“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (RSV-CE Jn. 14: 6-7)
This is the last of the seven self-identifying statements in John’s Gospel. Chapter 15 is still part of the “Farewell Discourse”. In this Jesus recalls Old Testament imagery that describes the relationship between Israel the vine and God the vineyard owner who planted, prunes, and nurtures the vine.
"Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill… and now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness" (Is. 5:1, 5-7)
Jesus is the true vine, planted by the Father for mankind. The disciples are connected to the mission of Christ as the branches are connected to the vine. The vine is strong supporting its branches, and the Father will prune (cleanse) their branches to ensure they continue to bear fruit.
This is the final image of Christ as Church. We have seen that Christ is a gift from the Father to call us from sin, freeing us from temptation and evil. He willingly sacrificed Himself so that humanity could unite with the Father leading to eternal life. Now in this final passage, John tells us that the Church is an extension of Christ. The Church continues to impart God’s saving grace, that the Father loves His Church as He loved Jesus.
- Bergant, Dianne C.S.A., and Robert J. O.F.M Karris. The Collegeville Bible Commentary. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1986.
- Brown, Raymond D. S.S., Joseph A, S.J. Fitzymer, and Roland E, O. Carm. Murphy, . The Jerome Biblical Commentary. Vol. I and II. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1968.
- Hunt, Michal. "The 7 Symbolic "I Am" Metaphors of John's Gospel." Agape Catholic Bible Study. AgapeBibleStudy.com, 2007. Web. 21 June 2015. <http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/charts/Seven%20Days%20and%20Seven%20I%20AMs%20in%20John's%20Gospel.html>.
- Just, Rev. Felix, Ph. D. "Christology in the Fourth Gospel." Catholic Resources for Bible, Liturgy, Art, and Theology. Felix Just, S. J., 8 July 2013. Web. 21 June 2015. <http%3A%2F%2Fcatholic-resources.org%2FJohn%2FThemes-Christology.htm>.
- Just, Rev. Felix, Ph. D. "I AM" Sayings in the Fourth Gospel." Catholic Resources for Bible, Liturgy, Art, and Theology. Felix Just, S. J., 11 July 2012. Web. 12 June 2015. <http://catholic-resources.org/John/Themes-IAM.htm>.
- Lewis, Scott M. The Gospel According to John and the Johannine Letters. Collegeville, MI: Liturgical, 2005. Print.
- Martin, Francis. The Gospel of John. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015. Print.
- Mays, James L., et al., . Harper's Bible Commentary. New York City, New York: Harper San Francisco: a Divison of Harper Collins Publishers, 1988.
- Wilson, Neil S., and Linda K. Taylor. Handbook of Bible Charts & Maps. Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2001.
I AM the Vine and You are the Branches, my Father is the Gardner
4/ 5Oleh JIM Woodmansee