I Am The Vine
By: R.L. Wilson | © 2020
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
This is the last of seven “I am” statements found in the Gospel of John, and the imagery in this passage gives several very important principles for the Christian life.
First, Jesus is the vine. You are not the vine; I am not the vine. We do not and cannot live apart from the True Vine.
Second, we are branches, but all the branches are attached to the one True Vine. You may call one the Baptist branch, one might be a Methodist branch, one might be a Presbyterian branch and so on, but our life and our identity come from being attached to the True Vine. Unity among believers was so very important to Jesus. If you doubt it, just read His prayer in John 17:20-23. That unity is how “the world will know that you sent me and have loved them as you have loved me” (v. 23).
Why is it important to “remain” or “abide” in the vine? Because if we become detached from the vine, we lose our source of life-giving sap, and immediately begin to wither. Further, without that attachment to the vine, we cannot bear fruit. Warren Wiersbe says, “According to Ezekiel 15, the branches of the vine are good for only two things: fruit or fuel, bearing or burning…. If we are not bearing fruit, we are not fulfilling our purpose on earth.”
Bearing fruit can mean a lot of things, but overall, when we are bearing fruit, we are advancing the kingdom of God—whether by inviting others to come in, or by living a Christlike life. Again, Dr. Wiersbe cautions, “the branches of the vine don’t produce fruit to feed themselves but to feed others.”
And, of course, it’s important to remain in the vine because “apart from me you can do nothing.” Iain Campbell puts it this way,
This is where the analogy of the vine is taking us—to the most fundamental issue of all, at the very heart of the gospel. It is saying that we need to be united to Jesus Christ. It is saying that by ourselves we are helpless and hopeless and fruitless. No matter what effort we make, and what good things we are able to do ourselves, we can do nothing.
So you have a choice to make: remain in the Vine, produce fruit and be full of joy (John 15:11), or detach yourself from the vine and wither.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9).
 Warren W. Wiersbe, Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ (David C. Cook, Kindle Edition), p. 138.
 Ibid, p. 139.
 Iain D. Campbell, Exploring the “I am” sayings of John’s Gospel (Evangelical Press, Kindle Edition)