August 22, 2020

The Vine

John 15:1-17

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

—  John 15:5

Several passages in the Bible refer to God’s people Israel as a vine planted by God. The idea is that, before Jesus came, God took this group of chosen people and made a home for them where they could grow healthy and prosperous in a relationship with him.

But despite all that God did for his people, they failed to thrive. Time after time, they wandered away from God in their sin. They worshiped the gods of other nations. They strayed from the path that God had placed them on.

Now Jesus is switching up the imagery about the vine. He says that, ultimately, he has come as the true vine to give people the opportunity to grow in a relationship with God, the way God always intended.

Practically speaking, the church has understood that this happens through spiritual disciplines, such as reading and studying Scripture and spending time in prayer, worship, confession, and fellowship with community. And these things aren’t about scoring points with God or trying to make up for our sin. Instead, they are about staying connected to the vine so that we can thrive.

When we draw near to Jesus, we are supported, nourished, and able to bear fruit in our relationship with him.

Lord Jesus, help me to remain in you. Help me to give you time and attention each day so that I can be firmly connected in relationship with you. Amen.

About the author — A.J. Gretz

Anthony Joseph (A.J.) Gretz is a pastor in Grandville, Michigan. He has also served churches in Ohio and in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He and his wife, Anna, have three children.

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