on John 15 :1
I am the true vine - Perhaps the vines which they met with, on their road from Bethany to Gethsemane, might have given rise to this discourse. Some of the disciples were probably making remarks on the different kinds of them, and our Lord took the opportunity of improving the conversation, according to his usual manner, to the instruction of their souls. He might here term himself the true vine, or vine of the right sort, in opposition to the wild and barren vine. Some MSS. and several of the fathers read the verse thus: I am the true vine, ye are the branches, and my Father is the husbandman. Some think that, as this discourse followed the celebration of the Eucharist, our Lord took occasion from the fruit of the vine, used in that ordinance, to introduce this similitude.
on John 15 :1
I am the true vine - Some have supposed that this discourse was delivered in the room where the Lord's Supper was instituted, and that, as they had made use of wine, Jesus took occasion from that to say that he was the true vine, and to intimate that his blood was the real wine that was to give strength to the soul. Others have supposed that it was delivered in the temple, the entrance to which was adorned with a golden vine (Josephus), and that Jesus took occasion thence to say that he was the true vine; but it is most probable that it was spoken while they were going from the paschal supper to the Mount of Olives. Whether it was suggested by the sight of vines by the way, or by the wine of which they had just partaken, cannot now be determined. The comparison was frequent among the Jews, for Palestine abounded in vineyards, and the illustration was very striking. Thus, the Jewish people are compared to a vine which God had planted, Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:8-16; Joel 1:7; Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 19:10. When Jesus says he was the true vine, perhaps allusion is had to Jeremiah 2:21. The word "true," here, is used in the sense of real, genuine. He really and truly gives what is emblematically represented by a vine. The point of the comparison or the meaning of the figure is this: A vine yields proper juice and nourishment to all the branches, whether these are large or small. All the nourishment of each branch and tendril passes through the main stalk, or the vine, that springs from the earth. So Jesus is the source of all real strength and grace to his disciples. He is their leader and teacher, and imparts to them, as they need, grace and strength to bear the fruits of holiness.
And my Father is the husbandman - The word "vine-dresser" more properly expresses the sense of the original word than husbandman. It means one who has the care of a vineyard; whose office it is to nurture, trim, and defend the vine, and who of course feels a deep interest in its growth and welfare. See the notes at Matthew 21:33. The figure means that God gave, or appointed his Son to be, the source of blessings to man; that all grace descends through him; and that God takes care of all the branches of this vine - that is, of all who are by faith united to the Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus and all his church he feels the deepest interest, and it is an object of great solicitude that his church should receive these blessings and bear much fruit.
on John 15 :1
15:1 I am the true vine - So the true bread, John 6:32; that is, the most excellent.