What is the meaning of what Jesus tells us in the vine and branches passage in the Bible?
Vine and branches Scripture; what Jesus tells us to do in John 15: 1-17
Have you had a friendship for many years, then one day you find out something new about your friend that you did not know before? This new information sheds a different light on your friend and you understand her even better.
Has that ever happened to you with a passage from the Bible?
There are many passages from the Bible that we know, but do we really know them? When we dive deeper into a Bible passage, we can discover facets of God’s love that we may not have understood before.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
One Bible passage that has many layers we can uncover is John 15: 1-17 where Jesus talks about being the vine and calls us the branches.
Here is the passage:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.
By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
You are my friends if you do what I command you.
I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father.
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.
This I command you: love one another.
Jesus tells us what to do
In this Scripture passage, Jesus tells us several things He wants us to do. He is very specific! Let’s look at each one:
The first thing Jesus tells us to do is to, “Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.”
Jesus wants us to remain in Him. We can stay attached to Him as a branch is attached to the vine. The branches receive nourishment from the vine and either grow or wither according to how well they are attached to the vine.
We need to stay attached to Jesus so we may be continually nourished by him and grow in his love.
How can we remain in Him? We can study Scripture, attend Mass, receive the sacraments, pray, and spend time with Jesus listening to Him and asking for His guidance in our lives.
The next thing Jesus tells us to do is similar to the first: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.”
How can we remain in Jesus’ love? We can accept His love for us. This is not a thing we do once and we are set for life! We continually accept God’s love for us; each day we choose to do this.
We can work to know and love Him more deeply as well, through the activities and devotions mentioned above.
Third, Jesus tells us, “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.”
Jesus does not just tell us to love one another. He adds two dimensions to it:
1. Jesus makes it a commandment.
Making this directive a commandment lends it more importance. We will listen and follow more intently.
2. Jesus tells us to love as He loves.
This is big. This is a challenge to love completely and sacrificially. Jesus died on the cross because He loves us. he wants us to be willing to sacrifice for love, too. Sacrificial love is a love we can ask God to help us to have. It is a love we can have for others only with God’s help! And since He commanded us to have this kind of love for others, He will help us to have it. We can follow his example and ask Him to help us to love others as He loves us.
The last thing Jesus tells us to do in this passage is, “This I command you: love one another.”
Have you ever heard this tip about learning: If the person speaking (like in a class lecture or at a conference) says something more than once, it is important. Write it down!
This fourth directive from Jesus is like the third one, but Jesus says it again. This is the second time He says to love others.
Follow what Jesus tells us to do in John 15: 1-17
We know from John 15:1-17 how Jesus wants us to live and love. He wants us (as branches) to be attached to Him (as the vine). He is attached to his Father, the vine grower.
He tells us to follow His command to love others as He loves us.
We can try our best to do these things and we know we can rely on Christ to help us. He would never ask us to do something that we cannot do. He will always help us to do what He asks.