September 21, 2014 -
"CHRIST THE TRUE VINE"
In one of the most tender of scenes in the Holy Scriptures, Jesus at the Mystical Supper gathered His Apostles about Him for a final farewell before His death. He called them “little children, and spoke to them at some length about vital matters for the future.
It was on this occasion that our Lord used the symbol of the vine to describe the relationship that should exist between Himself and His loyal followers:
“I am the true vine . . . .Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If a man does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and withers . . .” (John 15)
That is the profound spiritual lesson that the iconographer teaches in today’s unique icon. The majestic Figure of Christ occupies the central position; He is the vine. Around Him are the branches, His apostles, disciples, and followers, the fruit that results from the faithful teaching of the Gospel. Life flows from the Vine to the branches.
What a remarkable figure of speech our Lord utilizes to teach this lesson of relationship and attachment to Him! If we are to bear fruit, the living of a Christian life, then we are to abide in Him, and He in us!