Last week we looked at a pair of Old Testament writers who described Jesus as “the Branch.” Yet, when you look at Jesus’ own words, He says this about Himself:
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
So what gives? Am I a branch or is Jesus? If He is a Branch how can He be a Vine? Hilariously, Bible critics have argued the supposed discrepancy between Isaiah/Zechariah and Jesus’ words here proves the Bible is not an infallible book.
The answer comes when you look at the way the words are used. Isaiah and Zechariah used the word to describe a tree. Jesus is using the word to describe a vineyard that produces grapes. Jesus is the primary plant that coils around and produces branches that bear the fruit. Both descriptions (Isaiah’s/Jeremiah’s and Jesus’) are perfectly harmonious; in fact they are nearly identical. In both cases Jesus is the primary object (the tree, or “branch” and the “vine”). Christians are the offshoots of that primary object. We are the limbs on the tree, we are the branches on the vine.
Instead of getting caught up in the terminology and word choice, read the text and see the message being given: As the Lord says, without Him we can do nothing. We would be limbs without a Tree. We would be branches without a vine. We’d be adrift and hopeless.
Many have misapplied Jesus words: They argue in favor of man-made religious denominations, saying that Jesus is the vine and the denominations created by men are the branches.
Not so. I don’t need an organization of man between me and God. If man-made Churches are the branches, then where are the Christians? They will say “Christians are within the different Churches.” But that would mean Christians are separated, isolated from God the Vine by these denominations. That’s not God’s way.
God’s way is for Christ to be the Vine and for Christ’s people to be the branches. All of us one, all of us equally connected to Him. How are we connected to Him? Through salvation by being in HIS church, His called out body of saved people. All of His people belong to that one body, and thus all are united and together in Him, the vine.