Study Series: Gospel of John – The Seven Great Claims of Jesus
Study 7 – I am the True Vine
Welcome, once again, to our studies of the great I am claims of Jesus. This week we have
reached study number 7, our last. So let’s begin by reminding ourselves of our journey so
Week 1 – I am the Bread of Life (Jn 6:35)
Week 2 – I am the Light of the World (Jn 8:12)
Week 3 – I am the Door of the Sheep (Jn 10:7)
Week 4 – I am the Good Shepherd (Jn 10:11)
Week 5 – I am the Resurrection and the Life (Jn 11:25)
Week 6 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 15:5)
And this week,
Week 7 – I am the True Vine
This is the second claim in which Jesus uses the work ‘true’ or ‘truth’. Remember that word
alethia in Greek, means genuine, real, to be trusted and relied upon. And then He goes on to
give us an illustration which demonstrates the relationship between the Father, the Son and
He explains that the Father is like the vinedresser or gardener. The Son is like the vine, the
root and stock. And we are like the branches, one with the vine and part of it, just as in
reality we are one with Jesus and part of Him. In other examples of the relationship
between Jesus and His people He is described as the Chief Cornerstone to our temple
building or the Head of His Church, the Body of Christ. Whichever analogy you care to use:
vine and branch, chief cornerstone and building or head and body, it is clear that we have
our life, our existence in Him.
This I am claim is also a lesson in bearing fruit and I want to spend a while on that thought
Jesus reminds us that just as branch cannot bear fruit of itself, but only if it abides, remains
vitally united to the vine, so we can bear no fruit unless we abide in Christ. And although the
work of the Holy Spirit is not specifically mentioned, I like to think of Him as the sap, the life
which flows continually from the vine to the branch, giving the branch (us) life and causing
us to be fruitful.
The work of the gardener, the Father in Jesus’ example, is interesting isn’t it? He prunes
back the branch so that it bears more fruit. I’m told by people who know about these things
that you have to get rid of the deadwood to maximise the fruitfulness of the plant. What is
deadwood? Well, it is old growth that was once fruitful but now has no life. And there is
that in all of us, isn’t there? Aspects of ministry, gifting perhaps, which bore fruit in the past
but which no longer does. And, you know, we have to allow the Father to cut it back, to
allow those new areas of fruitfulness to fully grow and bear fruit.
And the responsibility for the fruit, for its production, its growth and its disposal, is the
gardener’s, not ours. When a vine branch produces grapes it doesn’t have any say in where
the grapes go. That is for the gardener to decide. Maybe the fruit will fall to the ground and
fertilise it. Maybe the gardener will take the grape and plant it somewhere else to produce
yet more. Maybe he’ll use it for food, or for wine. The decision is his. Our role in all this is
simply to become and remain vitally united to, abiding in, Jesus, the True Vine.
1. Study this scripture, John 15:1-8 and the two Scriptures which speak about Jesus as Chief
Cornerstone and as the Head of the Body. Those scriptures are Ephesians 2:20-22 and
Ephesians 4:15&16. Compare the relationship between Jesus and the believer in each one.
How are they similar?
2. What does John 15 tell us about fruitfulness? About cutting back the deadwood and
responsibility for the production, growth and disposal of the fruit. How do these truths
apply in your own life now?
3. What does it mean, do you think, to abide in Christ. What is the starting point of abiding
in Him and how do we continue?
We are now at the end of this series of studies. I hope that you have enjoyed them. Perhaps
you could pass the series on to a friend. You might also offer to go through the series with