February 19, 2015

The True Vine

John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. . . . I am the vine; you are the branches.”

—  John 15:1, 5

Sometimes after a summer storm, I notice downed branches along the sidewalks in our neighborhood. If they lie there for several days, the leaves on those fallen branches fade from green to brown. Separated from the tree, branches die.

Jesus uses the image of a vine and its branches to describe life in him. In this seventh "I am" statement, Jesus declares, "I am the true vine." Like branches that depend on a tree or vine, we only have true life when we are connected to Jesus. Only when we are attached to him are we "tapped into" God. Jesus provides our sustenance for the daily challenges of living.

But being connected to Jesus is not merely an end in itself. Branches produce leaves and fruit. Only by remaining connected to him, as a branch is connected to a tree or vine, can we bear the fruit of Christlike living. By the power of God's Spirit in us, we can bear the spiritual fruit of "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, good­ness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). When we are connected to the true vine, to Jesus himself, we produce fruit, glorifying God and drawing others to his love and mercy.

Like a branch attached to the vine, are you connected to Jesus and bearing fruit?

Jesus, you are the true vine, and we are your branches. By your grace and through the Holy Spirit, keep us connected to you so that we produce fruit that glorifies your Father. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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