In John 15, Jesus makes the claim ” I am the vine, you are the branches, …if someone remains in me, they will bear much fruit”. The crowd that Jesus was speaking to may have been overlooking hills full of vineyards, or there may have been some that had experience working with grapevines in the crowd. Jesus was a master of using the familiar to convey the spiritual. many of us are very familiar with this seemingly simple passage. Let’s take another look.
Vineyards were common in Israel during the time of Jesus for the purpose of producing wine. People grew grapes for their livelihood. A good vine if properly cared for, produced a lot of fruit over a period of several growing seasons. If you did not do yearly maintenance to the vine, you would not get the optimal amount of fruit, and you risked killing the vine and forfeiting future production. You had to be vigilant in watching for pests and disease. Many of those in the crowd listening would know this information.
When Jesus makes the claim, “I am the vine, you are the branches”, this creates a visual that that is vibrant in telling those in the crowd the purpose of the Messiah. He is not there to be a political or military leader as many were expecting, but to be the root and life to their spiritual life. A root that would be entirely, completely essential to their lives. He then tells the crowd, “those who remain in me will bear much fruit. A separated from Jesus will look fine at the very first, but will soon wither, die, and only be fit for the fire.
This verse very much applies to our lives today. A life rooted in Jesus will thrive and produce the fruit that He desires. A life apart from him will wither and die.