John 15:1-8

1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

Israel is symbolized as the olive, the fig tree and the vine (Judges 9:7-15; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15:2; Hosea 10:1; Isaiah 5:1-7).

But Israel was about to cast out the Son (Matthew 21:33-41). The nation of Israel came from its father, Israel (Jacob). Spiritual Israel springs from Christ (Psalm 80:8-9).

Christ is the true vine (v.1), the true Israel.

true (v.1) — perfect, essential, enduring reality

The theme of the parable is fruit-bearing. Israel had borne no fruit.

vinedresser (v.1) — husbandman — the Father as caretaker

fruit (v.2) — Christlikeness (Galatians 5:22)

takes away (v.2) = should be “lifted up.” Caused to bear fruit.

prune (v.2) = cleanses — washes off parasites, with the water of the Word. To make them more fruitful (not to make fit for heaven).

already (v.3) — “standing” as opposed to “state” in the previous verse

The true branches are cleansed/purged by the Word (v.3).

abide (v.4) — (used 15 times in John 15:1-10) union, oneness, the continuing activity of faith

he who (v.5) — the 11 disciples, all saved.

does not abide in Me (v.6) — unbelievers, those who claim to be of the vine but aren’t. This isn’t loss of salvation. Note the change of address in verse 6 — not “ye” but “anyone.”

ask what you desire (v.7) — in accordance with fruit-bearing and glorifying God, asking that they will be aligned with His will. Specifically to the disciples.

All my commentaries begin by showing that in Scripture, the vine is Israel. But then they insist on reading the Church into the passage. Why? John wrote it (Galatians 2:9). Christ was talking to the disciples who were all Jewish. Although it can certainly apply to the Church in many ways, it’s essential reference is Israel.

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