In John 15:1 Jesus says that He is the true vine.
We are going to look at the first part of that verse today.
“I am the true vine…”
The True Vine. When Jesus describes Himself as the vine, He calls Himself the “true” vine. By “true” He means, “genuine, real, authentic.” Those of you who know me well, know that I love grammar and parts of speech. I noticed that He uses the word the — to describe Himself. In sentences and speaking, we use the as a definite article when there is just one of something in that place. Here Jesus declares, I am “the” true vine, not “a” vine or one of the vines. But the True Vine.
Why does He say the “true” vine? What is happening in the culture? Who or what is being followed?
According to the NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, the word used here is Alethinos (al-ay-thee-nos’) Adjective
- Definition: real, true, genuine
- The opposite of what is imperfect, defective, frail, uncertain.
Who or what is the vine that was not true?
For Jesus to say it this way, Himself being “the” true vine…it must be in some type of contrast to something else that the disciples might have considered the true vine. What could that be?
Maybe following the Jewish law at the time or the many works and rituals that the Pharisees told people to follow. Looking forward in Galatians 2, we read about a dispute between Peter and Paul, it seems it is more likely to do with the thinking at that time, that a person is part of God’s family simply by being joined to the nation of Israel; by being of Jewish descent… Jesus says they need to be joined to Him. In the Old Covenant, the vine is the symbol of Israel as God’s covenant people. Jesus makes a new covenant. He is the true vine, the true Israel, of which all believers will grow from. He wants to make sure they understand that they need to stay connected to Him. To obey what He told them and to practice what they saw Him doing.
And it goes for us too…. As we can see all around us… the “world” certainly values other things, believing there are other ways to God, and allowing idols to fill our lives. Those worldly systems and beliefs contrast with who Jesus is saying He is. We need to be discerning. To follow Jesus, accept No substitute!
Jesus says in John 14:6, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I love this verse! Again, Jesus is using the definite article. The Way. The Truth. The Life. The Only One.
Question for us to ponder—Are there things in the world that look genuine to us, that look like the truth but they are false?