Searchlights THROUGH THE Scriptures

One of the initial features that differentiate the Gospel According to John from the other Gospels is Jesus’ seven “I am” statements. In these stunning metaphors, Jesus unveils the truth about who He could be and what He had entered into the world to do. Over the course of our study of John, we have considered six of them.

Today we come to the seventh. The Bible uses a complete lot of different kinds of figurative language, which is helpful for us to tell apart them in one another. This passage handles metaphors – a straightforward means of evaluation, where a very important factor is referred to in conditions of another. It isn’t a parable – a tale in which a single major point has been made by a little number of elements in the story plot. Neither is it an allegory – a complicated story where every detail of the story plot is representative of another thing.

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Therefore, we can not press every detail of the metaphors used for a few theological meaning here. The basic meanings are simple to understand. The complex issues are not handled but are left for other here, clearer and more in-depth teaching. Three main topics are identified in the metaphor. Christ is the Vine.

His Father is the vinedresser, or “farmer” more literally. Those who find themselves genuine followers of Christ will be the branches. The point of the metaphor is how all three of these are related to one another in a way that produces fruits – the vital effect and proof genuine religious life. We need to observe that Jesus says He is the Vine here, as if to state that there surely is no other vine that can produce this sort of spiritual vitality. He is not one of many vines, He is the Vine.

He also says in verse 1 that He could be the True Vine. You will find other activities that portend to be vines but aren’t. However the one pseudo-vine that Jesus is making a difference from here is the Nation of Israel. Through the entire Old Testament, Israel was likened to a vine that was planted and tended by God. Ironically, however, whenever that imagery can be used to spell it out Israel, it is a negative context of the vine that has didn’t bear good fruit and is in imminent peril of judgment.

The distinction between your worthless vine of Israel and the Lord Jesus as the True Vine was necessary for people for the reason that day to comprehend. If they trusted in their “Jewishness” and their Hebrew ancestry to offer them spiritual security before God, they would be ultimately disappointed. It was insufficient to be “born” in the right biological lineage.

They needed to be “born again,” as branches in the True Vine, the Lord Jesus. This distinction would be scandalous to many who heard it for the reason that day. But it is essential also, scandalous, and highly relevant to our own day. Particularly here in the Southern USA, Christianity has been the cultural norm for centuries, and there are numerous who assume that they are Christians by default. But the image of the vine and the branches reminds us that spiritual vitality only comes through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not from our ancestors or our geographical setting.