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   “I am the vine; you are the branches.”

–John 15:5

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   Why be direct when you can use metaphor?

   Often the best way to teach.

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For more use the DOOR.

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   Jesus’ parable of the vine runs from the beginning of chapter 15 to v. 17, starting with “I am the true vine…” and ending with “This is my command: Love each other.”  Though this is a parable, and metaphoric, it is a metaphor, unlike most other parables, where Jesus clearly explains what the parts of the account stand for.

   Several observations about an early morning encounter with this:

   (1) Here are the identified “parts”:

   vine = Jesus

   the gardener = God the Father

   good branches, who remain on the vine that bear fruit = believers who stay connected with Jesus and obey God the Father’s commands¹

   bad branches that bear no fruit = “believers” who don’t stay connected to Jesus and do not obey God the Father’s commands

   (2) God the Father’s specific commands, except for love, are not mentioned.

   (3) Jesus commands believers to remain² in Him.

   (4) The Father has loved Jesus (v9).

   (5) Jesus commands to love others. (From v. 12 “Love each other as I have loved you.” and again at v. 17)

   (6) The greatest love we can express (for others) is to die for them. v.13

   (7) Jesus calls believers “friends,” not servants (some versions say “slaves”), something is special in this connection. v.14.

   (8) Jesus chose those who are following Him. (v.16)

   (9) Jesus will give us what we ask for. (v.17)

  (10) Jesus and the Father are intimately connected.³

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  ¹ “Commands”? From the Father. The only specific commands (other than “love”) come from the Old Testament. No New Testament exists yet.

  ² “Remain” in Him. We are not going to be ripped away from God. But “remaining” in Him is something we should never forget in our daily living.

  ³ We are in the “middle” of series of chapters, that by the use of metaphor explain who (and what) God is. The gardener/vine image here illustrates the Father/Son presentation on the nature of God–one God. At the end of Chapter 15 Jesus introduces the “Counselor” who represents the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the One-God who exists and is real, but difficult to comprehend is a world limited by only 4 explainable dimensions. Metaphor is not only a way to let listeners or readers discover (a-hah!) the meaning of personal obedience in specific behaviors, but in conceptualizing the multifaceted nature of a mighty powerful, loving,  and forgiving God.