Ministers are not to preach themselves, but Christ Jesus, the Lord. But He was His own subject; He preached Himself. How could He have done otherwise, concerned as He was to be useful? Here He calls Himself the Vine—a very easy and natural image. A vine is not so remarkable in its appearance as many other trees. In loftiness it yields to the cedar, in strength to the oak, in sightliness to the palm-tree and the fir. The greatness of Jesus was spiritual; He had no earthly pomp and riches; like His kingdom, He was not of this world. The image is pleasing and striking, and teaches us much by contrast and comparison. A vine is not always green; it does not always bear; it never bears twelve manner of fruits; it does not endure for ever. But all this is true of Him.
—William Jay (1769–1853)