“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, 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.” John 15:1-3, NIV
We celebrated the greatest victory of all Christian festivals on Sunday – the resurrection of Christ. We remember that he conquered death by rising from the grave. He came to bring new life for every person who follows him. He taught us about this new life in John 15 – the evening before his crucifixion.
God the Father is portrayed as a gardener. He made an investment when he created this earth. His desire is to see much fruit. Jesus compares himself to the true vine. The vine established his roots deep in this earth’s soil. He provides everything that the branch needs to bear fruit. In an agricultural sense, this would mean the right amount of water and minerals needed to form fruit. In a spiritual sense, it would mean that Christ has given us everything we need to live, grow and bear fruit in our relationship with God. He expects every branch connected to him to bear much fruit.
Some branches remains barren and they get cut off. The branch producing fruit will be pruned, to bear even more fruit. I am living in a grape producing region, therefore, we understand this metaphor well around here. Branches that are left alone spends all its energy in producing a multitude of green leaves, but bear little to no fruit. However, when a branch is pruned with a heavy hand, it will bear the desired fruit on the new growth. The green leaves in this metaphor symbolise our own interests, doing what we want. The fruit symbolises what God desires to see in our lives.
God has created us lovingly. His desire was to be a Father, living in a relationship with his children. We as humans were unable to maintain this relationship, we rebelled against God. So, he sent his Son to bring us back to him. Jesus came and gave us everything to know God, and to find peace with him. The Father provides us with life, health, opportunities and everything we need to reach our life’s goal. However, we still tend to wander off, giving all our time and energy to reaching our own set desires. This is why God also allows difficult times and situations in our lives. Through pruning, the dead wood in our lives are cut off and we continue to grow, bearing fruit that honours him. Pruning helps us to set the right priorities in our lives – to invest our energy and time in those things that will honour God, serve our neighbour and build us up in a healthy way.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that I am always safe in your hands. Thank you for giving me the true life. Thank you for giving me everything I need to live in service to you and my fellow man. Help me to trust you when I go through the pruning processes of life. Amen.