I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. John 15:5
When we purchased our home, we inherited an established grapevine. As gardening novices, my family invested considerable time learning how to prune, water, and care for it. When our first harvest came, I popped a grape from the vine into my mouth—only to be disappointed with an unpleasant, sour taste.
The frustration I felt about painstakingly tending a grapevine, only to have a bitter harvest, echoes the tone of Isaiah 5. There we read an allegory of God’s relationship to the nation of Israel. God, pictured as a farmer, had cleared the hillside of debris, planted good vines, built a watchtower for protection, and crafted a press to enjoy the results of His harvest (Isaiah 5:1–2). To the farmer’s dismay, the vineyard, representing Israel, produced sour-tasting grapes of selfishness, injustice, and oppression (v. 7). Eventually, God reluctantly destroyed the vineyard while saving a remnant of vines that someday would produce a good harvest.
In the gospel of John, Jesus revisits the vineyard illustration, saying, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). In this parallel imagery, Jesus pictures believers in Him as grapevine branches connected to Him, the main vine. Now, as we remain connected to Jesus through prayerful reliance on His Spirit, we have direct access to the spiritual nourishment that will produce the sweetest fruit of all, love.
How does remaining connected to Jesus produce love in your life? What are the other blessings of being connected to Him?
Jesus, thank You for creating good fruit in my life as I remain connected to You. May Your life flow through me to produce an even greater harvest of love.
Isaiah (whose name means “Yahweh is salvation”) had an interesting beginning to his prophetic ministry. In Isaiah 1–5, the prophet pronounces a series of “woes” upon Israel. The Bible Knowledge Commentary tells us that a woe “is an interjection of distress or of a threat voiced in the face of present or coming disaster.” In chapter 6, following the death of King Uzziah, the prophet is ushered into the throne room of the living God, and the scene is so overwhelming that he now declares a woe upon himself. Isaiah says, “Woe to me! . . . I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (v. 5). Upon seeing God, Isaiah became deeply aware of his own brokenness, not just the brokenness of the nation.