The “I Am” Series: I am the True Vine

sealwood-vineyard-grapes[1]The seventh “I am” statement recorded in John is in chapter 15. Chapter 15 is a continuation of the Farewell Discourse. In John 15:1, Jesus says, “I am the true vine” and in verse 5, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” The vine and the vineyard were old and sacred images in Judaism. The vine represented the covenant people of God, planted and tended by Him so that Israel would produce fruit (Ps. 80:8-18; Is. 5:1-7; Jer. 2:21).[1] In the Old Testament Israel is depicted as the vine but in John 15 Jesus is the vine; He is the replacement for Israel as He is portrayed as the replacement of the temple and the fulfillment of the Jewish feasts.[2] Jesus embodies and fulfills God’s true intentions for Israel; He is the paradigmatic vine, the channel through whom God’s blessings flow and who bears much fruit.[3] Jesus replaces Israel as the focus of God’s plan of salvation, with the implication that faith in Jesus Christ; a paradigm shift is taking place in which faith in Christ is superseding keeping the Law. Paul writes, Christ is the end of the law” in Romans 10: He is its fulfillment and its replacement.[4]

 

[1] Gary M. Burge, The NIV Application Commentary of John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 392.

[2] Andreas J. Kostenberger, Encountering John. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1999), 159.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

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