One spring after a particularly dreary winter during which she helped a family member through a long illness, Emma found encouragement each time she walked past a cherry tree near her home in Cambridge, England. Bursting out at the top of the pink blossoms grew blossoms of white. A clever gardener had grafted into the tree a branch of white flowers. When Emma passed the unusual tree, she thought of Jesus’s words about being the Vine and His followers the branches (John 15:1–8).
By calling Himself the Vine, Jesus was speaking of an image familiar to the Israelites in the Old Testament, for there the vine symbolized God’s people (Psalm 80:8–9; Hosea 10:1). Jesus extended this symbolism to Himself, saying He was the Vine and that His followers were grafted into Him as branches. And as they remained in Him, receiving His nourishment and strength, they would bear fruit (John 15:5).
As Emma supported her family member, she needed the reminder that she was connected to Jesus. Seeing the white flowers among the pink ones gave her a visual prompt of the truth that as she remained in the Vine, she gained nourishment through Him.
When we who believe in Jesus embrace the idea of being as close to Him as a branch is to a vine, our faith is strengthened and enriched.
How are you receiving spiritual nourishment from Jesus? What will help you remain in the Vine?
The vineyard metaphor is used to describe the relationship between God and Israel (Psalm 80:8–9; Isaiah 5:1–7; 27:2–6). God expected His people to produce “a crop of good grapes, but [they] yielded only bad fruit” (Isaiah 5:2).
Jesus also spoke of a spurned vineyard owner who wasn’t given his share of the crop at harvest time (Matthew 21:33–43). He warned the Jews that God wants a “people who will produce its fruit” (v. 43). We can’t bear fruit if we’re not connected to the Vine. Jesus said that when we bear fruit we demonstrate we’re His disciples (John 15:8). The Holy Spirit’s work produces good fruit in us (Galatians 5:22–23) and causes us to become more and more like Christ (Romans 8:29).