This is one of the most famous passages in the Gospels in which Jesus shows us a beautiful illustration of our relationship with God.
Here he calls himself the vine. In the Old Testament, Israel was referred to as a vine. They were to bear fruit for God so that the nations would see them, and be drawn to God. But through their disobedience they bore only bad fruit, and as a result, God brought judgment upon them. (Isaiah 5:1-7, Jeremiah 2:21)
So now Jesus doesn’t just call himself the vine, but the “true” vine. A vine whose fruit would not only draw people to God, but save them.
And Jesus tells us we are the branches to the vine. He tells us in verse 16,
I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. (16)
What does it mean to bear fruit? I think the first thing it means is the fruit of a changed life. Paul, after talking about the kind of sinful life life we once lived, tells us,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
In other words, if we are Christians, it should be evidenced in our lives. Our lives should be different from what they once were.
And as our lives change, we’ll see fruit in that we’ll start to make an impact on the people around us. People will see God himself in us, be drawn to him, and be saved.
That’s what God originally intended for Israel, and that’s what God intends for us now. Peter puts it this way,
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)
You were chosen to be fruitful. Are you?