Abiding in the Vine



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

John 15:4–5, 9

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. ‘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.’” . . . 

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”


Every morning my wife, without fail, finds her way into our family room. As I hear the door quietly shut behind her, I know what she is about to do. She is about to sit at the feet of the Lord of Union and Love, Jesus, just as Mary did (Luke 10:39). My wife goes into that place of meeting for one reason—to strengthen her abiding in Jesus as the day begins.

As we sit at the feet of Jesus in the Gospel of John, we can see that Jesus is a master teacher. He rarely draws on metaphors that have only one meaning, or only make sense in his time and place. He is often drawing on imagery that would have been penetrating to his audience, faithful Jews, who knew their Old Testament inside and out.

The image of the vine and the branches is one of those images. In Psalm 80:7–11, the people of Israel are described as a vine, planted by God. In Isaiah 5:1–7, Israel is described as a vine that has produced grapes unfit for eating. In Jewish thought, Israel is thought to be the vine, and the vineyard, of God. 

Then, the Lord of Union and Love comes on the scene. 

“I am the vine,” Jesus says. His disciples pause. He is saying that he is the true Israel. He will carry God’s desires to fulfillment through loving obedience where Israel had failed. He is simultaneously saying something very personal to his followers—that if his disciples abide in him, live in him, stay in him, and remain connected to him as their source of life, they will bear good, sweet, and lasting fruit.

Then Jesus goes on in verse 9 to add, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” 

In union with Jesus, dwelling in the vine of his person and presence, we experience the fullness of love. Making our home in Christ, and having Christ make his home in us, is both life-giving and love-renewing. Jesus is communicating to his followers the importance of staying connected to him, like a branch living in symbiotic harmony with the vine from which it springs. 

There are a few insights here for us. A branch is of the same plant as the vine. They are one. A branch is connected to, and is an expression of, the vine. The vine and branch participate in a shared life. A branch is fully integrated into the vine as its source of life, renewal, and replenishment. A branch of a grapevine bears fruit that is of the same ilk as the vine. They share the same DNA. The vine and the branch are intimately and purposefully joined.

And if a branch, heaven forbid (and I mean that), ever decides it can live apart from its vine—we know how that story ends. A branch disconnected from a source of life withers, becomes brittle, and eventually dies.

In John 15:4–5, the word translated “remain” or “abide”—meno—is a word that also means “stay.” 

Jesus is saying, “Stay in me. We are connected; you are not designed to live apart from my presence and love.” We as human beings can resist all we want; health waits on the other side of staying, remaining, and abiding in the source of Jesus. And when times get hard, and we want to look to other sources for love, for affirmation, for encouragement, for salvation—Jesus says, “Stay.”

My wife is moved to pray each morning because she must. She knows the challenges that may come that day. She is praying to abide; she is abiding so she can remain present to the love of Jesus. “Prayer, or as Jesus called it, ‘abiding,’ can no longer mean speaking words to a deity somewhere out there. It must mean walking and talking with the God who is both transcendently present ‘at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,’ and imminently by our side, closer than our breath. Indeed, this is pure mystery and yet it is the ultimate and immediate reality.”1

Staying in Christ, not moving from him, is a state of the heart renewed by consistent prayer, by worship, and by lingering in God’s Word and God’s presence. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love,” means that we have the privilege of participating—fully—in the shared life between the Father and the Son, by the Holy Spirit.

Stay in Jesus. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love” goes the old hymn. Stay in union with him—do whatever it takes. Your source will never fail you.


Lord Jesus, I am in you and you are in me. There is no other source for me that matches my need; if I am a branch of the vine, then I choose to remain in you, daily, to draw my strength from you as my source. I choose to stay where I will thrive most in love—in intimate relationship with you. In Christ Jesus, I pray, amen.


How are you doing at staying, remaining, in Jesus as your source of life and growth? What could you do to stay in him as the pressures of life seek to separate you?

For the Awakening,
Dan Wilt 


  1. J. D. Walt, Right Here Right Now, Jesus: Moving from a Prayer Life to a Life of Prayer (Franklin: Seedbed Publishing, 2019), 44–45.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

2 Responses

  1. I can totally identify with your wife’s daily routine, it’s the same as mine. As an avid gardener, I totally get the deeper understanding of Jesus’s teaching about the grape vine. Apart from Jesus, fruit production is not only is impossible, we would immediately experience spiritual death. I believe that if the Father is the Gardener, and Jesus is the Vine, then the Holy is the Sap (grace) that flows into the branches that enables them to produce an abundant harvest.

  2. We’re prone to stray
    And drift away
    From Jesus Christ.
    Choose to stay
    Conscious of Christ
    Throughout each day
    Always aware
    Of His presence
    And His power
    Along the way.

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