Jesus proclaimed Himself the true Vine, implying the existence of a false vine. The Israelite people have traditionally been symbolized by the vine (e.g. Ps 80:9). Therefore, when Jesus called Himself "the true Vine," the Israelites may have taken Jesus to mean that He was the true Israelite (see Jn 1:47) and those who did not follow Him were false Israelites (see Rm 2:29). These were "fighting words," if they weren't "converting words." The Israelites would either have to abandon themselves to Jesus as the Fulfillment of Judaism and the Founder of the new Israel, or they would have to kill Jesus. Both of these possibilities occurred. Some followed Him and some killed Him. Likewise, if we don't convert in response to Jesus' words, we will take His words as an insult.
Jesus is the same today and forever as He was yesterday (Heb 13:8). Jesus seems to be forever challenging us. His words will come across as insults if we don't come across to Him as repentant. What will we do? Will we tremble at His words (Is 66:2) or write Him off? Will we let Him prune us with the knife of His word (Jn 15:2-3) or will we try to kill Him and His preachers? (see Acts 9:29) Let Jesus cut you so He can change and heal you.
Prayer: Jesus, tell me where You're true and I'm false.
Promise: "Little children, let us love in deed and in truth and not merely talk about it." —1 Jn 3:18
Praise: Alleluia! "This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it" (Ps 118:24). Jesus is risen!
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 9, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 15, 1996
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