In John 15:1-5 Jesus tells his Jewish hearers 'I am the true vine'. They would have known all about vines, as grapes and wine were a key part of everyday life in Israel. Families would have seen vines growing and known that their food & drink came from the vines. The vine has strong roots and a winding hardy core that is the heart of the plant. And from the vine’s strength grow branches, leaves, fruits and flowers. In this image, Jesus says he is the vine, his people are the branches and their lives of faith the fruit. God the Father is the gardener, removing branches that don’t bear fruit and pruning others to make them more productive.

In the Old Testament, the people of God were often referred to as a vine - one that God had chosen and carefully tended as a loving vine-grower. But they were also described as a corrupt or wild vine, not bearing the right fruit or liking the nurture of the gardener. Into this long story, Jesus now comes as the true vine, the true person of God, receiving God's favour and producing the fruit of obedience. In this true vine, Jesus describes us as his branches, nurtured and sustained by him, pruned by the Father, and producing fruit. 

Jesus calls us to remain, to abide, to stick with him. We are to keep our branch connected to Jesus. The life-blood of a plant runs through the vine and out to its branches. The intimacy and connection we have with Jesus, is just like that of a branch nourished by a vine. And the result is fruit - prayers, love, service - a life that brings glory to God. We need to hear Jesus’ call to remain in him, knowing that the Lord Jesus is the source of your life & strength & from your connection with him will come the fruit of a life pleasing to God. Then we need to get out and act, bearing much fruit to the glory of God.