John 15:1-6 (NLT)
The vine & the branches
[Jesus said] 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes  so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will 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.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
The Greek for prunes also means cleans.
TIME OF DAY:
No obvious light source or light direction. Even the fire doesn’t cast a glow on Jesus or the vines!
Jesus – the Vine
I did a Google search to find reference for grapes, vine leaves, secateurs & flames.
This is a simple illustration, but notice that Jesus is about to cut off a branch that is not producing any grapes or even leaves! I wanted his expression to be slightly sad or upset, as I imagine He is not very happy about ever having to cut anyone off the vine!
This is the seventh & last of Jesus’ famous “I am…” statements.
01. The Bread Of Life
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)
02. The Light Of The World
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
03. The Gate
I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)
04. The Good Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
05. The Resurrection And The Life
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
06. The Way, The Truth, And The Life
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
07. The Vine
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
What might Jesus have meant by referring to himself as the true vine?
Point 01. Recorded only in John’s Gospel, “I am the True Vine” (John 15:1) is the last of 7 “I AM” statements that Jesus made about himself, made duri ng the last supper. He was speaking to his 11 closest friends, the disciples, just after Judas Iscariot had left, to betray Jesus to the Jewish leaders, who wanted to kill him. He had just told them that He would be leaving them (see John 14:2) & knowing how disturbed they would feel, He gave them this lovely metaphor of the True Vine as one of His encouragements.
Point 02. Just as the roots and trunk of a grape vine provide the sap that nourishes & sustains its branches while they develop their fruit, so Jesus wanted his disciples to know that he would never leave them, nor forsake them (see Hebrews 13:5). His living, spiritual energy would continue to nourish and sustain them forever. For as long as we “abide” in him, his energy will flow into us, giving us the power to serve him.
Point 03. Just as a vine’s branches rely entirely on being connected to the trunk (from which they receive their energy to bear fruit), so Jesus’ disciples depend on being connected to Him for their spiritual life and ability to serve Him effectively (bearing fruit). If a branch is cut off the vine root, then it withers & dies: it can not survive without the root stock.
Point 04. Jesus said that no branch can produce leaves and fruit, by itself. The fruit Christian believers produce is that outlined in Galatians 5:22–23; it is of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Our source of life and spiritual fruit is not in & of ourselves; it is found only in Jesus the Christ. We can live and serve Him effectively & correctly only if we remain connected to Him in a faith & love relationship.
Point 05. Jesus underscored His point more strongly by saying, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (see John 15:5). No believer can achieve anything of spiritual value independently of Christ Jesus.
Point 06. All true “branches” bear fruit; that is their essential nature: fruit-bearing. Just as we know a healthy, living tree by the good fruit it produces, so do we recognize fruitless branches as having no connection to the True Vine. To make this point clear, Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:16–20 “By their fruit you will know them”. The reference here is to apostates, those people who profess to know Christ but whose relationship to Him is untruthful, corrupted & insincere. Those who do not produce good fruit are eventually cut away and burned.
Point 07. We Christian believers depend on Jesus for absolutely everything, as Acts 17:28 informs us, “For in Him we live and move and have our being”. Indeed, our reconciliation with God the father can only come through Jesus (see Romans 5:10).
Point 07. No one can serve God effectively until they are connected with Jesus Christ by faith. Jesus is our only connection with God the Father, who gives life and who produces in us a fruitful life of righteousness and service.