Do you have a garden this summer? Are you harvesting or at least looking forward to harvesting fresh vegetables and fruits? How do you handle it when one of your plants is not producing anything? Why is it not producing good fruit? Do you have anything in your garden that grows on a vine like watermelons, pumpkins, or grapes?
You will never ever hear me claim to be a gardener! I am sure my sweet husband would chuckle a little at the thought of it, actually.
However, in John 15, Jesus uses the analogy of a garden/vineyard for the lesson He is sharing with His disciples.
John 15:1-4 (focising on 1 & 2) NIV
“I am the true vine and My Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will 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.“
This passage has greatly impacted my life as a believer and follower of Christ. One of the things we can always be confident in is that if it is in God’s Word, it is important. God does not waste words. There is no filler in His Holy Word so let’s dig into this interesting passage.
We are talking about Verse 1 today:
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. 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.”
These are the words of Jesus, Himself, as recorded by the disciple John, who also wrote 1, 2, 3 John and the book of Revelation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. John was one of the 12 disciples and was one of Jesus’s 3 closest friends along with Peter and James.
Let’s begin with the first sentence:
“I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Gardener.”
The Amplified Bible (AMP) says:
“I AM the True Vine and My Father is the Vinedresser.”
Note: I usually capitalize any noun or pronoun referring to God. The Amplified Bible does this too. Most modern translations do not. I do it not only to remind myself of whom I am referring but also so it is clear to you.
Years ago, I watched a movie that took place in a vineyard. The vineyard had been in this family for generations. When the family immigrated to the US they brought a grapevine plant with them to start their vineyard here. All of the best grapes came from this one grapevine.
Think about the structure of a grapevine: It grows out of the ground. The vine roots are the supply line for nourishment, stability, and water. Its trunk is the strong center that holds it all together and is the biggest part of the plant. The branches are attached to the vine trunk. Grapes grow on the branches.
Jesus calls Himself the “True Vine.” In being the True Vine, He has the highest purpose in life. That is to glorify God the Father. as the True Vine, He connects us to the Father.
The main reason for having a grape vineyard is to produce the best, most flavorful, most juicy grapes possible. The vinedresser sees that this happens. He tends the vines in such a way that the goal of good fruit is reached. One of the things he does is trim the vines to get rid of the branches that do not produce grapes. Those non-producing branches actually steal nourishment from the stronger better-producing branches. In cutting these away, he is actually strengthening the ones he leaves behind. He also trims some bits off the producing branches. On some types of plants we would call these suckers – because they suck nutrients from the branch and none of it produces as well.
To the next sentence:
“He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit…”
“Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit – that stops bearing – He cuts away (trims off, takes way).”
Jesus calls God the Father the Vinedresser/Gardner. God the Father sees our hearts. He knows who loves Him and desires to glorify Him – to bear fruit.
It is easy to think of this passage as sweet “sing-song” words but this is serious. May it seriously hit us in the heart today!
“…while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
“And He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.”
Still serious, huh!
As I think about my life, I think about times when I have known that my loving Heavenly Father was doing some pruning on me.
Just Cut It Off!
If you had a bit of skin cancer on your face, what would you do? Would you leave it there to grow and possibly become so much more than just skin cancer?? Of course not! You would go have the doctor cut it off! It would hurt, for sure, but in the long run, you would be glad you did it.
We need to to see that God’s pruning is even more important than removing a malignancy. Crazy?? Nope. Why?
We know that to glorify God is our main and most important purpose in this life that He has given us, don’t we? When we are seeking to glorify Him, He makes us better parents, better spouses, better friends, better employees… better people!
Think about it. What does God need to prune out of your life today to make you more fruitful for His glory? I know of several things He wants to prune out of mine.
May He be glorified in us as we seek to be what He wants us to be!
Oh Lord, thank You so much for all You are teaching us in Your Word. Please help us to see, understand, and apply what You show us. May we always be moving closer and closer to You and may we be bringing You glory as we grow in You. Help us, please, to keep the things that You show us forefront in our minds and hearts. Make us what You want us to be and help us to hunger for You and Your holiness. Please make us completely Yours. In the beautiful name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
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