#DailyDevotion Jesus Is The True Vine (Israel) In Whom We Bear Fruit
John 15:1–8 “I am the true Vine, and My Father takes care of the vineyard. He cuts away any branch of Mine that bears no fruit, and He trims any branch that bears fruit to make it bear more fruit. 3“What I have said to you has already made you clean. 4Stay in Me, and I will stay in you. A branch can’t bear any fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine. Neither can you if you don’t stay in Me. 5I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you stay in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone doesn’t stay in Me, he’s thrown away like a branch and dries up. Such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you stay in Me and My words stay in you, ask for anything you want, and it will be done for you. 8You glorify My Father when you bear much fruit and show yourselves to be My disciples.
When Jesus says he is the true Vine, He is identifying himself as the true Israel. It is said in Psa 80:8 “You plucked up a vine from Egypt, drove out nations, and planted it.” Matthew tells us when Jesus went into Egypt and returned as an infant he fulfilled the scripture, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Psalm 80 in one sense refers to God’s planting the people of Israel in Canaan. But what happened? The LORD said, Jer 2:21 “But when I planted you, you were a noble vine and a pure seed in every way. How then could you turn into weedy shoots of a foreign vine for Me?” Israel failed in her mission. As the LORD once told Moses he was going to wipe out the lot of them in the wilderness and start over with Moses but relents at Moses’ pleading, the LORD does start over with his son Jesus Christ of Nazareth. All of Israel’s sins are placed on him and he makes atonement for them. He then fulfills in his flesh all the Father wanted Israel to do. As Israel is baptized into Jesus they are made Israel again. As Gentiles are baptized into Christ Jesus they are made one with Israel.
Jesus calls us to abide in him. He tells us something terrifying and comforting, “My Father takes care of the vineyard. He cuts away any branch of Mine that bears no fruit, and He trims any branch that bears fruit to make it bear more fruit.” Not that bearing fruit saves us however should we not bear fruit it is because we are not abiding in Christ, in his word. So the Father trims those branches which bears no fruit because they are not abiding in Christ, in his word. On top of that, even when we bear fruit the Father prunes us. This isn’t always pleasant. Every fall a local shopping center prunes its trees down to the thickest branches. I always wonder how on earth they survive that. Every spring those same trees come to life and bear a lot of new branches. When the Father prunes us, we may feel like those trees and wonder what’s next. But at the right time we will bear fruit for the LORD.
To abide in Christ is to abide in his word. We abide in his word when we gather for Word and Sacrament. We abide in his word when we do daily devotions. Most especially though we abide in his word when we trust what we have received and were told by the word. We put that word into practice in our lives. What does that look like? We forgive those who sin against us. We are merciful to those before us who need mercy. We love our fellow Christians by taking care of them. Such things is bearing the fruit Christ produces in and through us and glorifies the Father. We can only do such works pleasing to God when we abide in Christ, i.e. receive his word, trust it and let it have its way with us.
Heavenly Father, grant that we may always have the word of your Son Jesus Christ so we may be clean, abide in him and bear much fruit to your eternal glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.