5th Sunday Easter – Abiding In the True Vine (1)
What a rich proclamation: Jesus is the True Vine [otherwise rendered the Faithful Vine or the Holy Vine by the NRSV]. Jesus identifies himself as the New Israel.
John 15:1–2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.
Isaiah 5:1-5 tells a parable of God transplanting Israel from Egypt into the New Land. Didn’t go so well: “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes [vines], why did it yield wild grapes [vines]?”
In Jeremiah 2:21f, the prophet speaks for God, saying, “Yet I planted you as a choice vine, from the purest stock. How then did you turn degenerate and become a wild vine? Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, says the Lord God…”
Jesus invites all disciples to abide in him as the branch is one with the whole vine. Abiding “changes everything.” It’s how branches bear fruit and not wild fruit.
The Father removes every branch that bears no fruit. What does that look like? Well, God removes sin, paralysis, death, blindness, & idolatry – by abiding in Jesus who abides in the Father. Whew!
John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
John 5:8–12 Jesus said to him, “Stand up, take your mat and walk.” At once the man was made well, and he took up his mat and began to walk. Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been cured, “It is the sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” But he answered them, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’ ”
John 11:39–41 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked [lifted up his eyes] upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me.
Genesis 35:1–3 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and settle there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your clothes; then come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”
Give a listen!