There are 46 parables of Jesus recorded in the four New Testament gospels. Two of these stories illustrate the personal relationship that God desires to have with human beings. In the first parable below, Jesus reveals God’s Open Door Policy, keeping the Shepherd’s Gate available and unlocked. Meanwhile, the second story John recounts is a living vine that is a source for life with supernatural power to bear fruit.
So Jesus said again, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that I Myself am the Door [a]for the sheep. 8 All others who came [as such] before Me are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not listen to and obey them. 9 I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture, John 10:7-9.
Jesus compares himself to a shepherd who is overseeing a large flock of sheep. Like any caring shepherd, Jesus stands by the entrance, making sure every member of his flock is secured within the pen. Yet, life doesn’t always go as planned, with unseen circumstances lurking in the distance. Therefore, Jesus warns his sheep of thieves and robbers that will try to deceive and steal joy from your life.
Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. 6 If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you, John 15:4-7.
Five chapters later, Jesus compares himself to an abundant Vine. Using the illustration of a gardener tending to and pruning each branch, this habit is designed to stimulate growth. When you learn to recognize and listen to God’s voice, this is where the Vine and Shepherd co-exist. Instead of relying on your own strength, when you learn to fully place your trust in Jesus, you’ll enter through the front door and remain connected to the Vine.
by Jay Mankus