Wednesday 18 September, 2019
I am the true vine
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener… No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:1-4, NIV)
In this last devotion in the series of the ‘I AM’ statements of Jesus, we encounter a message that commands us to depend on Jesus Christ. Here, Jesus uses an allegorical image of a vine, its branches and the gardener to refer to himself, his followers and God. Like a farmer who expects every branch of the vine to produce fruit, Jesus lets us to know that following him is not just a matter of lips service, to be a Christian is to bear fruit.
However, as the branches of a vine cannot bear fruit independent of the vine, we must depend on Christ who is the true vine if we are to bear fruit. “The word translated ‘true’ focuses on dependability. Jesus was not saying that he is the true vine and that all others are false, but rather that he is the dependable vine. Others (including African traditional religions) may have much to offer, but they are not dependable. He is God’s appointed way of approaching God” (African Bible Commentary).
Jesus Christ is the source of our fruitfulness in our pilgrimage. In him, we receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) who empowers us to be witnesses for Christ through faithful proclamation of the gospel to the world. Through the Holy Spirit, we bear fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) which makes us quite distinct from those without the spirit of Christ in whom the works of the flesh is manifest (Galatians 5:19-21).
To follow Christ is an invitation to depend on him; it is an invitation to live all of our lives here on earth fruitfully. We henceforth must bear fruit lest we are cut off from the vine. We must equally accept the pruning of the gardener (God’s discipline) to even bear more fruit. Bearing fruit is not about how many years you have known the Lord, it is not about being a Christian leader, it is not about being a minister of some sort; it rather is about our dependence on the Lord and consequently bearing fruit. Remember that “if it be painful to bleed, it is worse to wither. Better be pruned to grow [and bear fruit] than cut up to burn” (Trapp).
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, stir up your Spirit within me that I may continually bear eternal fruit to the glory of your name. Amen!
Rev. Julius I. Tabi is a Dean of Students’ Affairs at Uganda Christian University Arua Campus. He is an ordained minister in the Anglican Diocese of Ma’di and West Nile (Church of Uganda) and serves as chaplain at Ushindi Secondary School in Arua. Julius is a student of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology of Uganda Christian University. He holds a Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues at MF Norwegian School of Theology. Prior to his pastoral training, Julius trained as a high school Biology and Chemistry teacher. You may reach him by completing the form below.