The Vine and the Branches (Identification)

It is the night of Jesus' arrest.  Jesus has washed the disciples feet; he has shared the "Last Supper" with them; he has told them that He was leaving and that the Father would give them another Counselor (the Holy Spirit); Judas had departed to betray Christ; and now Jesus leads His disciples on the road to Gethsemane.  Most likely Jesus lead His disciples through a vineyard which is where He would share about "the Vine and the Branches." He had saved this teaching to last because of its importance. 

At the time and throughout the Old Testament, Israel had been referred to as the vineyard.  Jesus wanted to make sure that His disciples understood that Jesus was the true vine because He was fruitful and they had not been. Jesus in verse 5a of John 15 says, "I am the vine, you are the branches."  Jesus makes it clear to the disciples that they are branches.  The Lord Jesus wants us as His present day disciples to understand that we are not the source of life but that He is.  We must identify ourselves properly as branches.

Jesus continues in verse 5 and says, "If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  A brainless branch knows that it must remain attached to the vine or it bears no fruit and dies.  It organically remains attached.  Jesus is describing to us the kind of relationship we must have with Him.  Just as a branch is surrendered and fully dependent on the vine for life and nourishment, so must we.  As we come to Jesus each day and throughout the day and remain in (be with) Jesus, His fruit begins to appear to others through us.  On our own efforts we show others ourselves but when we remain with Jesus we show the world Jesus.  Being must come before doing because the being always empowers the doing.

P.S.  Great Books to check out (The True Vine by Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ by Andrew Murray, Radical by David Platt, Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman)