“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:1-11).
Have you ever thought of yourself as a branch? If you’re a Christian I dare say that you have. We have heard the above Scripture many times and we envision its meaning. For this Daily Dose, let’s dig deeper and come to grips with what Jesus Christ is really saying.
First our cast of characters. In the opening we are introduced to the vine dresser. This signifies our heavenly Father who looks after His garden and does what is necessary to keep that garden growing to its greatest potential. Sometimes it means He has to trim away the unproductive parts so that those shoots with promise can grow. Sometimes it means He has to uproot whole sections and plant anew. In the end, everything is done for the good of the garden so that it can produce the best fruits.
We are also introduced to the vine. It is through the vine that the necessary elements for growth are given to the branches. Without the vine, the branches have no hope to grow to their greatest potential. This is the vine that was prophesied about in Isaiah 11:1-5,
“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.”
Finally, we are introduced to the branch. The branch is totally dependent on the vine dresser and the vine to survive. Everything that allows it to grow to its greatest potential come through those two.
The branches who refuse this nurturing are eliminated because they have become of no use. Their presence is a hindrance to the branches that receive what they need. So, these branches are removed and burned.
You and I are the branches. We can either accept all that the vine dresser and the vine are doing to help us to grow and produce fruit, or we can deny our place within the garden and be trimmed away, becoming of no use to what the garden has been planted for.
In Zechariah 6:12 it says, “And say to him, ‘This says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.” This verse has many different interpretations, but I say that you and I are those branches (children of the chief Branch) who are tasked with building the church. Each of us have been chosen to bear our fruit, producing a crop in keeping with repentance. Each of us has a calling to be branches that only the best of fruits will grow on. But it takes a willingness to let the Vine Dresser and the Vine do what they must to make that happen. May we all be branches that bear the very best fruit of the garden. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, help us to be branches that you can work with and that bear the very best produce. Give us patience when we must be trimmed and keep us steadfast in faith so that we might make it to the harvest. Amen.