“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1
I recently wrote on meditating verse by verse. And though that I’m not an expert in this area, I believe God blesses my attempts to gain deeper understanding of His Word. So, come along with me as I explore John 15!
God is complex. He is beyond our understanding. He is vast and incomprehensible.
But the Words He spoke help give us glimpses of Him that ARE within our ability to comprehend and understand. So when Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener”, He is giving us a physical world example to help us understand spiritual principles.
The True Vine.
True means “authentic”, “genuine”, “faithful”, “honest”, “correct”. There is much meaning in what He said, but also significance in what words He did not choose to use. Jesus says He is the “true” vine. He did NOT say He is the “only” vine.
Similarly, John 3:16 famously says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son”, NOT “only son”. God gave us His only begotten, or true, son. We are called children of God, but we are not His begotten children. Only Jesus is.
Jesus is not the only vine, but rather the only true vine. This implies that there are false vines as well! But what is a vine? A vine is a part of a plant. A vine brings nutrients and support to all of its parts. A vine also connects the parts of the plant together. If a part of the plant is separated from the vine, it withers and dies.
Jesus gives us spiritual food through His teachings, and He gives us strength when we call upon His name. He is also the cornerstone of our faith (Ephesians 2:20) —bringing all Christians together with Jesus as common ground. Jesus is our hope and salvation—if we are separated from Him, we face death. He is the true vine.
So what is a false vine? The simple answer is any vine that is not Jesus. But what does that mean on a practical level? We are not actually plant parts growing from a vine—so we can have difficulty discerning our connection to the true vine or a false one.
- If a vine is what brings nutrients, we should consider what we are consuming.
- If a vine is what supports and strengthens, we should consider from where we are drawing our strength.
- If a vine connects the parts of a plant together, we should consider who we are allowing ourselves to be connected to and influenced by.
- If a vine is the source of life and hope for the plant, we should consider what, or who, our hope is in.
But ultimately, in order to recognize a false vine, we must learn to know what the True Vine looks like. This comes from reading what Jesus said, learning what is important to Him, and spending intentional time in prayer.
When Jesus said, “And my Father is the gardener”, He reveals to us some of the nature of their relationship and roles within the Trinity. Sometimes when Jesus spoke, He refers to God as “God”, and other times as “Father”. In this verse, Jesus uses “Father” which reminds us of the intimate relationship between the two.
But what is a gardener? A gardener has a plan and purpose for his garden. A gardener is intentional about growing, and protective of, his garden. He has the authority to declare what is a weed and what is beautiful. A gardener has dominion over his garden and is Lord of it.
God, like a gardener, has a plan and purpose for everything He does. God is intentional about what He allows to grow, and He is protective of His plans. He has authority over everything and He sets the standards. God has dominion and is the Lord Almighty.
So Jesus is the True Vine, and God is the Gardener. We already looked at the relationship of a vine to the other plant parts, but what about the Vine’s relationship to Gardener? The prized vine is the centerpiece of the garden. It is the show-stopper. The vine is the reason the gardener even created a garden! It is a thing of beauty and it catches people’s eye. The vine showcases the skills of the gardener and reveals the gardener’s priorities and purpose. Although the beauty is in the vine, it brings glory to the gardener.
Jesus, the true Vine, is the glory of the Heavenly Father Gardener. He grows the kingdom according to His Father’s will, and under His Father’s authority. God has dominion over all of creation, and it all exists to bring Him glory.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1
Are you able to easily recognize Jesus as the True Vine, or do you find yourself clinging to false vines? Even if you have been acquainted with Jesus for a long time now, there is always more we can learn and discover! This week, read more words that Jesus spoke so that you may learn new things about His heart. Ask God to help you see Jesus from a new perspective in your existing situation—growing more deeply connected to Him as the True Vine, and breaking connection with any false vines.