Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Investigating Jesus - Part 28
Before he is crucified, Jesus is saying goodbye to his disciples and giving them some final teaching before he departs. Several times he has told them he is going away (John 13:33; John 14:3-4, 19, 28).
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2).
As usual Jesus uses Old Testament language, for in the Old Testament, the nation of Israel is often seen as a vine (Jeremiah 2:21; Psalm 80). However, as a vine, Israel had not produced fruit that God had expected as explained here:
I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.”
‘Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? (Isaiah 5:1-4)
With Jesus describing Himself as the true Vine, the implication is clear that the nation of Israel was but an imperfect precursor to his perfect self. With Jesus as the vine, all believers are the branches, and all believers draw spiritual nourishment from Him.
As part of this nourishment, sometimes pruning is required (John 15:2). Cleansing is also required in order that fruit be borne from the Christian Disciple. This cleansing is through regular confession of sin and partaking of Holy Communion as explained in the foot-washing scene of John 13.
What more are His disciples and follower to do? They are to prove to others, they are his followers and his disciples. I n doing so, they are also showing that they truly love him. Jesus tells them they are to continue loving Him and to sacrificially love others joyfully (John 15:12-14). By doing these things, which is now their mission statement, they will bear much good fruit for God’s greater glory (John 15:8).
This of course is to be true of us today, if we are Christian Disciples. Having spoken of love and bearing fruit, Jesus now declares a warning and the context into which he is sending them. Something which although they have heard before, they haven’t quite grasped it fully.
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