From the Word
“I Am I Am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
We had a grape arbor in our back yard when I was little. Mom made us wait to eat the grapes until after she had enough for jelly. Then we ate ourselves sick. I’m sure I heard the words of Jesus in this text back then, but never stopped to consider how His words were true. Let’s take time now.
Vines are the source of life to the branches. The vine pulls the moisture and the nutrients from the ground and delivers them to the branches so that the branches can grow. There is no concept of a living branch apart from the vine.
Jesus is our life and new life. He is the incarnate Word through whom the Father created all things, thus us. In an even greater way, He is the only source of eternal life in God’s kingdom. Those who are not found in Him, by faith, are dead branches to be thrown into the fires of hell. There are not many sources of eternal life in heaven, there is one. He has left us with His gifts of Word and Sacraments so that we may receive what we need to be sustained and to grow.
Unless the vine provides this nourishment to the branches, they cannot produce fruit. When the fruit is picked, the branches seem most important, but the truly important source of the fruit is the vine.
The fruit in this analogy is the work produced in us by faith in Jesus. These are the contributions we make to people’s lives that God magnifies in wondrous blessings. We do simple things and God makes them wondrous. It is very easy to puff ourselves up and take credit for what is a blessing to others. But in reality, we come back to the fact that, without the sustenance of the Vine, there would be no branch, let alone fruit. We come in humble thanks for the blessings we have received through the fruit of others, and pray that God would produce fruit in us to be such a blessing to others. We can also be sure that God will use the fruit produced now to continue to bless generations ahead. Fruit has been picked off this vine since the world began, and will continue until the last day, when we will receive the fruit of His life, death, and resurrection in the glory of heaven.
Consider the Vine. We are the branches.