“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” – John 15:1
Prior to the above verse, Jesus and the disciples are about to leave the upper room headed to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus will pray His great High Priestly prayer. Then Jesus speaks the words which make up this text in John 15 presenting the true vine and the gardener. In John 15, Jesus is pictured for us as the True Vine. We might ask ourselves, “Why did Jesus give them this teaching?” The answer is simple: They needed it! The disciples have just been informed that Jesus is going away but His work is going to continue through them and their lives (John 14:12). As they learned that they were to carry on the work of the Lord, they realized the need to produce that kind of fruits in their lives. Jesus and Jesus alone possesses life within Himself (John 14:6). He alone is the true source of everlasting and abundant life.
Then Jesus also presented the Gardener of the True Vine referring to the Heavenly Father. In this text, the Gardener provides tender watch care and protection. Now if we are connected to Jesus as the True Vine, then we are told to be branches (verse 5) and we are assured of God’s care and protection (Psalm 91:1416, 2 Thessalonians 3:3). Aside from care and protection, God also does a purifying process. The phrase in verse 2 that says: “He takes away” means to lift up or to raise higher. So this gives us the idea that when we get to a place in our Christian lives where we are unfruitful, the Lord will have to reach into our lives, disturbing our slumber and lifting us up in an effort to challenge us and help us to grow. There are times when the Lord can only accomplish this through chastisement (discipline) that when responded with repentance, it will help us to be fruitful for His glory. If, however, we choose to go on in our sins, there is a sin that leads unto death (1 John 5:16).
The Gardener also remove things from the branch that reduce its vitality and strength like sucker branches, useless buds, misdirected shoots, spots, discolored leaves, etc. Anything that consumes life but produces no fruit must go! When we allow things into our lives that hinder our walk with the Lord, then we are in danger of a pruning. “Pruning” by its very name sounds painful, and it is not always easy to cut the junk from our lives. If we do not cut it ourselves, the Lord surely will. Like a mirror, the Word of God reveals problems (James 1:23-24) and like a knife, the Word of God cuts to the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The challenge now is to assess oneself how the Lord has spoken through His Word. There is really a need to abide be connected to the True Vine—Jesus Christ.
Talk it over with your small group:
- What manifestations can you share that you are “abiding in the Vine?” Are you drawing your strength from Him so that He is able to produce His fruits through your life?
- In what way can you say that you are bearing His fruits?