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The True Vine

Built on a Rock
Pastor Jason Cunningham, First Presbyterian Church, Luverne

In John 15, Jesus said, “I am the true vine and my Father is the vine grower.”
During the 1960s Sherwood Schwartz wrote and produced a TV show called “Gilligan’s Island.” I bet many of you are familiar with it, a comedy about seven stranded castaways who had been cruising on a ship called the S.S. Minnow. Gilligan was the first mate. The first season was 1964. The show was an immediate hit.
Schwartz once shared that only six episodes had been on the air when a commander in the United States Coast Guard came to see him with a stack of telegrams he had received. Each of them asked essentially the same questions: “For several weeks now, we have seen American citizens stranded on some Island in the Pacific Ocean. Why doesn’t the Coast Guard do something about this? Can’t you send a ship to rescue those people before they starve to death?” They were not jokes. A number of different people had viewed the show and thought it was real. They were unable to distinguish truth from fiction.
Jesus said, “I am the TRUE vine and my Father is the vine grower.”
This is one of the “I Am” statements Jesus spoke. His words are about being connected to Jesus; having a life communion with God. The word “true” could also be translated: genuine, real, or trustworthy.
Jesus’ disciples would have recognized the metaphor. They were in vineyard country, so would have been familiar with the central vines of a grape plant. They would have known that the many branches were dependent upon the vine. They would have known that some branches produced fruit and that others were just woody and essentially useless.
“I am the true vine,” Jesus says, and then again, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” The saying is about connection to Jesus. Jesus goes on to use the word “Abide” which means to remain with or to dwell with; to live with.   
“Abide in me as I abide in you.” He says, “Let my word abide in you.” “Abide in my love.” When Jesus talks about “living in” or “dwelling with”, he’s talking about sharing an ongoing connection and communication. Abiding in Christ is something we want to do that is eternally worthwhile. Why does Jesus talk so extensively about abiding in him? Probably because he knows that we need our perspective to be shaped by faith each day and even each hour. If we are to stay focused on Christ, there are certain questions we can ask ourselves. Consider using these three questions in the week ahead:
At what moment this past week did I feel closest to Christ?
At what moment this week did I feel I was responding to God’s call to be a disciple?
When was my faith tested this week?
May you experience a connection with Jesus that is strong and growing!
“I am the True Vine,” Jesus said, “Real, genuine, reliable, true.”