Jesus often used examples from agriculture to explain spiritual truths. He did so because it was what his audience could easily relate to. For a city guy like me, not so much. I need to study a bit to understand some things. One of those things is about grapevines.
I am a bit familiar with apple trees due to having on in our yard as a child. Trees differ from grapevines in that grapevines can spread out quite a bit. The imagery of grapevine gives the picture of the church spreading out.
In John 15 Jesus refers to himself as the vine and us the branches. The branches need to be connected to the vine and draw from the vine everything needed for life. In verse 4 Jesus says:
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.
We need Jesus. We need communion with him through prayer, not only reading but pondering the bible, and fellowship with others. Jesus is our source for everything. That is why Jesus said in verse 5:
apart from me you can do nothing
Jesus also made wonderful promises if we are connected to him.
We will bear much fruit:
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit
and he will answer our prayers
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
If we remain in him includes being in his will not ours. Jesus is not some genie who grants us our every wish. If we remain in him, our wills will conform to his will. We will desire to go out and show his love as we share the gospel. In that context, he will answer our prayers.
The pruning part is not fun at times but is necessary. The Father is always at work in our lives to help us grow and change to be more like Jesus. Jesus is the vine and the Father is the gardener at work in the vineyard. The gardener prunes the branches so they will produce fruit.
That can include his kindness leading us to repent of our sins. That can include learning and growing in ministry. It can include trying new things in the process of discovering what he has called us to do.
The end result is what we should desire- the Father’s glory. The Father loves us so much he sent Jesus. Out of our love reciprocating we desire to see the Father receive credit.
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
How do you stay connected to Jesus our source?
Thank you for reading. God Bless.