The True Vine

John 15:1-6  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that bear not fruit he take away: and every branch that bear fruit, he purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abide in me, and I in him, the same bring forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 

 ‘True vine’ Israel turned out to be a false vine producing wild grapes (Isa. 5:1-7). Christ as the true vine brings forth good fruit.

‘Every branch in me that bear not fruit he take away: and every branch that bear fruit, he purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit.’ Every believer in Christ is referred to by this illustration or it is meaningless. If the believer is fruitful he is purged to produce more fruit. If he is fruitless he is taken away or removed from being part of the vine. The Father does this, not man. No man is able to pluck one branch from God’s hands, but if we say that God cannot cut off any branch that is fruitless, then we limit God and make the dead, fruitless, and useless branches to be more powerful than He is. To take this position would be like saying to the vinedresser that it would be unlawful to prune the vine and remove the dead branches. No man can cut off any branch that is not actually in the vine. It is absurd and contrary to the letter and spirit of the parable here to talk about branches that are cut off as merely professing to be branches. If the idea here is only professed union of the vine and branches then there could only be a professed cutting off and burning; so the passage would mean nothing because it would have said nothing to any purpose.

God is the husbandman and Christ is the vine and believers are the branches in Christ. Every fruitless branch “in me” is cut off, withered, gathered with other dead branches and cast into the fire and burned. Every fruitful branch “in me” is purged that it might be more fruitful. Every branch “in me” is clean (pure in heart by the Word if walking in the light, Matt. 5:8; Eph. 5:26; John 3:5; Jas. 1:18; 1Pet. 1:23; 1Jn. 1:7). Branches must “abide in” Christ and Christ in them to produce fruit. The branch is helpless to produce fruit of itself. Christ is helpless to produce fruit through the branch unless it remains in Him. Branches must abide in Christ or be cut off and burned.

‘Now you are’ Now – not, “you are going to be.” The cleanliness referred to here was a present experience before the cross and before Pentecost. They were clean because of the Word that was spoken by Christ that washed them (Isa. 1:18).

‘Clean’ the Greek word katharos means pure, clean from anything that soils or corrupts. Real heart purity is meant (Matt. 5:8).

‘Abide’ the Greek word meno meaning remain, continue, dwell, and abide. This is a command to remain in Christ. The reason is given here as not being able to bear fruit otherwise. Without following in His example and footsteps when He lived on earth, one cannot remain in Him (1 Pet. 2:21-23).

Miracles

John 2:6-12  And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. 

The six waterpots of stone were proportioned to the number of wedding guests and each pot contained 122 litres an in total for the 6 pots there were 736 litres.  The ruler of the feast would have been either a chief guest, a friend of the bridegroom or a chief domestic who attended to the supply of the others.

“Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine” This is man’s way. God’s way is to give the best first, and always, and when they have “drunk well” which means to drink freely, not when they are all drunk, as some suppose.

And with this wedding, the miracles of Jesus Christ on earth began, not as some apocryphal books state falsely that He did some childhood miracles.

The Greek word for miracles is semeion, a sign or token by which something is known; a token of confirmation of a divine work or call. Generally used of miracles and wonders done by people to confirm their call and mission from God (Matt. 12:38; 16:1-4; John 2:11, 18, 23; 3:2; 7:31; 9:16; 10:41; 11:47; Acts 2:22, 43; 8:6). It is also used of the power by which false teachers seek to confirm their fallacies to be of God (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2Th. 2:8-12; Rev. 13:13-18; 16:14; 19:20). The last scriptures above refer to the satanic powers in these last days to cause men to accept false teaching and be lost. God does not want satan and his agents to manifest more power than His children! No! We have been promised power over all satanic forces (Matt. 17:20; 18:18; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; 16:15-20; Lk. 10:19; John 14:12; Acts 1:8).

The manifestation of His glory is the purpose of all miracles of God. Does God get more glory out of the weakness, helplessness, defeat, sin, sickness, and failure of His children than their power, victories, holiness, health, and success? Which then is the will of God?

Water in Wine

John 2:1-5  And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 

On the third day after Jesus left Jordan to start His ministry, He attended a marriage feast that sometimes lasted a week. Cana of Galilee was located on a low hill on the side of a rich upland plain, about eleven kilometres north of Nazareth. Called “Cana of Galilee” to distinguish it from Cana of Asher. It is not known how many disciples Jesus had during this first week of His ministry.

When they – the wedding party – ran out of wine (new/good wine = sweet juice) Mary offered Jesus’ service to help create grape juice. ‘Wine’ is used of both fermented and unfermented drink in Scripture. It speaks of the juice of grapes as ‘wine’ while it is still on the cluster (Isa. 65:8) and calls it ‘new wine’ when it is just pressed out of the grapes. It is blasphemous to say that Jesus would have made a wine containing alcohol, He was without sin (1Pet. 2:21-22; Heb. 4:15) and He would not have transgressed Habakkuk 2:15 that says “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink.”

Jesus answered His mother: “Woman…” not a name of disrespect, but one of respect, like our Madam (Matt. 15:28; John 4:21; 19:26; 20:15), “what have I to do with thee?” What have I to do with you in this matter? My time for working a miracle is not fully come. It is sad to see that the first miracle that was chosen for Christ – not chosen by Him – as one that so many people use today to justify the use of alcohol. The Word of God is very clear on the subject of being sober, which is a command to obey, not a request (1Th. 5:6,8; Tit. 2:2,4,6; 1Pet. 1:13, 5:8) and clear on not to drink (Pro. 23:21; 1Tim. 3:3; Tit. 1:7).