Jesus used a number of different metaphors throughout his teachings, but the grapevine is, perhaps, one of the most prolific. A strong grapevine can produce great fruit, but only if the plant is well managed, fed, and pruned by the gardener. The branches need to be trimmed or even separated completely from the vine to keep it healthy. In this metaphor in today’s passage, there are four key players: Jesus as the vine; God the Father as the gardener; and people who are either the healthy and strong branches that bear good fruit, or the unproductive branches that take nutrients away from the vine and must be cut away.
- What kind of branch do you believe yourself to be?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 15:1-11 (ESV)
15:1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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. 5 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. 6 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. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What did Jesus call himself twice in this passage (vss. 1, 5)? Who is the vinedresser?
- In verse 2, what is the difference in branches that are cut away, compared to the branches that are pruned?
- According to Jesus, what must we do in order to be branches that bear fruit (vss. 4-5)? What happens to branches that are cut away?
- What do you think it means to abide in Christ? What do we receive by keeping God’s commandments and abiding in Christ (vss. 10-11)?
- Take a few moments to consider what kind of vine you are and if your days are spent abiding in Christ.
RESPOND TO GOD
Abiding in Christ results in great fruitfulness and also brings blessings such as joy, peace, and love. There are many things we can do in life to try and achieve joy and happiness, whether through seeking romantic love, a prosperous career for financial security, or even success and approval through our own children. But as Jesus points out, apart from “the true vine,” there is no real and lasting fruit. And when we do not abide in Jesus and bear fruit, we also miss out on an opportunity to glorify God the Father (vs. 8).
- Prayerfully ask God the Father, the gardener, to prune your heart to be more fruitful.
- Purposefully abide in Jesus today.