Jesus uses the illustration of a vine and its branches to show the relationship which His disciples have with Him. If we picture a grape vine or a tomato plant (which many of us plant every year), they are designed alike. The branches are the part of the plant which bear the fruit whether grapes or tomatoes. And the branches grow out from the main vine or “trunk” of the plant. The branches receive their nourishment from the main part of the plant. If the branch is broken off from that main part, it dies and cannot bear fruit.
Many spiritual truths can be drawn from this illustration, but the one we wish to look at here is from Jesus’ words, “...apart from Me you can do nothing.” The branch is totally dependent upon the vine for life itself and for fruit bearing. Disciples are totally dependent upon Jesus the Vine for life and for bearing fruit for Him.
When Jesus makes this statement, He is not doing so with a great sigh as if to say, “You miserable humans are so inadequate that you must depend upon Me for everything.” On the contrary, He is sharing an eternal truth which tells the relationship of mankind with its Creator since the Garden of Eden. God has ever been the sustaining power for the human race whether for physical life or for spiritual well-being. That’s simply the way things are and must be for “...He...upholds all things by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:3)
The problem comes, however, when we humans ignore our designed dependence upon God and try to live our lives without Him. The world sucks us into its mire, and we get so totally consumed in everyday affairs that we even lose sight of what this life is all about. We are cut off from our Life and cease to bear fruit for Him.
Every man and woman needs to learn that being dependent upon God is a good thing and that the desire for independence from our Creator and Savior is a death wish. Being dependent upon God is humbling (that’s a good thing, too!), and it also gives us two more blessings: the peace and joy in knowing that our Lord is providing for our every need, and the power to bear fruit for His glory.
Be diligent to stay attached to the Vine.