The Vine

The Vine

Growing up in the Catholic Church, I spent every Wednesday night at CCD learning about the faith and sacraments. We had different teachers each year and this year was surprisingly the first one taught by a nun. She taught us many things, but one night of CCD stands out to me more than all the rest. It was a class where the nun leading asked us to memorize and mediate on John 15:5. It was my first experience meditating and I still haven’t figured out the art of letting a mind go blank, but she taught me the importance of dwelling on a scripture and letting it really soak it.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

There’s a lot to say over deep meditation of scripture, but it clearly worked. I always struggle to recite specific verses, constantly alluding to some verse somewhere in the bible that kinda says this thing. Yet to this day, this is one of the few verses I can say from memory.

This passage of John 15 teaches us that Jesus is our vine, our source of life and we are interconnected. We should produce spiritual fruit, love as He loved, but it also means we’ll be persecuted as He was. When we profess Christ as Messiah and believe in His death and resurrection, we don’t call it done. We must remain steadfast in our commitment and continue to draw our strength and truth from Him. Our old selves should end as we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 3:9-10; Ephesians 4:22-24). A new creation grows spiritual fruit because it is connected to the vine of life.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14

I hope I’m not alone in looking at these lists of adjectives and feeling a little overwhelmed. I don’t remember a single day I lived up to these words. That’s because in the flesh, we can’t. We must remain connected to our life source and draw all our strength from it.

Even though I constantly complained when my mom made me help with the garden growing up, I’ve become quite obsessed with growing vegetables as an adult. There’s a lot of joy to be had growing your own food and loving and caring for a plant until it produces fruit. The problem is, once you cut off the fruit / vegetable – it eventually dies. Sure, that kale will live a while in your fridge, but it eventually rots or shrivels up. In the same way, if you don’t feed ourselves on scripture, prayer, and obedience then we will eventually die.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

John 15:3

He implores us to produce fruit (John 15:16) and the success of the Church and salvation of the world depends on us producing fruit and living in our spiritual giftings (1 Corinthians 12). However, we can’t turn a blind eye to end of John 15, in verse 20 He says:

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

John 15:20

We find truth, light, life, strength, and love when we are on the vine, but being on the vine doesn’t protect us from being surrounded by weeds. Suffering and persecution came to Jesus and the Apostles, we should expect it ourselves. Remain steadfast in the truth you believed, trust all of Scripture as God breathed word, stay in relationship with God, pray without ceasing, but always count the cost. (1 Thessalonians 5:16; Luke:14:25-34)

And praise be to God. While our flesh is weak, the Spirit is strong. I’m forever grateful that the wonderful Counselor and Spirit of Truth now can reside in us. For we were dead to sin, but now we can experience freedom in Christ and eternal life in the Glory of our Creator and forever worship Him. (John 16; Hebrews 1:3; John 17:22).

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