"I am the vine, ye are the branches" (John 15:5)
In the previous verse, Christ said, "Abide in Me." He 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 has already spoken, "I am the true vine." He now repeat the words. He wants us to understand - note well the lesson, simple as it appears, it is the key to the abiding life - that the only way to obey the command, "Abide in me," is to have our eyes and hearts fixed on Him.
"Abide in Me ... I am the true vine." Yes, study this holy mystery until you see Christ as the true Vine, bearing, strengthening, supplying, and inspiring all His branches. He will be and do in each branch all that 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 -can do nothing but abide. The vision of Christ is an irresistible attraction; it draws and hold us like a magnet. Listen continually to the living Christ still speak to you, and waiting to show you the meaning and power of His Word: "I am the vine."
How much weary labor is involved in striving to understand what abiding is! How much fruitless effort goes along with trying to attain it! Why is this? Because the attention is turned to the abiding as a work we have to do, instead of the living Christ, in whom we have to abide. He is Himself to hold and keep us. We thing 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 you all to Me. I will do all in you."
And sometimes it happens that souls who have never been especially occupied with the thought of abiding, abide all the time, because they are occupied with Christ. Not that the word "abide" is not important. Christ used it so often because it is the very key to the Christian life. But He wants us to understand it in its true sense. "Come out of every other place, and every other trust and occupation., come out of self with its reasoning and efforts, come and rest in what I will do. Live out of yourself; abide in Me. Know that you are in Me; you need 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 our chief thought and aim each day in our quiet time - in the inner chamber with Him and His Word - be to get the heart fixed on Him. Let us be assured hat all a vine can ever 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. Stand always before God, in Christ - waiting for all grace from God, in Christ. Yielding 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 which 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 that word into my soul. Then, I will know that all Your fullness is for me. And, I can count on You to stream it into me. 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. Amen