How Can Jesus’ Statement 'I Am the Vine' Change Your Life Today?

By calling himself a vine, Jesus reveals important truths about himself. Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 19, 2024
How Can Jesus’ Statement 'I Am the Vine' Change Your Life Today?

“I am the Vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5

Confession time: My wife and I enjoy the occasional glass of wine. Usually, this is on Sunday evenings after a nice meal. So, for her birthday a few years ago, I decided to take her to her favorite winery. We had a tour of the vineyard and talked with the winemakers. We even walked amongst the vines. It was a lovely trip. 

During one of our tours, we learned that the branches closest to the vine were the healthiest on the trellis. This makes sense given that these branches were connected to the source of life; they received the flow of nutrients that moved from the vine.  The strength of the branch came from a connection to the vine, and it was this connection alone that fostered the growth of grapes. Our tour guide explained it “The branch has only one job, to remain connected to the vine. It’s the vine that does all the work.”

In one of his famous “I am” statements, Jesus takes up that image of vine, branch, and grape and applies it to our spiritual lives. “I am the vine, you are the branches,’ he says, “if anyone would remain in me, they will bear much fruit.” By employing this image, Jesus calls the disciples to remain connected to him, just as a branch is to be connected to the vine. Have you ever wondered by Jesus used this image? Did Jesus call himself a vine simply because it was a popular image of the day? Was there a deeper message? 

By calling himself a vine, Jesus reveals important truths about himself. Jesus not only discloses his identity as Lord, but he also reveals the truth of his salvific mission. Thus, the language of the vine speaks directly to our call to see Jesus as the source of our life and our salvation.

Jesus is the source of life.

Every gardener, vinedresser, and winemaker, whether professional or amateur, knows that the most important element for growing grapes is the vine. The vine contains the life of the grape, carries the nutrients, and provides what the branch needs to produce fruit. The fundamental question for any branch in a vineyard is, “Am I connected to the vine?" 

Without a connection to the vine, a branch cannot function in the vineyard.  It’s not enough to simply be close to the vine. A branch cannot be vine-adjacent; nor can it ever say, “I know about the vine” or “I’ve looked upon the vine once or twice.” The farther away from the vine a branch is, the less healthy it becomes. This same truth applies to our spiritual lives. The farther we are from Jesus, the less spiritually healthy we are.

When my wife and I were walking amongst the vines, we saw many branches. Some were rooted tightly in the vine and showed evidence of health and vitality.  Some branches were connected to the vine via other branches. But then there were the branches on the ground, cut off from the vine itself. At times, these branches were in closer proximity to the vine itself, lying just beside the trunk, Yet these branches had no life within them. They were removed from the source of life. 

We are to be connected to Jesus because he is the source of our spiritual life and health. We are not simply to believe in him, read about him, or think upon him; we are to live in him. Our lives are to be intertwined with his, just as a branch is intertwined with the vine. Jesus calls us to, “Abide in me, and I in you”, (John 15:4). When our lives are tied to his, Jesus provides vitality to our souls. Jesus is the true vine because he provides life. “I have come that you may have life, and life in all fullness”, Jesus declares (John 10:10).

Jesus acts through us.

When we are connected to Jesus, his life, flowing through us, provides what we need to bear fruit., Jesus says plainly, “If you abide in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5).  Furthermore, the fruit of Christian life is to be “fruit that will last” (John 15;16).  Fruit points to our abiding relationship with him who is the true vine.  

Importantly, Jesus doesn’t disclose what fruit the disciples will produce. Even though he tells them that the Father is glorified when they “bear much fruit” (John 15:8), he leaves the nature of their fruit entirely undefined. The reason for this ambiguity is simple: the fruit of Christian life is not meant to testify to our prowess or ability. We focus not on ourselves, but on the power of God working in us and through us. Remember, the branch has one job, to be connected to the vine.

If Christian fruit were just about the actions that we create ourselves, then we would be putting branches before the vine. It would be akin to saying that the branch can produce fruit independently from any connection to the vine. But this is not how vineyards function. Grapes are never produced by the branch’s own self-effort. No branch can ever try harder to produce a grape, or simply will the fruit into existence. Rather, grapes are produced by the activity of the vine alone. It is the vine that provides what is needed for the grape to come into existence. In fact, grapes themselves are called “the fruit of the vine”, not the fruit of the branch. Grapes bear witness to the vine and vine alone. 

In a similar way, our lives are to reflect Christ’s presence and power.  Jesus says, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine” (John 15:4). Apart from our connection to Jesus, our spiritual lives lack the health, vitality, and soul-deep satisfaction that Jesus longs for us. What is more, the fruit of our lives, whether we see that as the acts of ministry or the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:5), points to Jesus’ activity in us. 

Jesus desires to move in our lives and show his presence through us. Our ministry activities are but manifestations of his presence and power.  By calling himself the vine, therefore, Jesus is telling the disciples that he desires to manifest his power through their lives.

Jesus pours out his life.

The image of Jesus as the vine and we as the branches is popular among Christians today. Yet because of its popularity, we can easily miss the wider context of this statement. We tend to see this passage in isolation, disconnected from its surrounding context. When we do this, however, we may fail to realize that Jesus says these words in the context of the Last Supper.  

On the night of his betrayal, Jesus shares the Passover meal with the disciples.  Many things occur in this evening, all of which are highly meaningful and highly symbolic.  Jesus washes the disciples’ feet; he gives them bread and wine with the words, “This is my body, this is my blood” (Matthew 26:26-28). The scene is familiar to us all.  

It is significant that Jesus says this in the context of the Last Supper, just prior to his crucifixion, as the ancient world often referred to wine as “the blood of the vine.” Wine, therefore, wasn’t just a fermented drink, it was understood to be the life of the vine poured out. 

In this way, the language of “vine” points to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Just as the vine “bleeds,” so too would Jesus bleed for his disciples. It is this act alone that reveals his Lordship and testifies to him being the “true vine.” 

Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Czapp Árpád

SWN authorThe Reverend Dr. Kyle Norman is the Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada.  He holds a doctorate in Spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writing can be found at,, Renovare Canada, and many others.  He also maintains his own blog  He has 20 years of pastoral experience, and his ministry focuses on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.

Christianity / PLUS / How Can Jesus’ Statement 'I Am the Vine' Change Your Life Today?