The Vine

John 15:1-17

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch that doesnt produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and i will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it his severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me. 
5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! 8 My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father. 
9 I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. 14 You are my friends if you obey me. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a master doesnt confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didnt choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 I command you to love each other.

This is one of those passages where every part of it is relevant. Every verse of it means something on it’s own.

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

My parents love to garden. It’s like their escape, their relaxation. They love every part of the garden and take such great care of it, and they work so hard in the garden because they love it and they want it to be the best it can be. They choose plants and features that would suit that particular part. How much more so does the Father love his garden? He chooses paths and people to enter our lives so that we will grow and be the best that we can be.

2 “He cuts off every branch that doesnt produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
 

He finds the bad seeds in our lives, and he discards them, so that we will grow even more. The things that weigh us down restrict us from doing God’s work. Imagine you’re in a swimming race. If you jumped into the pool with all your clothes on, would you win that race? I doubt it, unless you were racing against 3 year olds. It’s the clothes that would weigh you down, and restrict you from doing the best you can. Just like this, God prunes the branches so that we are not weighed down and we can produce more fruit.

3 “You have already been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you.”

I love that Jesus promises that we have already been pruned. Just by the message alone, God has set us up for great fruitfulness, but then by giving us the gifts and talents and abilities that we have, and pruning back anything that may be restricting us, we will produce even more fruit.

4 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it his severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me.”

If we don’t remain in Christ, we will be one of those branches that restrict someone else. We won’t bear fruit, and we won’t be able to see what God has in store for us.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”


I had this old 1988 Toyota Celica, and my dad had a friend who rebuilt the engine. The only thing is, he didn’t really do it right. The first time I actually took this car for a drive further than 15 minutes was driving up the coast. I got about three quarters of the way up and it started to make funny noises, then it started to smoke, then it just stopped. 
Without the right engine, there’s only so far we can go. And without Christ, we really can’t get too far at all.

6 “Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.”


 That’s a little scary, if you think about it literally. But it’s true. I mean, if we try to do our own thing, grow on our own, and don’t remain in Christ, then we’re going to end up in the fiery furnace. Harsh, but true. The thing is, Hell is often used to scare people into Christianity, when really the promise of eternal life lies in our vine.

7 “But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!”



I often find myself taking the wheel because I don’t feel like God is doing it right, or he’s taking his sweet old time. If I want something, I sometimes ask God for it but then get impatient and try to get it myself. But it comes down to faith. So long as we remain in Christ and trust in Him and have faith in Him, then he will keep his promise and give us the desires of our heart.

8 “My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father. 9 I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in his love.”

That is such an amazing promise, that Jesus would love us – the broken, sinful, horrible people that we are – just as God loves him – the pure, sinless, undefiled Christ that he is. So long as we remain in his love, we are his true disciples and will produce much fruit. When we obey him – when we give him the control and don’t try to do things our way – we remain in his love, which is a replication of God’s love for Jesus.

11″I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”

I couldn’t imagine anything better than to be filled with the joy that Christ brings. My pastor once said that happiness is an emotion driven by our circumstances, whereas joy is what is brought by the resurrection and the hope that we have in Christ. And he already died so that we could have this joy, and it’s a joy that is overflowing!

12 “I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. 13 And here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends.”

And he did just that. Loving others as Christ loves us is hard, but not impossible. If someone so clean can love something so dirty, then how can we say that we can’t love something us just as dirty?

14 “You are my friends if you obey me. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a master doesnt confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”



I can remember being in grade 5 and looking at my older siblings’ friends, and wishing they were my friends because they were so big and amazing and talented. And I can remember them befriending me…I think it had a lot more to do with the whole “awww my friend’s little sister!” thing rather than my friendship that I had to offer, but the thing is, Jesus looks at us as his friends, not in a condescending way, but in a confident way. He told his disciples what God had told him – he trusted them, and he trusts us, so long as we obey him.

16 “You didnt choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.”

You know in sport when you’re picking your team and because you chose each of them you kind of expect them to do what you say because you’re the captain and you’re the one that chose them? I always finding myself saying “yeah, God, I’ll do what you want, but let’s do it my way”. God doesn’t work like that; he chose us for his team. He chose us for his vine. And because of that – because of our obedience to him – he’ll give us the desires of our hearts.

17″I command you to love each other.

I sometimes find it hard to love students when they’re really pestering me or yelling or just won’t settle down. But how many times have we been annoying, and God has loved us still? God loves each of those kids – he loves every person we come across, whether good or bad – and that’s how we need to look at them. If we’re worthy of God’s love, and they’re worthy of God’s love, then we shouldn’t have any reason not to love them.

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