Jesus–He was a Master Teacher who used many wonderful metaphors to depict who He was. Being a gardener, I particularly love His vine analogy (John 15).
But what does “I am the Vine, you are the branches” really mean? (v 5)
To understand, we need to learn more about grafting. Even though I like to play in the dirt, I had never grafted anything. So as I was writing my book, The Master’s Garden: An Allegory of Abiding in the Vine, I did some research. What I found out blew my mind!
Grafting is a technique used by gardeners to make a unique plant from two separate ones. Once joined they are to function as a single plant. [Now I may get a little technical below, but please stay with me. I promise it will be worth it!]
One of the plants provides the lower trunk and root system; called the rootstock. The other plant provides the upper portion (stems, leaves, flowers and fruit) and is called the scion. Both are chosen for a certain set of characteristics. For example, the rootstock might be selected because of its greater resistance to disease or better tolerance to drought. The scion may be selected for its ability to produce more fruit or flowers.
For successful grafting to take place, the vascular cambium tissues (like the blood circulatory system of animals) of the rootstock and scion plants must be placed in contact with each other.
As the tissues grow, a bridge is formed that allows the circulatory system of the rootstock and scion to be joined together. That means the roots of the stock can provide water and minerals to the scion, and the scion can produce food in its leaves and send it down to the roots of the stock. This creates a single functioning plant composed of two genetically different parts.
The better the connection between the two plants, the better the flow of water and nutrients.
You don’t have to be a horticulturalist to understand the implications of this beautiful analogy of our union with Christ!
First, understand that the term Christ the Vine is not referring only to the top part of a climbing grapevine. Christ is the Rootstock unto which believers are embedded.
In grafting, a wound must be made on the rootstock into which the scion is inserted. Father God, the Gardener, is the One who makes the cut and does the grafting. Christ willingly allowed Himself to be crucified [cut] (Is 53:5) in order that any person who believes in His death and resurrection could be grafted unto Him; could be joined or united with His life—His eternal life.
Those who want this eternal life are in essence saying they are willing to have their roots (i.e. their way of living) cut off. They are willing to live through Christ’s roots (God’s way of living).
The Gardener is the One who grafts us/inserts us into Christ. We cannot do this ourselves (i.e. save ourselves). We cannot access the life-giving roots without the Gardener grafting us in, the Vine being willing, and the Holy Spirit enabling the flow of His life into our system.
He died for all, so that all those who live would no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and was raised for their sake…. Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]…. (2 Cor 5:15, 17 AMP)
Once joined we are to function as a single unit. We are one with Christ!
And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. (Rom 7:4 NLT)
For in him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28 NIV)
So until next time, my friends, ponder the wonders of this rich metaphor and ask the Gardener to help you truly understand what Jesus meant when He said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches.”
For a deeper understanding, read The Master’s Garden and find out what it means to be grafted unto the Christ the Vine and abide in Him from a plant’s point of view! Now with a companion devotional as well.
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