Zechariah 3:8, 6:12-13; John 15:1-8
“Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch.” – Zechariah 3:8
“And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne,and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”‘ – Zechariah 6:12-13
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” – John 15:5-8
Zechariah prophesies of a person, called the Branch, who is simultaneously a servant and a king. Like a branch he spreads…building, ruling and also mediating it seems (as a priest also is said to share His throne). Jesus is this Branch. Yet Jesus, in one of his final teachings to us, calls us the branches. Jesus is the Branch yet He calls us the branches.
So who then is the branch? if we look at this same teaching of Jesus He calls Himself the Vine. yet this metaphor of a vine too had also been used in the tenach (old testament) scriptures (from the psalms as well as the prophets)…to refer to His people. Jesus has inverted the ot metaphors. in the prophesies He is the Branch yet in His teaching we are the branches; in the prophecies we are the vine but in His teaching He is the true Vine.
So which is actually which? Jesus in this teaching brings together the metaphor of the branch and the vine, illuminating their connection….their relationship. in some ways He and we are both the vine and the branches. i think this interchange and blending of metaphors points to the fact that we MUST be that interconnected to Jesus…so connected that we must not only abide, or remain, with Him…we must “abide in” Him. however, their is a critical distinction between Jesus and us…He is the true source…He is The branch we are only branches…He is the True Vine and we the vine. even when we are the branches, He is the servant-king Branch from which we all spread. Even when we are the vine, He is the True Vine who actually lives righteously and justly. without Him, “apart from” Him, we can “do nothing.”
so how can we live “in Him? at the very least it starts with getting His word in us. i think this means we put ourselves where He wants us to be, where He is. Yes, it is our privilege and calling to be like Him, as His disciples, but this is if and only if we are (inter)connected to Him.
do we yield to Him, not only to serve us but to also rule us? how can we remain in Him today?
thank you Lord that you are our source.