• Beverly Nickles

Jesus said, “I am the vine…abide in me”

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

Last Gathering


Jesus, knowing he would be arrested and crucified only hours from now, gathered his 12 disciples one last time. Stunned and confused by the news that he was leaving them, Jesus pressed home vital truths his beloved disciples would need to carry on without him. His final words to them are recorded only in John’s gospel, chapters 14-17.


Below is the fifth in a short series of teachings Jesus shared during their Last Gathering. (John 15)


Jesus said, “I am the vine…abide in me”


Jesus already said his last words to his disciples. Prepared to face the night, he says, “Arise, let us go out”


But on their faces, he saw distressed and confused expressions, and a hesitancy to leave. The disciples felt they would soon lose Jesus, and feared that without him they could do nothing. Jesus lovingly gathered them around him and tried to calm their fears.


“I am the true vine, and you are the branches.” Jesus spoke a parable about the vine and branches. The vine symbolized their close connection to him. He told how it would continue and be maintained. “Abide in me, and I in you.”


Secured by Christ’s life, and the attachment of faithful disciples to him, God’s purposes in creation could bear fruit on earth.


He highlighted some characteristics of this union.


First, that Christ and his disciples together form one whole, and neither is complete without the other. A vine cannot bear fruit without its branches; and branches cannot live separate from the vine. Separately, the stem remains fruitless, and the branches wither and die. Together they form one fruit-bearing tree.


God is a Spirit. He needs human hands to do the work, and a mouth to speak his words. He gives these to his disciples, while supplying them with love and perseverance and everything needed to accomplish the task.


Second, this unity works as one organic whole because one common life unites them. The disciple is joined with Christ in an intimate and vital spiritual union. Through this, he receives the same Holy Spirit that made Christ who he was on earth.


The branch is one with the stem because it draws life from it and bears fruit appropriate to that tree. If that connection is maintained, Christ’s beliefs, thoughts, feelings and goals become the disciple’s own.


Third, the expected result of this connection is “righteous” fruit flowing from Christ’s life through the disciple. As the Apostle Paul said, “Not I, but Christ in me. “


The Father attends to disciples as a gardener attends to plants. In every season, he loving cuts away the sin and disobedience that hinder fruitfulness. And fruitless branches are cut off and cast into the fire.


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