“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
This Sunday, we are diving deeper into a foundational passage here at Tome, John 15:5. We want to start specifically with the first four words.
“I am the vine.”
John records seven of these “I am” sayings of Jesus throughout his writings. These “I am” statements are rich with Old Testament allusions for his Jewish readers. An understanding is set when he intentionally writes, “I am.”
The “people of the exile” all know the story of God instructing Moses on what to say to Pharaoh when being asked who this God you serve is.
“God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’
And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)
An additional translation of this phrase is “I am what I am, or I will be what I will be.”
John wants to remind us that Jesus is the same “I am” so “that you might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.” John (20:31).
We are building Tome as a “branch” that connects you to the “I Am” of the Bible. When you engage in the message of the Bible, we believe that your life will be transformed. This is the core reason Tome exists and what moves us forward every day.
Understanding the Context
When studying the New Testament Gospels, it is essential to keep in mind who the writer is addressing and the setting that the words of Jesus were conveyed. Some scholars say this passage from Jesus was spoken to His disciples gathered at the Upper Room in Jerusalem for the Passover.
John reminds us that Jesus referring to himself as “the vine” would have a powerful resonance as they shared the Passover cup. John records this in 6:53-54 “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
John’s greatest purpose of writing the spiritual gospel goes beyond the intellectual knowledge of Jesus being the revealed Messiah. His eternal covenant with Him would become a part of us like the drink is absorbed into our body brings us life.
The Last Supper
One thing that makes this “I Am” pronouncement so unique is that John was the youngest disciple and was the one who recorded these words. John identifies himself in this book as “the beloved” disciple. The Passion Translation describes this intimate moment at the Last Supper as, “the disciple that Jesus dearly loved was at the right of him at the table and was leaning his head on Jesus” (John 13:23). Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper captures this image of the young disciple literally listening to the heartbeat of God! What a wonderful picture of this abiding relationship.
We pray that when you open up Tome, our Guides will help you lean into the heart of God for your life.
What do you need the Lord to be in your life?
Do you need Him to be your doctor?
– Jer. 17:14 “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed.”
Do you need Him to be your lawyer?
– Ps. 50:1 “God Himself is judge.”
Do you need Him to be your friend?
– Ps. 18:24 “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Whatever you need the Lord to be right now in your life
– remember to connect to The Vine!