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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN - Chapter 15 - Verse 1

Verse 1. 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, and to intimate that his blood was the real wine that was to give strength to the soul. Others have supposed that it was delivered in the temple, the entrance to which was adorned with a golden vine (Josephus), and that Jesus took occasion thence to say that he was the true vine; but it is most probable that it was spoken while they were going from the paschal supper 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 Jews, for Palestine abounded in vineyards, and the illustration was very striking. Thus the Jewish people are compared to a vine which God had planted, Isa 5:1-7; Ps 80:8-16; Joe 1:7; Jer 2:21; Eze 19:10.

When Jesus says he was the true vine, perhaps allusion is had to Jer 2:21. The word true, here, is used in the sense of real, genuine. He really and truly gives what is emblematically represented by a vine. The point of the comparison or the meaning of the figure 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 stalk, or the vine, that springs from the earth. So Jesus is the source of all real strength and grace to his disciples. He is their leader and teacher, and imparts to them, as they need, grace and strength to bear the fruits of holiness.

And my Father is the husbandman. The word vine-dresser more properly expresses the sense of the original word than husbandman. It means one who has the care of a vineyard; whose office it is to nurture, trim, and defend the vine, and who of course feels a deep interest in its growth and welfare. See Barnes "Mt 21:33".

The figure means that God gave, or appointed his Son to be, the source of blessings to man; that all grace descends through him; and that God takes care of all the branches of this vine—that is, of all who are by faith united to the Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus and all his church he feels the deepest interest, and it is an object of great solicitude that his church should receive these blessings and bear much fruit.

{a} "true vine" Isa 4:2 {b} "husbandman" So 8:12

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