, we see the importance of reading, memorizing, meditating upon, trusting and obeying the written Word of God, the Holy Bible. Only as we do (on a continual, day to day basis) can His Word abide in us.
The Spirit of God works through the Word of God to produce much fruit in the disciples of Christ. This fruit pleases our Father in Heaven and brings glory and honor to Him who created and rules over all persons and things.
When someone truly abides in Christ, troubles do not end. They often get worse. The Heavenly Father purges them of their remaining sin and error, in order that they might bear more fruit.
This purging can be a painful process for any vine. But it is necessary to bear more fruit.
The world hates those who abide in Christ. We read, in the very same chapter of John:
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
These things I command you, that ye love one another.
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:16-19
Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Nathaniel, Matthew, Thomas and the other disciples may have thought that they chose to follow Christ. And indeed, they did.
But their choice was secondary to, and wholly dependent upon, our Lord’s choice of them. Christ has chosen (elected) some and not others.
The reason the disciples chose Christ is because He first chose them. “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” John 15:16
The reason we love Christ is because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). If He had not chosen us, we would never be saved from our sins and hell.
This is the clear teaching of Romans 8 and 9 and Ephesians 1 and 2. Election is found throughout the Bible.
God chose Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God chose whom He would give eternal life to, before the foundation of the world. Believers in Christ have been individually predestined to eternal life.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. . .
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. John 17:1-2, 9
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Acts 13:48
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. Ephesians 1:11, 12
What God has fixed in eternity past, cannot be changed in time, nor in eternity future. This is a great comfort to any true child of God.
The world hates us precisely because we have been chosen by God. Christ said so. His Word shines light on their evil deeds.
Our good fruit exposes their lack of good fruit. It shows their evil thoughts, words and deeds up as rotten fruit in the light of God’s Holy Word—the Bible.
Friend, do you love Christ? Do you love His Holy Word, the Bible? Do you meditate and delight in it, day and night. When you sin, does it grieve you?
Do you cry out to God for forgiveness in Jesus name, trusting in His shed blood for the forgiveness of your sins? Is Jesus Christ your Divine Representative?
If so, then you can rest assured that God loves you and has chosen you in Christ. Your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundation of the world.
But, if you claim to be a Christian, but do not abide in Christ, you will end up being burned forever in hell.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. John 15:6
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. John 15:1
In light of our Lord’s statement, recorded in John 15:1, what is your verdict? Is Jesus a liar? Is Jesus a lunatic? Or is Jesus LORD of all?
As for me, He is the True Vine.
He is my True Vine.
He is YAHWEH—The Great I AM.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss