The Review and Herald

905/1902

November 2, 1897

The Vine and the Branches

EGW

In his lessons, Christ did not aspire to high-flown, imaginary things. He came to teach, in the simplest manner, truths that were of vital importance, that even the class whom he called babes might understand them. And yet, in his simplest imagery, there was a depth and beauty that the most educated minds could not exhaust. RH November 2, 1897, par. 1

Christ drew his lessons from nature's vast resources, and by this means impressed upon the minds of his hearers truths that are as enduring as eternity. And when he was no longer with them, the precious lessons he had bound up with the things of nature were, through the Holy Spirit's working, revived in the memory of his followers. Every time they looked upon the things of nature around them, these repeated to them the lessons of their Lord. RH November 2, 1897, par. 2

The vine had often been used as a symbol of Israel; and the lesson Christ now gave his disciples was drawn from this. He might have used the graceful palm to represent himself. The lofty cedar that was towering toward the skies, or the strong oak that spreads its branches and lifts them heavenward, he might have used to represent the stability and integrity of those who are followers of Christ. But instead of this, he took the vine, with its clinging tendrils, to represent himself and his relation to his true believers. RH November 2, 1897, par. 3

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” RH November 2, 1897, par. 4

On the hills of Palestine our Heavenly Father planted a goodly Vine, and he himself was the Husbandman. It had no remarkable form that would at first sight give an impression of its value. It appeared to come up as a root out of a dry ground, and attracted but little attention. But when attention was called to the plant, it was by some declared to be of heavenly origin. The men of Nazareth stood entranced as they saw its beauty; but when they received the idea that it would stand more gracefully and attract more attention than themselves, they wrestled to uproot the precious plant, and cast it over the wall. The men of Jerusalem took the plant, and bruised it, and trampled it under their unholy feet. Their thought was to destroy it forever. But the heavenly Husbandman never lost sight of his plant. After men thought that they had killed it, he took it, and replanted it on the other side of the wall. He hid it from the view of men. RH November 2, 1897, par. 5

The branches of this Vine were seen by the world; but its stock was not visible. The dry, sapless branches chosen and grafted into this stock have represented the Vine. Fruit has been obtained from them; there has been a harvest that the passers-by have plucked; but the parent stock itself has been hidden from the rude assaults of men. RH November 2, 1897, par. 6

“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away,” said Christ; “and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Every fruitful branch is pruned, that it may bring forth more fruit. Even fruitful branches may display too much foliage, and appear what they really are not. The followers of Christ may be doing some work for the Master, and yet be doing not half what they might do. He then prunes them, because worldliness, self-indulgence, and pride are cropping out in their lives. The husbandmen clip off the surplus tendrils of the vines, thus making them more fruitful. The overgrowth must be cut away, to give room for the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness. RH November 2, 1897, par. 7

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” RH November 2, 1897, par. 8

This is no casual touch, no off-and-on connection. Every branch that bears fruit is a living representative of the vine; for it bears the same fruit as the vine. But unless it becomes united firmly to the vine stock, fiber by fiber and vein by vein; unless its channels are supplied with the nourishment it receives from the parent stock, the branch becomes a withered stalk, frail and weak, and produces no fruit. Every branch will show whether or not it has life; for where there is life, there is growth. There is a continual communication of the life-giving properties of the vine, and this is demonstrated by the fruit which the branches bear. RH November 2, 1897, par. 9

As the graft receives life when united to the vine, so the sinner partakes of the divine nature when in connection with Christ. Finite man is united with the infinite God. A vital connection with Christ is essential for spiritual life. The branch must become part of the living Vine. And there is a certainty in his words, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Christ is the source of all true strength. He reveals his grace to all true believers. He imparts to them his own merits in grace and goodness, that they may bear fruit unto holiness. All who are really in Christ will experience the benefit of this union. The Father accepts them in the Beloved, and they become the objects of his solicitude and tender care. This connection with Christ results in the purification of the heart, and in a circumspect life and faultless character. The fruit borne upon the Christian tree is “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” RH November 2, 1897, par. 10

“I am the vine, ye are the branches.” Christ would assure his disciples that they do not stand alone; but that just as the vine with its clinging tendrils climbs higher and higher on the trelliswork toward heaven, so may the true believer entwine his tendrils about God, and have support in Christ. He would have them bear in mind that the Father himself stands in exactly the same relation to his children as the Husbandman sustains to the Vine. RH November 2, 1897, par. 11

“He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” RH November 2, 1897, par. 12

The branch grafted into the living vine will testify if it has, fiber by fiber and vein by vein, become one with the parent stock. The life of the vine will become the life of the adopted sapling. Its sap vessels receive of the current flowing through the vine stock, and it will bear much fruit. RH November 2, 1897, par. 13

Christ is the True Vine; his disciples are the branches in that Vine, and they are one with him. He is the Root, the sustaining life of every believing soul. If his followers abide in him, they will bear his fruits. In union and communion with him, and under his molding influence, they will reveal his character. But the branch that seems to be connected with the Vine—the man who has the appearance of attachment and piety, whose name is registered in the books as a Christian, but who brings forth no fruit—will be separated from the Vine stock. This branch reveals itself to be worthless. After a time its ruin will be apparent. It will be as a branch that is dead, and its end is to be consumed with fire. RH November 2, 1897, par. 14