“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”
This first verse for the Journey Challenge is a short verse but has SO much contained in it. To lay some groundwork I want to give some of the background of the passage as a whole that we have chosen for the Journey Challenge. In John chapter 13 we see that Jesus had the last supper with His disciples. Then he rose from the supper and washed their feet revealing the importance and power of walking in the way of humility and not in the way of seeking position and recognition. He then probably stunned most of the disciples by telling them that one of them would betray Him.
Jesus then exposed Judas as the one that was going to betray him by giving Judas the sop that He had dipped. Judas quickly exited the room and then Jesus said something amazing: “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him.” (John 13:31b). Jesus then began to disclose Himself to His disciples and reveal Himself to them in a special and powerful way. At the end of John 14 after sharing life changing, powerful truth Jesus says: “Arise, let us go hence” presumably to begin the trip to the garden of Gethsemane. It as at this point that Jesus shares the words of the verse that we are looking at today from John 15:1: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”
In saying this Jesus Christ was revealing Himself to be the True Vine from which we as the branches receive life. Jesus Christ did not come to just add to our life or be a part of our life He came to BE our very life. Just as a branch is fully supplied with everything it needs from the vine we are fully supplied with everything we need by the life of the Lord Jesus Christ living in and through us. We lack nothing in Him. It is significant that Jesus specifically says that he is the TRUE Vine. Indicating that there also are false vines, false sources from which we would try to live our lives. When we try to live the Christian life in our own strength apart from the indwelling life of Christ we are attempting to live the Christian life from a false source and are destined only for failure.
A branch bearing fruit apart from a vine is not difficult. It is impossible. In the same way living the Christian life the way that God has called us to apart from Christ is not difficult. It is impossible. We must have the resurrection life of Jesus Christ flowing in and through us to live the holy, set apart, overcoming, Christian life in the way that God has called us to as believers. There is a wonderful verse in Romans 11 that gives a secret for true holiness in the life of a believer: “…if the root be holy, so are the branches.” (Romans 11:16b). Jesus Christ as the Holy One is the root and vine from which we derive our life as branches. Just as when a branch is connected to a vine the life of the vine becomes it’s life, in the same way as we are connected to the Holy One His holiness becomes our holiness. Praise God for this amazing reality! As we abide in Christ we become holy as He is holy!
The verse we are looking at goes on and talks about God being the Husbandman or the Vinedresser. In other words he is the one that takes care of all the needs of the branches and cultivates their growth in life. In the same way our gracious Heavenly Father cares for every one of our needs and cultivates our growth in Christ. Sometimes that cultivating looks like pruning and removing things in our life that hinder our first love for Him so that we can bear more fruit. Sometimes it looks like Him protecting us from things that could harm us in the same way a Vinedresser might chase birds away from stealing fruit from his vineyard.
So we can see from this one small verse that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness. God has given us an all sufficient, all powerful, all knowing, Christ to be our very life as the True Vine and by being the Husbandman He takes care of all things concerning us. All this is with a particular goal and purpose in mind: fruit bearing.
This passage that has been chosen for the Journey Challenge talks a lot about bearing fruit which raises the question: what is the purpose of fruit bearing? Let me ask you two questions that may help us answer this important question. How many of you have every grown a fruit producing plant? What was your main goal and purpose in planting it? The answer you would probably give is: receiving fruit from it. You were not just trying to grow a plant that could show off its beautiful branches. Your purpose gaining fruit. If the plant produced much fruit your purpose and pleasure for it would be accomplished.
In the same way God desires to produce much fruit through our lives as we abide in Him and He abides in us. Not so that everyone can look at our lives and think what amazing and fruitful Christians we are but rather so that the purpose and pleasure of the Husbandman can be accomplished. So how do we go about bearing fruit so that the purpose and pleasure of God as the Husbandman can be fulfilled? Simply abide in Him. Abide in the True Vine Jesus Christ and as He fills us with His life the spontaneous result will be fruit. “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:8