I am the true vine - Some have supposed that this discourse was delivered in the room where the Lord‘s Supper was instituted, and that, as they had made use of wine, Jesus took occasion from that to say that he was the true vine, and to intimate that his blood was the real wine that was to give strength to the soul. Others have supposed that it was delivered in the temple, the entrance to which was adorned with a golden vine (Josephus), and that Jesus took occasion thence to say that he was the true vine; but it is most probable that it was spoken while they were going from the paschal supper to the Mount of Olives. Whether it was suggested by the sight of vines by the way, or by the wine of which they had just partaken, cannot now be determined. The comparison was frequent among the Jews, for Palestine abounded in vineyards, and the illustration was very striking. Thus, the Jewish people are compared to a vine which God had planted, Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:8-16; Joel 1:7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 19:10. When Jesus says he was the true vine, perhaps allusion is had to Jeremiah 2:21. The word “true,” here, is used in the sense of real, genuine. He really and truly gives what is emblematically represented by a vine. The point of the comparison or the meaning of the figure is this: A vine yields proper juice and nourishment to all the branches, whether these are large or small. All the nourishment of each branch and tendril passes through the main stalk, or the vine, that springs from the earth. So Jesus is the source of all real strength and grace to his disciples. He is their leader and teacher, and imparts to them, as they need, grace and strength to bear the fruits of holiness.
And my Father is the husbandman - The word “vine-dresser” more properly expresses the sense of the original word than husbandman. It means one who has the care of a vineyard; whose office it is to nurture, trim, and defend the vine, and who of course feels a deep interest in its growth and welfare. See the notes at Matthew 21:33. The figure means that God gave, or appointed his Son to be, the source of blessings to man; that all grace descends through him; and that God takes care of all the branches of this vine - that is, of all who are by faith united to the Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus and all his church he feels the deepest interest, and it is an object of great solicitude that his church should receive these blessings and bear much fruit.
I am the true vine - Perhaps the vines which they met with, on their road from Bethany to Gethsemane, might have given rise to this discourse. Some of the disciples were probably making remarks on the different kinds of them, and our Lord took the opportunity of improving the conversation, according to his usual manner, to the instruction of their souls. He might here term himself the true vine, or vine of the right sort, in opposition to the wild and barren vine. Some MSS. and several of the fathers read the verse thus: I am the true vine, ye are the branches, and my Father is the husbandman. Some think that, as this discourse followed the celebration of the Eucharist, our Lord took occasion from the fruit of the vine, used in that ordinance, to introduce this similitude.
The only safety now is to search for the truth as revealed in the word of God, as for hid treasure. The subjects of the Sabbath, the nature of man, and the testimony of Jesus are the great and important truths to be understood; these will prove as an anchor to hold God's people in these perilous times. But the mass of mankind despise the truths of God's word and prefer fables. 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11: “Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” 1T 300.1
The most licentious and corrupt are highly flattered by these Satanic spirits, which they believe to be the spirits of their dead friends, and they are vainly puffed up in their fleshly minds. Colossians 2:19: “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God,” they deny Him who ministers strength to the body, that every member may increase with the increase of God. 1T 300.2
Vain philosophy. The members of the body are controlled by the head. Spiritualists lay aside the Head and believe that all the members of the body must act themselves and that fixed laws will lead them on in a state of progression to perfection without a head. John 15:1, 2, 4-6: “I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” 1T 300.3Read in context »
The character of the Christian is shown by his daily life. Said Christ, “Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:17). Our Saviour compares Himself to a vine, of which His followers are the branches. He plainly declares that all who would be His disciples must bring forth fruit; and then He shows how they may become fruitful branches. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4). SL 80.1
The apostle Paul describes the fruit which the Christian is to bear. He says that it “is in all goodness and righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:9). And again, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22, 23). These precious graces are but the principles of God's law carried out in the life. SL 80.2Read in context »
We are commanded to love one another as Christ has loved us. He has manifested His love by laying down His life to redeem us. The beloved disciple says that we should be willing to lay down our lives for the brethren. For “every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him” (verse 1). If we love Christ, we shall love those who resemble Him in life and character. And not only so, but we shall love those who have “no hope,” and are “without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). It was to save sinners that Christ left His home in heaven and came to earth to suffer and to die. For this He toiled and agonized and prayed, until, heartbroken and deserted by those He came to save, He poured out His life on Calvary. SL 82.1
Many shrink from such a life as our Saviour lived. They feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to imitate the Pattern, to bring forth fruit in good works, and then patiently endure the pruning of God that they may bring forth more fruit. But when the Christian regards himself as only a humble instrument in the hands of Christ, and endeavors to faithfully perform every duty, relying upon the help which God has promised, then he will wear the yoke of Christ and find it easy; then he will bear burdens for Christ, and pronounce them light. He can look up with courage and with confidence, and say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him” (2 Timothy 1:12). SL 82.2Read in context »
In the matchless gift of His Son, God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air which circulates around the globe. All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere will live and grow up to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. SC 68.1
As the flower turns to the sun, that the bright beams may aid in perfecting its beauty and symmetry, so should we turn to the Sun of Righteousness, that heaven's light may shine upon us, that our character may be developed into the likeness of Christ. SC 68.2
Jesus teaches the same thing when He says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.... Without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4, 5. You are just as dependent upon Christ, in order to live a holy life, as is the branch upon the parent stock for growth and fruitfulness. Apart from Him you have no life. You have no power to resist temptation or to grow in grace and holiness. Abiding in Him, you may flourish. Drawing your life from Him, you will not wither nor be fruitless. You will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water. SC 68.3Read in context »
“By their fruits ye shall know them.” All the followers of Christ bear fruit to His glory. Their lives testify that a good work has been wrought in them by the Spirit of God, and their fruit is unto holiness. Their lives are elevated and pure. Those who bear no fruit have no experience in the things of God. They are not in the Vine. Read John 15:4, 5: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.” 1T 289.1
If we would be spiritual worshipers of Jesus Christ, we must sacrifice every idol and fully obey the first four commandments. Matthew 22:37, 38: “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” The first four commandments allow no separation of the affections from God. Nor is anything allowed to divide, or share, our supreme delight in Him. Whatever divides the affections, and takes away from the soul supreme love to God, assumes the form of an idol. Our carnal hearts would cling to our idols and seek to carry them along; but we cannot advance until we put them away, for they separate us from God. The great Head of the church has chosen His people out of the world and requires them to be separate. He designs that the spirit of His commandments shall draw them to Himself and separate them from the elements of the world. To love God and keep His commandments is far from loving the world's pleasures and friendship. There is no concord between Christ and Belial. The people of God may safely trust in Him alone and without fear press on in the way of obedience. 1T 289.2Read in context »