I am The Vine, Ye Are The Branches--John 15:5
In the previous verse Christ had
just said: "Abide in me." He had then announced the
great unalterable law of all branch-life, on earth or in Heaven:
"not of itself"; "except it abide." In the
opening words of the parable He had already spoken: "I am
the vine." He now repeats the words. He would have us understand--note
well the lesson, simple as it appears, it is the key of the abiding
life--that the only way to obey the command, "Abide in me,"
is to have eye and heart fixed upon Himself. "Abide in me...I
am the true vine." Yea, study this holy mystery until you
see Christ as the true Vine, bearing, strengthening, supplying,
inspiring all His branches, being and doing in each branch
all it needs, and the abiding will come of itself. Yes, gaze
upon Him as the true Vine, until you feel what a heavenly Mystery
it is, and are compelled to ask the Father to reveal it to you
by His Holy Spirit. He to whom God reveals the glory of the true
Vine, he who sees what Jesus is and waits to do every moment,
he cannot but abide. The vision of Christ is an irresistible attraction;
it draws and holds us like a magnet. Listen ever to the living
Christ still speaking to you, and waiting to show you the meaning
and power of His Word: "I am the vine."
How much weary labor there has been
in striving to understand what abiding is, how much fruitless
effort in trying to attain it! Why was this? Because the attention
was turned to the abiding as a work we have to do, instead of
the living Christ, in whom we were to be kept abiding, who Himself
was to hold and keep us. we thought of abiding as a continual
strain and effort--we forget that it means rest from effort to
one who has found the place of his abode. Do notice how Christ
said, "Abide in Me; I am the Vine that brings forth, and
holds, and strengthens, and makes fruitful the branches. Abide
in Me, rest in Me, and let Me do My work. I am the true Vine,
all I am, and speak, and do is divine truth, giving the actual
reality of what is said. I am the Vine, only consent and yield
thy all to Me, I will do all in thee."
And so it sometimes comes that souls
who have never been specially occupied with the thought of abiding,
are abiding all the time, because they are occupied with Christ.
Not that the word abide is not needful; Christ used it
so often, because it is the very key to the Christian life. But
He would have us understand it in its true sense--"Come out
of every other place, and every other trust and occupation, come
out of self with its reasonings and efforts, come and rest in
what I shall do. Live out of thyself; abide in Me. Know that thou
art in Me; thou needest no more; remain there in Me."
"I am the Vine." Christ
did not keep this mystery hidden from His disciples. He revealed
it, first in words here, then in power when the Holy Spirit came
down. He will reveal it to us too, first in the thoughts and confessions
and desires these words awaken, then in power by the Spirit. Do
let us wait on Him to show us all the heavenly meaning of the
mystery. Let each day, in our quiet time, in the inner chamber
with Him and His Word, our chief thought and aim be to get the
heart fixed on Him, in the assurance: all that a vine ever can
do for its branches, my Lord Jesus will do, is doing, for me.
Give Him time, give Him your ear, that He may whisper and explain
the divine secret: "I am the vine."
Above all, remember, Christ is the
Vine of God's planting, and you are a branch of God's grafting.
Ever stand before God, in Christ; ever wait for all grace from
God, in Christ; ever yield yourself to bear the more fruit the
Husbandman asks, in Christ. And pray much for the revelation of
the mystery that all the love and power of God that rested on
Christ is working in you too. "I am God's Vine," Jesus
says; "all I am I have from Him; all I am is for you; God
will work it in you."
I am the Vine. Blessed Lord,
speak Thou that word into my soul. Then shall I know that all
Thy fullness is for me. And that I can count upon Thee to stream
it into me, and that my abiding is so easy and so sure when I
forget and lose myself in the adoring faith that the Vine holds
the branch and supplies its every need.
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