I AM Paper BIBL 323 B08

Submitted By courtoni20
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Christ the “True” Vine

BIBL 323

One of the most significant concepts found in the Gospel of John is a series of declarations by Jesus which aligned Him with God of the Old Testament. These sayings would separate Him from the rest of humanity in the eyes of the Jews and cause immediate division between Him and the rest of society proper. They centered on the concept of Moses hearing the name of God from the burning bush simply as I AM; Jesus utilizes this statement a number of times as noted by John with application directly to Himself. “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”1 There is not a more gratifying and confidence boosting verse to the believer than this from our savior. “One cannot read the New Testament without realizing the tremendous importance early Christians placed on the fact that they were in Christ and Christ was in them.”2
“John 13-16 is generally referred to as “the Upper Room Discourse.”” 3Jesus chooses to utilize an analogy that any Jew would have been very familiar with; one which would immediately take them back to the many times in the Old Testament that they were referred to as the Vine. Jesus is giving this analogy during what has been termed His farewell discourse. “Christ is with His disciples for the last time before His crucifixion. Here He expresses His love for them and explains something of what they will face in the future.”4 At this point in the discourse, Jesus had already shown the Disciples that He had come to serve by washing their feet; which “seems to refer to spiritual purity rather than physical cleanliness.”5 Judas Iscariot had been sent out from them to accomplish his premeditated plan to hand Jesus over to the Jewish leadership. John accounts, “so when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.”6 At this point, the discourse turns much more intimate with the departure of Judas. Jesus begins to tell the reaming eleven disciples that He will be departing and reassuring them in His deity. When answering Phillips request to show them the Father, “Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”7
“The two Testaments exhibit a strong continuity, but also a discontinuity. Many Old Testament institutions and themes are radically reinterpreted in the New Testament, often in ways –despite their foreshadowing—that the majority of the New Testament times were unable to discern. Jesus subordinated many of the central symbols of Judaism to Himself, and the New Testament writers continued that subordination.”8 The idea of the vine relates back to a number of instances found in the Old Testament. “In the Old Testament, the vine is often a symbol of Israel, sometimes of degenerate Israel. For example, in Jeremiah we read, “I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine? (Jer. 2:21). We should see Jesus claim to be the “true “vine against such a background.”9 Likewise as found in Isiah chapter 5, he is making a diagnosis of Judah’s spiritual decline which concludes with an unsparing assertion of his generation’s apostasy and its consequences. What a beautiful picture Isaiah paints as he describes the manner in which God had made the ground perfect for growth, and defended Israel impeccably, causing…