January 18th, 2021

The Son’s sacrifice

By Submitted Article on August 8, 2020.

The vine

Second of four parts

Jacob M. Van Zyl

In John 15:1-8, Jesus used farmer, vine, sap and branches to depict Father, Son, Spirit and believers, respectively. We have looked at the Father’s role as farmer; today, we study Jesus, the vine.

The vine is the stem of the plant. It is not visually impressive. It is not straight but distorted and knobbed. Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would have “no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Is. 53:2).

Vines start producing grapes in their third year. Jesus had a three-year ministry before he completed salvation on the cross. He rose from death on the third day.

Vines are climbing plants: they cannot stand by themselves, but need something to cling to, like a pergola or trellis. Likewise, Christ became a weak and poor human being to open the way of salvation (2 Cor. 8:9, Phil. 2:7-8).

Despite its ungainly appearance, the vine support branches that produce refreshing grapes, juice and wine. Only by staying connected to the vine, the branches can live and produce. Jesus said, “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.”

The vine connects farmer and branches. The soil, fertilizer and water the farmer provides are carried by the vine to the branches. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Paul put it this way: “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

As the farmer plants a vineyard out of love for this plant and its produce, so the Father’s love moved him to give his Son as vine on which fruitful branches (believers) can grow (John 3:16).

To become this life-giving vine, the eternal Son of God had to accept a human body and soul in which he could become the atoning sacrifice for the sins of believers.

After Christ paid our sin-debt in full on the cross, he proclaimed, “It is finished!” It is done – nothing needs to be added. He verified his victory by rising from death and ascending to the right hand of the Father (Ps. 110:1, Rom. 8:34, 1 John 2:1).

Because of his redemptive work, Christ became the life-giving vine for us, the branches. When we rely on him and not on ourselves, we bear much fruit.

What kind of fruit? In the next section (John 15:9-15), the fruit of the branches is described as “love one another as I have loved you.” That corresponds with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, Rom. 5:5).

Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.

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