I AM the True Vine... John 15:1 “Tell us about your name…” That was the opening “ice-breaker” at a teacher in-service I attended a few years ago. I was glad for that topic, because I have an interesting name. In fact, each of my names (even including my married name) has something unique about it.
My full name is Janet Gale Renner Loyd. “Janet” is after my mother whose name is “Jeanette” (apparently my Polish grandfather had a French girlfriend during WWI by that name). My middle name is the first 3 letters of my mother’s maiden name (Galuszka) G-A-L plus an E…”Gale”. My husband (as well as my aunt/godmother) would say that this is an appropriate spelling rather than the usual “G-a-i-l” because of my similarity to a “whirlwind” (ha, ha). “Renner” is a German name, and have you noticed that it can be spelled forward and backward the same way?
That leaves my married name, “Loyd”. That’s right, it IS spelled correctly. (I always spell it, but people still insist on putting 2 L's). My explanation for the one “L” spelling is that my husband had some lazy ancestors somewhere in his past. I don’t know if that’s true, but it makes for an interesting explanation.
Today, young parents seem to be choosing names for their children, not based on important people in their lives, but on the “music” or pleasantness of the sound of the name. And that’s okay. There are some fine ones out there…like “Kaden” and “Evan” and “Carter” and “Eli” (these just happen to be my grandsons’ names). And then there are some beautiful ones like “Lilly” and “Olivia” and “Emily” and “Victoria”.
But in Bible times, things were different. A person’s name represented his character or a call in his life.
That being true, I wonder how Jesus would have answered the “ice breaker” question: “Tell us about your name…”
He may have said, “My name ‘Jesus’ was given to my mother by an angel. It means ‘Savior’. My title ‘Christ’ means “Anointed One’ -- I am the Messiah, the Promised One foretold throughout generations.”
He then might go on and on with significant name after significant name -- names such as Lord, King, the Lamb of God, the Alpha & Omega...
But I suspect the reply He would most want to give would be simply, “My name is ‘I AM’…I AM everything and anything you will ever need, because I AM Jehovah God the Son.” Jesus wasn’t hesitant to use this name to refer to Himself in His conversation with the legalistic religious leaders...and was almost stoned for blasphemy!
Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM." So they picked up stones to throw at Him. John 8:58-59
This sacred name of God was not even allowed to be spoken by the devout Jew at that time, because it spoke of the very essence of God Himself...the Eternal Present...His Essence is His Existence..LIFE itself!
Jesus further elaborated on this divine name in the rich metaphors of the Gospel of John:
I AM the Bread of life,...I AM the Light of the world,...I AM the Door of the sheep,...I AM the Good Shepherd,...I AM the Resurrection & the Life,...I AM the Way, the Truth, & the Life,..I AM the True Vine. John 6,8,10,11,14,15
Several years ago I was at an ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) teachers’ convention. One of the fun parts of those conventions was to visit the booksellers’ booths. I love Christian books, and I love a bargain, so for me it was always a “win/win”.
This particular time I found a treasure of a children’s book called God Says I AM: What God tells us about Himself in the Bible – from A to Z. This wonderful book goes through the whole alphabet describing who God is. I have since given this sweet book to each of my two grandsons who have trusted in the Lord Jesus for salvation…to commemorate that glorious day that they were born into God’s family.
I’ve challenged my then five-year old grandson Kaden to try to learn all the descriptions of God in the I AM book. We are still both working on it together, and every time I visit, we practice.
But one of our times together was especially precious. After Kaden & I sat together seeing how much we could remember, I went back through quickly repeating all of the descriptions while looking at the stunning artwork:
God says I AM – the Artist, the Builder, the Creator, the Designer, Everywhere, your Father, Good, the Healer; I do the Impossible; the Joy-giver, King of kings, Love, a Mystery, Never-ending, the Only One, Power; I Quiet the storms; Real, your Savior, Trustworthy, Unfailing, Voice, Wisdom; fiX your eyes on heaven; I want to know You; the A to Z!
Then I almost breathlessly ended with,
“And all of that is what God says He Is!”
Kaden looked up at me and said with warmth and amazement,
That’s right, Kaden…WOW! This is your God!
And this Amazing God is the Father's True Vine...because everything that's true of the Father is true of the Son.
He is the image of the invisible God...For in Him the whole fullness of deity dwells in bodily [human] form. Col 1:15; 2:9
I AM the Vine. You are the branches. If you abide in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from Me, you can do nothing. John 15:5
May we, Your branches, be WOWed by YOU, the Father's True Vine, all our days!
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18