01 Apr 2015

Holy Week 2015: The Vine and the Branches

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Wednesday, April 1
John 15:1-11

We no longer live in an agrarian culture.  We are not used to thinking about the details of trees and plants like Jesus’ disciples would have been.  In this section, Jesus tries to explain what the Christian life is like.  In the analogy, He captures the organic and dynamic nature of our relationship to Christ.  The Christian life is so much more than just reading and obeying.  It is a life that is uniquely connected to Christ through a spiritual bond which is hard to describe.

It’s easy for Christians to forget that their faith is relational.  We set up reading lists for our devotional lives and commit to praying regularly and living a particular lifestyle.  Pretty soon, Christianity is just the sum of those activities.  But, Jesus tells us that it is much more than that.  It is a dynamic relationship of constant interaction of fellowship (even when we don’t notice it), that empowers everything we do.

  1. Jesus describes Himself as the True Vine, the Father as the Vinedresser and believers as branches. What do those terms explain about each of our roles?
  2. How does each relate to the others?
  3. Read verses 1-10 carefully. What does it mean to abide?  Are you abiding in Christ?  How can you tell?
  4. What does “the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine” mean? Do you really believe that?
  5. In verse 8, we are told that God is glorified by the fruit we bear. Is Jesus teaching a works-centered salvation?
  6. How does the analogy of a vine and branches protect us from the moralistic or legalistic understanding of Christianity?
  7. According to verse 11, Jesus tells us these things that “your joy may be full.” How does this make our joy fuller?
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