Who Is Jesus: Week 3 Discussion Guide

Week three: Jesus is the Vine
Contributing Writers: The Gathering Curriculum Writers: Dan Hutti, Rebekkah Backoski & Praxis Team-Kelley Webber
Opening Prayer
Jesus, thank you for showing us who you are and for inviting us into a relationship with you. You are the true vine. Please be with us as we discuss what this means. It’s in your name we pray. Amen.
Ice breaker
This sermon series has been focused on Jesus’ I am statements from the book of John. Let’s take a quick moment and discuss who we all are. Imagine you just finished writing your autobiography. How would you title the book? Share with the group.
Circle back
Last week you were encouraged to let your light shine for those around you. Did you do this? How did it go?
The Vine and the Branches; John 15: 1-8
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

  • There are a lot of analogies in this passage. Which of them resonate with you?
  • When you think of a vine, what does it provide the fruit?  Alternatively, what happens to the fruit if it is removed from the vine?
  • When parts of a tree aren’t healthy, they may become brittle or wilted.  When parts of our character aren’t healthy (our fruitless branches), we may need pruning.  Galatians 5:22 mentions fruits of the spirit…in the forms of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
  • In verse 2, Jesus says that pruning fruitless branches makes you even more fruitful.  Can you think of any examples in your own life when Jesus has pruned you?
If you have ever grown tomatoes, you may be familiar with the term “suckers.” Suckers are a little offshoots from the main stem that will eventually produce tomatoes themselves. They cause no real harm to the plant overall, however gardeners are advised to cut them off. If you let them go, the plant will appear to be bushier, but the resulting fruit tends to be smaller. Removing them allows the plant to focus energy production on bigger and healthier tomatoes. It also reduces the risk of disease for the plant.
Think about this past week. What have been “suckers” in your life? What has distracted you from Jesus and God? What can be pruned so that you can bear greater fruit next week?
In verse 5, Jesus says “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

  • How does this verse strike you?
  • John 15: 1-8 contains the word “remain” 8 times. Do you rely on Jesus in your life? Does He remain a daily (or even hourly) focal point for you? 
  • Apart from Jesus, we can do some things…i.e. meander through life and get by. However, our fruit isn’t juicy and delicious.   If we want to enjoy the large red, ripe tomato, then He must be our vine.
  • How has “remaining in” Jesus been going for you this week? Are there ways you have been struggling in placing your reliance in Him?
This week, consider ways that you can prune away the distractions and refocus your energy on connecting to Jesus.  One idea could be less time spent scrolling/TV and more time spent in reading or reflection. Next week, check back in with the group and be prepared to share how you have reconnected and relied on Jesus. (Core group hosts, maybe send out a reminder midway through the week too).
Also, you’re encouraged to check out the Gathering’s Lenten devotional. It’s not too late to start!
To sign up, simply click on this link to sign up. The daily devotion will arrive in your email inbox each morning during Lent. Although Lent is often considered a time for individual reflection, preparation, and prayer, your CoreGroup is also a great place to share your thoughts on the devotion each day. Over the remaining weeks, check in with each other about the ways God is working in your heart during this season.
Closing Prayer
God, thank you for giving us life and energy. And thank you for providing us connection through your Son, Jesus. Please help us put down the things that separate you from us. Help us grow in connection to you and to rely on you. It’s in your name we prayer. Amen.


John 15:9
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”  (NIV)
“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love.” (The Message)

John 15 starts with the promise that God will prune our branches so that we may be fruit bearing.  God does the work on us. The only work we are called to, is to remain, to abide in Christ. What does that mean to “remain in Jesus?”  Then in verse 9 we hear.. “Remain in my love, Make yourself at home in my love.”  

What does remaining in Love mean to you?

“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
― Thomas Merton

What are you living for?  Be specific.
What is keeping you from living fully for the thing you want to live for?

I Love You Prayer by Jim Finely 

As you meditate on these words, allow God to do the work on you.  Set an intention to remain in Christ as Christ remains in you.  A paradox for sure.  Allow yourself to simply be present to the love of Jesus.  

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