Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Fruit of Righteousness

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser (John 15:1 NASU).”

It was quite fitting that in His final teachings our Lord would speak of the oneness of He and His children. Thus in the sweetness of His spirit by the use of a simple metaphor Jesus here beautifully sets forth the oneness of Himself and His people, and His relation to them as the Source of all their spiritual life and fruitfulness.

[I am the true vine]

Some have supposed that this discourse was delivered in the room where the Lord’s Supper was instituted, and that, as they had made use of wine, Jesus took occasion from that to say that He was the true vine. Some have made other suppositions; but it is most probable that it was spoken while they were going from what was to be their last supper together to the Mount of Olives. Whether it was suggested by the sight of vines by the way, or by the wine of which they had just partaken, cannot now be determined.

The comparison was frequent among the Jews, for Palestine abounded in vineyards, and the illustration was very striking. Often the Prophets compared the Nation Israel to a vine which God had planted (see Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:8-16; Joel 1:7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 19:10). When Jesus says He was the true vine, perhaps allusion is had to Jeremiah 2:21. The word “true,” here is used in the sense of faithfulness as compared to the unfaithful of the Israelites. He really and truly gives what is emblematically represented by a vine.

The point of the comparison or the correct meaning of the metaphor is this: A vine yields proper juice and nourishment to all the branches, whether these are large or small. All the nourishment of each branch and tendril passes through the main vine that springs from the earth. As the branch receives the proper nourishment it produces luscious fruit with seed in the fruit making it capable of reproduction.

In likeness Jesus is the Living Word of God springing forth from the very heart of the Father. By and through the Holy Spirit He is the source of all real strength and grace to His disciples. By the same Spirit He is their leader and teacher, and imparts to them, as they need, grace and strength for holiness that they bear the fruit of righteousness. The beauty of the fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23 NAS).

Now the seed in the fruit of righteousness is the word of God. The fruit is not like an apple with a core and seed in the core; the seed is in the fruit. One cannot partake of the fruit without getting the seed or he cannot get the seed without the fruit. Now when those who gaze upon the beautiful fruit and begin to eat (listen to and believe) it is the word and the Spirit of God that convicts and converts; not the branch. Thus by the seed the vine is increased and another branch is added to the vine.

James C Sanford

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