Page 17 - November 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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naan), the hedging (the law enforcing   Hebrew mind the imagery was familiar. The
        separation from the nations), and the   insertion of the word “true” in this phrase
        gathering out of the stones (casting out   may cause us to contrast this Vine with one
        the nations, Psa 80:8) were all designed   that was false, fake or fraudulent. But in real-
        to foster fruitfulness. Furthermore, the   ity, Israel wasn’t a false vine; they had failed.
        security of the watchtower (the warn-  His point was clear. Set in opposition to
        ings of the prophets) and the wine fat   Israel’s disobedience and idolatry, the True
        to extract the juice (the temple  in its   Vine would never fail to delight the Father!
        worship) provided no excuse for failure.   In a life marked by perfect submission
        Yet, the supple produce of moral righ-  to the will of the Father, we can quantify
        teousness and justice quickly morphed   the True Vine’s production from different
        into the wild grapes of oppression and   angles. On two occasions, God Himself an-
        cries of affliction. The fruit God received   nounced from above, “This is my beloved
        was not the pleasant-tasting product   Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mat 3:17).
        of a nation obeying and worshipping   The Lord Jesus was heard saying, “I do
        but the unsavory disappointment of a   always those things that please him” (Joh
        people rebelling against God’s law and   8:29), and the peak of Paul’s Christological
        offering Jehovah’s praise to idols. Israel   teaching extols One whose obedience to
        had failed in fruit bearing.        His Father led to the cross death (Php 2:8).
          This theme is repeated in a parable   Surely, this Vine accomplished its purpose.
        that the Lord Jesus told. There was no   The contrast is sharp, and the meaning is
        doubt that Israel and its leaders were   clear: the True Vine had now come. But the
        the objects of sharp rebuke when He   teaching doesn’t end there. While seeing
        tells of a husbandman whose attempts   Christ as the Vine is dispensational and
        to garner fruit were met with hostility   devotional, the thrust of the teaching only
        and murder (Mat 21:33-46; Mar 12:1-12;   begins at this point. In our next and final
        Luk 20:9-18). Israel confirmed their bar-  article, we will see how there are three dif-
        renness by rejecting the prophets sent to   ferent roles necessary in fruit bearing: the
        warn and instruct them. But they sealed   Vine (Christ), the Husbandman (the Father)
        their demise when they rejected the Son.  and the branches (believers). We will fol-
          As this leads us to our subject, we   low the Lord’s teaching as He emphasizes
        eavesdrop again on the Lord’s farewell   the life in Himself, the Father’s work in the
        teaching. He has already emphasized   vineyard and the importance of abiding in
        humility and holiness, but now He will   Him. Until then, the oft-sung hymn reminds
        convey spiritual lessons from horticul-  us of our theme:
        ture. Moving from the upper room, as      All His joy, His rest, His pleasure,
        they make their way toward Olivet, He       All His deep delight in Thee;
        says, “I AM the true vine.” Some won-     Lord, Thy heart alone can measure
        der if there had been a rogue vine en
        route to Gethsemane that the Lord was      What Thy Father found in Thee. 5
        using as an object lesson for this teach-  ⁴ Christ is the True Vine in the sense that He is the
        ing, but whether or not that is true, to the   ideal. See David Gooding, In the School of Christ
                                            (Coleraine, Northern Ireland: Myrtlefield House,
        ³ W.E. Vine, Collected Writings of W.E. Vine   2013), 130.
        (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1996).  ⁵ C. Anne Wellesley (1850–1910)

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