articlesqa March 27, 2018 the true vine
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of thinkheaven.com

Rays of light care­ful­ly craft­ed to pierce the dark­ness of any sor­row, the words of Je­sus in John 15:1-3 are Bril­liant and Strong. With the Almighty Pa­tience of The Eter­nal God and the pas­sion­ate brevi­ty of a Man about to die, Je­sus Christ en­com­pass­es the en­tire­ty of the dis­ci­ple’s walk. Je­sus speaks here only to be­liev­ers. For them, these words are open doors. In the midst of the val­ley of the shad­ow of death, these vers­es are the rod and staff; they are a house where the dis­ci­ple calm­ly rests as she walks with Je­sus Christ. Those who go fur­ther with­out abid­ing here will only find them­selves by com­ing back. Those who refuse to en­ter can­not go fur­ther. Only those who re­main in these three vers­es can go for­ward with our Lord Je­sus Christ.

These words are pil­lars. More sure than birth or death or tax­es, these three vers­es stand. They are not a sug­ges­tion or a com­mand. Yet like spir­i­tu­al grav­i­ty, they an­chor the be­liev­er to the nar­row way while set­ting the rhythm of his steps. Yes, it is Je­sus Christ Who sets these words to­geth­er like pre­cious stones on the signet ring of the once prodi­gal son. By say­ing John 15:1-2, the Faith­ful Son re­veals to us the af­fairs of our Fa­ther. And when our na­ture seems to de­file our great com­mis­sion, John 15:3 re­minds us that we are clean, we be­long and we are loved.

Three vers­es. Three her­alds loud­ly pro­claim­ing, “The feast is ready. Only come to the ta­ble and taste and see the Good­ness of The Lord.” Our in­her­i­tance awaits. The whole earth is wait­ing for these words to take root in us so that we may start pro­duc­ing the dis­ci­ple’s fruit.

The True Vine

Be­fore bear­ing fruit, the dis­ci­ple must first be alive. “I am the true vine,” says Je­sus. There are false vines, false prophets that ex­alt you as god so that you may wor­ship them. There are also thick faith­ful branch­es which wind long and do much so that they ap­pear to be true vines. Among this myr­i­ad of faith­ful wit­ness­es are Moses, David and Eli­jah. And yet, they are not the true vine. Je­sus Christ is the True Vine.

But there is more here. If you have ever seen a vine then this dis­tinc­tion Je­sus makes be­tween the vine and the branch­es seems odd. Af­ter all, where does the vine end so that the branch­es can be­gin? Where do you end so that your arm can be­gin? You might re­spond, “Al­though my arm is a part of me, I am not my arm and my arm is not me.” Aha. Like you and your arms, The Vine and the branch­es are one. Just as the Church is the Body of Je­sus Christ, the branch­es are the body of The Vine Eph­esians 4:15-16. How­ev­er, just like you and your arms, the Church is not Je­sus. The branch­es are not Di­vine. Je­sus is the True Vine.

“I am the true vine,” says Je­sus. He is nei­ther a sum­ma­tion or col­lec­tion of all the branch­es nor the emer­gent prop­er­ty of a com­plex sys­tem of branch­es. He Is Not just a He­brew man who real­ly knew the Torah. Yet, He looks like us, smells like us and the hem of His gar­ment can be touched. To para­phrase broth­er Bon­ho­ef­fer in Christ The Cen­ter, “We are, through fa­mil­iar­i­ty, tempt­ed into con­tempt for Je­sus.” Like those of His home­town we say, “He is just the car­pen­ter’s son. He is just the best of us.” In oth­er words, we live as if we are the vine and He is the branch. “Apart from us,” we say, “He can do noth­ing.”

The Pow­er and The Glo­ry

We be­have this way be­cause we are liv­ing by the de­mon­ic laws of world­ly pow­er. A world­ly leader is the sea­son­al fruit of her peo­ple. Though she thinks her­self pow­er­ful and in­de­pen­dent, she is noth­ing more than an emer­gent prop­er­ty; a tow­er of ba­bel ex­press­ing and shap­ing the col­lec­tive will. Hence the de­mon, though many, was named le­gion Mark 5:9. Since she is a prop­er­ty of the peo­ple, she will change when the peo­ple change. And when the peo­ple leave her, the leader los­es pow­er and dies. So she clam­ors and begs and gives gifts and takes bribes to cur­ry the fa­vor of the in­flu­en­tial peo­ple.

We tried to crown Je­sus but He Re­fused John 6:15, Matthew 4:8-10. He Re­fused to pro­duce world­ly fruit. He re­fused to be our branch. So we warned Je­sus Christ say­ing, “We are the vine and our fa­ther the dev­il is our vine­dress­er John 8:44. You are an un­fruit­ful branch that will be cast away.” Fear­ing Only His Fa­ther, Je­sus called Him­self God and called us sin­ners. We thought Him just a man; an un­fruit­ful car­pen­ter’s son who could do noth­ing apart from us. So we ham­mered our will into the shape of a cross and cru­ci­fied Him. The Eden echo of coun­ter­feit gods crescen­doed into des­per­ate screams of, “Cru­ci­fy him! Cru­ci­fy him! We are the vine.” And like an un­fruit­ful branch, the dev­il, our vine­dress­er, tried to cast Him away.

On the third day, He Rose from the dead.

No great prophet prayed for Him. Herod had killed the last one Matthew 11:11, Mark 6:25-28. His dis­ci­ples had aban­doned him to fish. Pow­er­less with grief, his moth­er wept for Him. By His Arm, He ful­filled His Promise to lay down His Life and take it up again Isa­iah 63:1-5, John 10:18, 2:19-21. God raised Him from the dead Acts 4:10. What mere man can die and raise him­self up from the dead? Je­sus is more than just a man. Je­sus Christ, born of Mary through The Holy Spir­it, is God and Man. He Is in­fi­nite­ly more and in­fi­nite­ly oth­er than the best of us. He Is. With­out us, He Is. And yet. And yet He Calls Him­self The True Vine and us His Branch­es John 15:5. There­fore, both with­out us and humbly through us, He Is.

World­ly pow­er emerges from the de­mon­ic will of the clam­or­ing le­gion. The Pow­er(Spir­it) of God comes from God through Je­sus Christ into His dis­ci­ples who pro­duce fruit.

Rev­e­la­tion

Je­sus is the True Vine. The world is a coun­ter­feit vine be­neath wa­ter­less clouds that bare­ly pro­duces mold rid­den shriv­eled grapes. So far will the dev­il go to fake God’s True Vine that he rais­es up an an­tichrist Rev­e­la­tion 13:1-2, fakes a false res­ur­rec­tion Rev­e­la­tion 13:3-6, gives an er­satz com­mis­sion Rev­e­la­tion 13:7-10, em­pow­ers false apos­tle(s) Rev­e­la­tion 13:11-15 2 Pe­ter 2:1-3 and gath­ers an un­holy body Rev­e­la­tion 13:16-18, 18:1-3. We have a choice to be branch­es of The True Vine of God or branch­es of the dev­il’s world. We can choose to be wa­tered by pas­tors who gath­er and preach the Holy Word or by false prophets who are wa­ter­less clouds Jude 1:12.

Those who are fruit­ful in Je­sus Christ are fruit­less in the world. Those who are fruit­less in the world are cut off and cast away from the world He­brews 11:35-38, Rev­e­la­tions 13:7-10. But this is a bless­ing and far prefer­able to be­ing the off­spring of this filthy, crooked gen­er­a­tion. Baby­lon is built on the blood of the saints Rev­e­la­tions 18:24, 17:6. Shall I re­joice in Baby­lon? Shall I pre­fer to be called a son of pharaoh’s daugh­ter? No. This is why dis­ci­ples re­joice when they are per­se­cut­ed for serv­ing God Acts 5:41, Matthew 5:10-12 1 Pe­ter 2:20. Only the fruit­ful in Christ are cut off from the world, those who are not fruit­ful in Je­sus Christ will be em­braced in the world. Those who are fruit­ful in the world are fruit­less in Je­sus Christ. They will be cut off and cast away to burn in hell along with the dev­il, his wa­ter­less clouds and the world Rev­e­la­tion 20:9-10.

“I am the True Vine,” says Je­sus Christ. This is the en­tire­ty of Chris­tian­i­ty. This is the end of world. By be­liev­ing and liv­ing this Word of Je­sus Christ, the dis­ci­ple dies into life. And only liv­ing branch­es can bear fruit.

DISCIPLE
When I was younger, I re­mem­ber one time specif­i­cal­ly that I got in trou­ble while I was be­ing babysat. I was a prod­uct of 1990’s car­toons and want­ed to see if slip­ping on a ba­nana peel ac­tu­al­ly worked. I put one by my sis­ter when she was prac­tic­ing her bal­let and she stepped on it and fell. I quick­ly ran to my room and hid un­der my cov­ers. I promise I was not laugh­ing. My babysit­ter at the time came into my room and start­ed say­ing loud­ly, “Where is Kearsten?”. I thought I was so clever to avoid her wrath and pun­ish­ment by hid­ing. Look­ing back on it now, she was call­ing me out and but she knew where I was the...
hide and seekApril 12, 2018
In John 15 Je­sus in­structs us on how to be His dis­ci­ples. He be­gins by say­ing, “I Am The True Vine and My Fa­ther Is The Vine­dress­er.” So far we have shown that the roots of dis­ci­ple­ship are an­chored high far be­yond the heav­ens in The Holy Trin­i­ty. Not only this. Through The True Vine, by the Pow­er of The Holy Spir­it, we be­come sons of God The Fa­ther. Let us high­light a few things Je­sus is say­ing about Him­self by Nam­ing God Fa­ther. Be­got­ten. Je­sus says He Is The Son of God. Je­sus is not a prod­uct of us. He Is Be­got­ten of God and there­fore He Pos­sess­es His Fa­ther’s Na­ture. Like His Fa­ther God, Je­sus...
the vinedresserApril 25, 2018
Small hand in big hand, Joel walks down the street wear­ing his fa­ther’s left palm like an over­sized mit­ten. Al­ready a mas­ter at dodg­ing the large dan­ger­ous chasms in the side walk, Joel’s eyes be­gin to wan­der in search for some­thing in­ter­est­ing. “Dad­dy, who is that?” And his dad, fol­low­ing the path of his fin­ger, replies, “Oh, that’s Mr. Smith.” Un­in­ter­est­ed in this un­in­ter­est­ing an­swer, Joel asks, “Who’s Mr. Smith?” His dad paus­es, re­mem­ber­ing the day his friend, James Smith, walked down the aisle and gave his life to Je­sus. He re­mem­bers Mr. Smith’s sub­se­quent bat­tle to be free from al­co­hol, the ma...
names that fadeJuly 30, 2018

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3

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