Being the branch on the vine

I’ve heard a lot of people talk lately about knowing Jesus. The alternative is knowing about Him or knowing of Him. I’ve been preparing to teach a lesson at the next session of the church cell group I belong to. The lesson is based on John 15, in which Jesus calls Himself the True Vine. He also names us who are His followers. We are the branches, and we are to bear fruit. I thought at first that this would be a relatively easy lesson since the chapter is a well known one. You could have fooled me. I discovered such depth in Jesus teaching that I felt like I’d jumped into the ocean without a life vest. It helped to start by identifying what the context was. The previous three chapters emphasize the fact that Jesus’ time had come. That meant that He wasn’t going to be with the disciples face to face in a short time. The disciples kept revealing their lack of understanding, their confusion and frustration. Like Jesus has always been, He didn’t leave them hanging on a rope without a means of escape. In leading up to His teaching about he vine and the  branches He mentions several things several times: love, obedience, His word, and unity expressed as “being in me,” being in you,” being in the Father,” being one. Getting into the vine teaching He describes how the branches bear fruit or not and how fruit bearing is handled by the Father. It all depends on being “in the vine.” A well pruned branch bears much fruit–if it is in the Vine. The amazing revelation is that fruit bearing has to do with obedience and love. They are “in each other.” On a daily basis, in order to know Jesus, we need to be in the vine, in a relationship with Him that is never broken. We know Him by knowing His Word and by prayer, or conversation with Him. God is glorified by the fruit we bear, but we do not bear fruit without the vine. “Without me you can do nothing.” It’s all about Him and the love He expresses through our obedience.


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