Heinz Chapel -- University of Pittsburgh
5 minute sermon
In our Gospel lesson for today Jesus gives us an allegory. He talks about a vine, a gardener, and fruitful and unfruitful branches. In the story, the vine—the “true vine”—is Jesus. The gardener is the Father. The branches are those of us who are captivated by the God/man Jesus.
First, let’s talk about the “true vine.” In the Old Testament, Israel is often referred to as a vine. The psalmist declares God brought a vine out of Egypt and planted it in a good land (the Exodus). The prophet Isaiah wrote a song about God’s vineyard. Hosea spoke of God finding Israel like grapes in the wilderness, but something always went wrong. In another Psalm, foreigners pillage God’s vineyard and wild beasts uproot it. Again in Isaiah, the vine that should have borne good fruit bore bad fruit instead. This quick glance at the various passages reveals, interestingly enough, that Israel is consistently described as a fruitless or “degenerate vine.”