Verse of the Day Devotion: John 15:5
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5
Jesus uses the idea of the vine and the branch to describe how we are to do the work God has for us. First, he describes which is which. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1. First, lets look at what the vine is. The vine is the main part of the plant, which supports the branches and provides what they need. All the nourishment of each branch passes through the main stalk, or the vine, that springs from the earth. The vinedresser is the one who cares for the vineyard. They are responsible to nurture, trim, and defend the vine, and who of course feels a deep interest in its growth and welfare. We, as Christians, are the branches that sprout from the vine. And in our focus verse, we see we are the branches, the ones through whom the vine produces the fruit.
Therefore, we see the three roles laid out in this picture. Jesus is the vine, the one from whom all His branches, those being us, are nourished and strengthened. He is the real source of our strength and nourishment, blessings and joy. And the Father is the one who has the care, maintenance, and defense of the vineyard. And He also is the one who plants the vine. “We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:14
Now, again in our focus verse we read, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches; therefore He is the one that provides us with what we need to do His work. He nourishes us with His Word, which helps us do what He calls us to do and strengthens us such that we will continue on when it gets difficult. But the only way we can receive what He provides is if we abide in the vine. We must be united with Him, living such that He is the provider of all we need. We must be, as the branch is connected to the vine, be connected to Jesus. For only then will we be able to produce the fruit He intends us to produce. “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10.
However, if we are not united with Christ, if we do not look to Him as the means to do the work He has called us to, then we truly cannot do anything. We cannot do anything for Him if we are separated from Him. As the branches, if separated from the vine cannot produce fruit but would wither and die, so Christians, who are separated from Christ, cannot produce fruit. This shows we are totally dependent on Christ to do what He desires us to do.
In closing, let us understand our dependence on Him in everything we are called to do. If we try to accomplish His will without being united with Him; not receiving all we need from Him, in effect, doing it our way, we will accomplish nothing. It is only when God, working through us, opening their hearts for the work we are doing, that fruit is produced. If we are here to produce fruit, we need the vine to make it happen. Without the vine, we will simply dry up and wither.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.