“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener (John 15:1)
In Scripture, there are actually three different vines found: past, present, and future. The past vine was the nation of Israel (see Psalm 80:8-19; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 19:10-14; and Hosea 10:1). In an act of wonderful grace, God "transplanted" Israel into Canaan and gave the nation every possible benefit. If ever a nation had everything it needed to succeed, it was Israel. Still, like American, the vine produced wild grapes! Instead of practicing justice, it practiced oppression; instead of producing righteousness, it produced unrighteousness and cries of distress from the victims. When God's own Son came to the vineyard, he was cast out and killed (Matthew 21:33-46). While the past is history and we cannot change it; but God would have us learn from it.
There is also a future vine described in Revelation 14:14-20, it is the vine of the earth. This is a warning from God regarding the Gentile world system. Ungodly nations are ripening for God's judgment. The unsaved depend on this world for their sustenance and satisfaction, while believers depend on Jesus Christ. Believers are not surprised by “Earth Day” and all the hype over “global warming” made by those who trust in the vine of the earth. The "vine of the earth" is going to be cut down and destroyed when Jesus Christ returns. Real “global warming” will occur when the earth is consumed with fire (Second Peter 3:7-10, Revelation 8:5-7; 16:8).
The present Vine is our Lord Jesus Christ and, of course, the vine includes the branches. He is the "true Vine," that is, "the original of which all other vines are a copy." As Christians, we do not live on substitutes! The symbolism of the Vine and branches is similar to that of the Head and the body we have a living relationship to Christ and belong to Him. We are by nature barren and dry, except in so far as we have been engrafted into Christ, and draw from him a power which is new, and which does not proceed from ourselves. A solid understanding of the vine helps us understand that:
1. we have no power for doing good except that power come from God through Christ; without the nutrients flowing through the Vine to us, we have no strength to produce.
2. we have a root in Christ and are pruned and dressed by our Heavenly Father; because the pruning and tending is painful, we should focus on the Father’s loving hands that provide the care we need.
3. our Heavenly Father removes unfruitful branches and cast them into the fire to be burned; we are to be productive Kingdom Citizens out of love and gratitude to the Father and the Vine.
4. we do not have the nature of the Vine, until we are grafted into the Vine; it is the graft that allows the nutrients of the Vine to sustain us
5. while we as the branch may be grafted into the Vine, receive our nourishment through the Vine, and are a part of the Vine, the branch never becomes the Vine.
Access to God is through the Vine – Jesus Christ. Stay connected to Christ!