7 “I AM” Statements of Jesus
I AM the True Vine
Because of rebellion, and the subsequent curse on all of creation, mankind is separated from God and death is the result.
Jesus came to reconcile image bearers back to God, abolish death for those who will repent and believe, and sustain them with life.
But Jesus has just told his disciples that he is going away. How is Jesus going to sustain his people if he is gone?
Jesus comforts them with the promise of the Holy Spirit who:
- Is Another Helper (“allos parakletos” …another of the same kind who will counsel).
- Is the Spirit of truth.
- Will Dwell with you.
- Will be in you.
- (I = Jesus = Holy Spirit) Will come to you (note the personal pronoun switch from “he” to “I”)
- Will love his people and manifest himself to his people
- Evidences that Father will love them, and Father, Son and Spirit will come to them and make their home with them
- Will teach his people all things and bring remembrance of all that Jesus has said
Now, this promise of the Spirit brings some measure of comfort for these folks as they are about to experience some very painful days.
Jesus is going to give his disciples an illustration to describe this new relational experience they are about to engage in with Holy Spirit, who is Jesus with and in them.
What is that illustration? What can we learn from it?
Vine and Branches
What do we see? What does it mean?
In the Old Testament there are numerous passages that illustrate Israel as a vine, and seem to regard Israel as a faithless, lifeless and fruitless vine. (Ps. 80:8-16; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15; Ezekiel 19:10; Hosea 10:1)
Jesus, with these passages as his reference, refers to himself as the “True Vine.”
- Life is not found in national identity John 15
If Israel was a faithless and fruitless vine, then the disciples are not going to find life in their national identity.
- Jesus is the source of life John 15:1a; 1:4
- Fruitfulness is essential in the Christian life John 15:2
- Fruitless people are purged by the Father who is the vinedresser John 15:1b-2; 15:6
Matthew 13:24-30 The Parable of the Weeds
- Fruitful people are pruned, and pruning is what a loving Father does for his people to make them more fruitful John 15:2b; John 15:3; Hebrews 12:3-8; Hebrews 12:11
- Fruitfulness is not the result of human achievement…it is the result of abiding in Jesus John 15:4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10
Principles of Abiding:
- No abiding…no kingdom fruit. 15:4
- Abiding in Jesus produces much fruit, and much fruit glorifies God and is proof that one follows Jesus. 15:5, 8
- Not abiding means not Christian. 15:6
- John 10:28-29 One does not loose what they never had.
- There are weeds among the wheat, Jesus said.
- Abiding in Jesus, and loving his word then provides a blank check to be written and cashed for holy desires. 15:7; Psalm 37:4
- Prayer is a direct line to the General to get supplies for the battle without hindrance or interference for all necessary to win the battle. “It is not an intercom to ring up the maid for another pillow.” – Piper
- Abiding is also an invitation to know love for real. John 15:9
- Abiding in Jesus and producing kingdom fruit is joyful John 15:11
How do we obey?
We call this life of abiding the Radical Life.
- Up – Love God/Communion with God
- Connecting with God as Father and us as sons/daughters not slaves
- Take God’s word into your soul “…if my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish…”
- Hear and obey
- Trust Jesus for tomorrow! Invest in the eternal. Trust the seasons of the Vine.
- Prayer as our most tangible ministry strategy to achieve the mission because mission and prayer go together…actually talking with God and getting instruction from God…in the moment!
- In – Love each other/Community in Covenant
- Connecting to each other as family practicing the gifts (not teacher centric)
- Loving one another (John 15:12)
- Out – Produce fruit/Collide with the Culture
- Tame your domain and make disciples
- Exercise the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:17-20)
- Take on your Spirit given role as a kingdom ambassador
- Keep Jesus’ commandments. John 15:10, 12
- Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Receive the appointment to go and bear fruit so that you can have a fruitful prayer life. John 15:16-17
Note how Jesus says this: We are given a mission so we can have a fruitful prayer life. We are not given prayer to have a fruitful mission!