The True Vine
O Lord God Almighty, how long will your anger smolder
against the prayers of your people? You have fed them with the
bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful...
Restore us, O God Almighty; make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.
—Psalm 80:4–5, 7
The vine starts with Abraham who believed the command of the Lord, and it was credited to him as righteousness. God promised that Abraham would be the father of many nations: “I will make you very fruitful” (Genesis 17:6).
His descendant Joseph, son of Jacob, son of Isaac, is sold into slavery in Egypt where his own descendants became slaves. Moses brings the vine out of Egypt, and Joshua plants that vine in the land promised. And David, anointed by God to be king of Israel, receives a new promise: “I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure” (Psalm 89:29). But the fruit of the promise does not become manifest for one thousand years: “In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David” (Luke 1:26–27).
So when Jesus says to His disciples on the eve of His crucifixion that He is the “true vine,” He is reaching all the way back to Abraham, as well as all the way forward to us. He is the very embodiment of the promise. He says, “I am the true vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit” (John 15:5).
—Eric Kampmann, Signposts