The true vine

The setting

What a night it has been! The disciples have just shared the meal we call the Last Supper with Jesus. And I’m sure that their brains are probably reeling as they try to take in all the deep truths that Jesus has been teaching them. He’s told them several times that he is going to the Father. No doubt they’re wondering if this man who they’ve followed around for three years, is indeed the promised Messiah, the One that they’d hoped would redeem Israel.
But now he’s saying that he’s going to die. Is it all over?

Then the time comes for them to leave the upper room. But Jesus isn’t going to stop teaching them. He knows how confused they are. So, like all good teachers, he uses an illustration to try and help them understand what the future will be like.

We’re not told, but it has been suggested that as they walk through the Kidron Valley and up to Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives, they pass through a vineyard. And Jesus says to them: ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener’ (John 15:1). To us, this is an interesting picture, but to those first century Jews the meaning would have been so much greater. Throughout the Old Testament the vine is a symbol of Israel. Read Isaiah 5:1-2,7.

So Jesus is really saying: ‘I am not like that worthless vine. I am the true vine, I’m the genuine article. I’m fulfilling all that Israel was supposed to be. And my Father is the gardener – he is in control of the whole vineyard.

Read John 15:4-5



  • What command does Jesus now give his disciples? What promise accompanies this command? (v 4a, 5)
  • Why is it so important for them to hold on to this promise at this particular time?
  • What do you understand by ‘apart from me you can do nothing’?

    Can you imagine the disciples’ confusion? Jesus has just told them that he is going to be betrayed and die, and now he says: ‘Remain in Me’. He tells them that he is the vine, they are the branches. They cannot have an effective ministry without him. Jesus is saying that his death is not going to change their close relationship with him. He will still be with them. In fact he will be in them, and they will be in him – an intimate, personal, spiritual union. His presence in them will be in the form of the Holy Spirit. Unless they are intimately connected to Jesus, the true vine, their ministry will be worthless. Remaining in a close relationship with Jesus is the only way to have a fruitful ministry in God’s Kingdom. So what does this mean for us today?

    Read Ephesians 1:13-14



    • What are some of the ways to ensure we remain closely connected to Jesus, the true vine?
    • What gift does God give to help us when we believe?
    • Read Galatians 5:22-23. What fruit does the Holy Spirit produce in us?

    A branch is only good for one thing – and that is to bear fruit. As branches, we can do nothing for God unless we have a living connection to ‘the Jesus vine’. Let’s ensure we keep a close relationship with him. Then, as the Holy Spirit works within us, he will produce more ‘Jesus fruit’ in our lives, showing that we belong to the true vine.


    Reflect and pray

    Am I remaining in Jesus, the true the vine? Am I reading my Bible and praying regularly and staying connected with other Christians? Let’s pray that God would help us depend on him totally so that we bear much fruit.


    Let’s sing!

    Yet not I, but through Christ in me (CityAlight); You are the Vine (Jonathan Priday); Remain in Me (Bonnie Stacey);
    Jesus is the Vine (Kids for Jesus).