One of my conclusions is that we have lost the impact of this passage because a ‘vine’ is not the every day object it was when Jesus used it as an image. S o I think we perhaps read this passage in a ‘holy, hushed, reverential’ tone of voice and we ‘tune out’: we lose the impact of what Jesus was trying to tell us.
To counter this I have re-written the passage using an everyday object found in most kitchens. I accept that my rewrite is theologically flawed but maybe the shocking immediacy of the image has something to offer? I don’t know, what do you think?
John 15:1-11 (as you’ve never heard it before!)
V1 I am the true plug, my father is the power supply and you are a toaster.
V 2 He throws away any toasters that simply don’t work or he fixes faulty toasters, restoring them to working order.
V 3 You are already restored because of everything I’ve explained to you.
V4 Stay connected to me and I will stay connected to you. No toaster can make toast on its own, it must have a plug and a power supply. You are no different, you cannot make toast on your own.
V 5 So I am the plug and you are the toaster, if a toaster stays connected to me it will make much toast. Without me you cannot make toast!
V6 But if anyone does not bother to plug in, they eventually rust up or break down and are thrown out.
V7 If you stay connected to me and follow my instructions then you can be an ambitious toaster and make whatever toast you like: thin sliced, thick slice, bagels or buns, you can even warm muffins!
V8 This is all due to the wonder of my Father, the power supply, all that toast goes to show that you are a functioning toaster.
V9. Just as I need to stay connected to the power supply so you need to stay connected to me.
V10 If you follow my instructions you won’t go wrong. I follow my father’s instructions so I’m only asking the same of you.
V11 I’ve explained all this to you so that together we might experience the joy of toasting and so that you, being aware of your limits and your possibilities, might be completely content.