John 15:1-8 Common English Bible (CEB)
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. 3 You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. 6 If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified when you produce much fruit and in this way prove that you are my disciples.
Three Points of Discussion
Quote #1 - The basic imagery of this passage emphasizes the communal and relational nature of the Christian faith. Thus the parable of the Vine challenges all of us whose lives have been constructed largely on the modern idea of the sovereign individual; from this standpoint, acts in a community tend to be seen as outside the central spaces of our lives. The church thus appears as something we are “part of,” apart from our major spheres of life at home and work. Jesus’ parable, however, through its imagery suggests a living and growing community of faith, a site of productivity and increase. Based on its presence on the vine, each branch is to recognize its part in the whole and do its part. STEPHEN A. COOPER - David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor. Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide (Feasting on the Word: Year B volume) (Kindle Location 16553). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.
Quote #2 - In a vineyard, the best grapes are produced closest to the central vine. Understandably, that is where the nutrients are the most concentrated. Thus, the lateral branches are not allowed to ramble all over the arbor. They are pruned and kept short. Jesus drew an apt description of the life of discipleship from this metaphor of nature. Jesus is the true vine, God is the grower, and we are the branches. Through this image, two aspects of God’s created world are held together—bearing fruit and being pruned. NANCY R. BLAKELY - David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor. Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide (Feasting on the Word: Year B volume) (Kindle Locations 16593-16597). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.
Quote #3 - In John’s mind, there are branches that do not produce fruit. They fail to live in love and are concerned only with themselves. It is all about them and not the community. John takes a familiar image and reworks it to set forth a vision for his people. The community that Jesus calls forth is one that embodies an African proverb: Because we are, I am. BARBARA J. ESSEX - David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor. Feasting on the Word: Year B, Volume 2: Lent through Eastertide (Feasting on the Word: Year B volume) (Kindle Location 16729). Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Kindle Edition.
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