Vines were prevalent in the everyday lives of those who followed Jesus. They would have been familiar with the way throughout scripture God repeatedly used a vine as a symbol of His people. Literal grapevines were decorating the landscape of Israel. A large, golden vine adorned the front of the temple, and the vine was a recognized symbol of the Messiah.
In the early verses of John 15, where Jesus refers to Himself as the vine, we find a repeated word that translates most often in English as “abide” or “remain.” The Greek word we translate is “meno,” which means to continue to be present. It defines something lasting, something that endures. “Meno” signifies two things that stay together as one, unable to become another or different – an unbreakable connection with something else.
Jesus tells us to remain or abide in Him – the vine. Why? Because a constant connection with Him is what brings fruit from our lives. Fruit that starts inside our souls as love, joy, rest, and peace. Fruit that then moves to the outside as blessing, encouragement, and acts of service. The tremendously beneficial fruit we have the opportunity to experience and share with this world stem from only one thing – connection to Jesus the Vine.
When my first child was small, I remember one day sitting him up on the kitchen counter as I mixed ingredients for a batch of brownies. He loved to crack the egg and watch its gooey mess leave the shell and drop into the bowl. After we had added the egg and stirred the chocolatey batter together, he looked at me seriously and said, “Now, let’s get the egg back out and do it again.”
I laughed at him before I recognized his confusion. Then I carefully explained to him that once the egg combines with the brownie mix, there’s no way to get it back out. It’s impossible to separate those things when they are attached the way we had joined them together.
I want that egg-brownie attachment in my life with Jesus. I want to experience an inability to be separated from Him, a connection so deep that it’s impossible to tell where one ends, and the other begins. I want to belong to Him and for my relationship with Him to be evident in my words and actions every day. And while I do know I have that to some degree already, I still long to have it more.
Sometimes I hear people talking about finding their purpose in life, and hearing that sentiment always makes me pause. Because while I do believe that we all have unique things to offer based on our gifts and experiences, I don’t think we have to search for our purpose. We already know it. Connection with Jesus is our purpose, and anything we might be able to do or accomplish will be an extension of that fellowship. Remain in Me, He says, and I will remain in you.