“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.” (John 15:1, ESV)
John recorded for us seven claims to deity that Jesus made of Himself. The first of them was in John 6:35 where Jesus said, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35, ESV) This statement was made the day after He divided the loaves and fish to feed five thousand men and an unnumbered amount of women and children. The religious leaders confronted Him demanding more to prove Him being sent by the Father. After all, He only fed them one times and God through Moses did it day after day, year after year for their entire time in the wilderness. They saw the works but they weren’t enough for some.
Later at the Feast of Booths on the last day while Jesus was likely standing at the foot of four seventy-five foot tall candelabras we read, “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”” (John 8:12, ESV) The Jews had celebrated year after year the Feast of Booths and central to their celebration were those four ornate light stands towering above Jerusalem testifying to the God who made both day and night creating the sun, moon, and the stars and the God who led the people of Israel in the desert by a pillar of fire by night. They knew the many prophecies of God as light in whom there was no darkness, and even the words of Isaiah who said, No longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor for brightness will the moon give you light; but you will have the Lord for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory. “Your sun will no longer set, nor will your moon wane; for you will have the Lord for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be over.” (Isaiah 60:19–20, NASB95)
Later in John chapter 10, “So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.” (John 10:7, ESV) … “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9, ESV) Jesus declared Himself the entrance by which sheep would enter their shelter. It is only through Him that anyone would receive salvation and a place to rest.
He went on in the next verses to also declare that not only was He the gate through which we gain entrance to God, but that He is also the good shepherd who was to lay down His life for His sheep. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11, ESV) … “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,” (John 10:14, ESV)
In John chapter 11 after declaring that as the good shepherd that He would lay down His life, that He was also the resurrection. “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” (John 11:25, ESV). Everyone who believes in Him, though physically they would die, like Him they would also live.
And then in chapter 14 Jesus declared that He is the only way, the full truth, the fullness of life, and the only way to come to the Father. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, ESV)
Here in John chapter 15 Jesus makes another declaration about who He is. He is the true vine. There is none other, and the Father is the One who dresses it. In the next few verses Jesus went on to explain what this meant in more detail, but clearly (for now) anyone who believes Jesus to be a mere man who was a good prophets has quite a conundrum to solve. Having said all of these things about Himself if any of them were wrong then He was hardly a prophet. At best He was greatly deceived as a fool or an incredible liar. As crazy as it might seem to some, He was neither of the last two. Everything He said came to pass just as the Scriptures declared and was proven by His resurrection.
Jesus did not say “I might be.” He said “I am,” and it is up to each individual to accept Him as truth or suffer the eternal consequence of rejecting Him as something else. This was the problem with the religious leaders. It did not matter what He said or did, they would not believe Him and Jesus told them in very clear words that they were to remain in judgment as a result. There is no other option.