The Parable of The Vine and the Branches is one of my favorites, because it contains significant imagery for Christian living.
- God is providing us with His light for us to grow.
- It’s not enough for us to grow; God wants us to bear fruit.
- Not only are we to bear fruit, we are to bear much fruit.
The Vine and the Branches
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunesso that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 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.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
In this parable, Jesus explains that He is the vine, the main part of the plant. We are the branches; we branch off of the vine. The fruit comes from the branches. The vine (Jesus) carries the water and nutrients to the branches. With God as the caretaker of the vine, He is going to provide everything the vine needs to grow, water, nutrients, and sunlight, even pruning.
The disciples lived in an agrarian society. References to crops and producing a better harvest would have made sense to them. The imagery is important to us too.
To properly grow a grapevine, to get it to bear much fruit, you need to train it.
- Select the right climate. Position the plants so they will get enough sunlight.
- The grapevine’s root system needs to be made healthy first. There must be proper soil, and drainage. This could take a few seasons. So it is with our spiritual lives. We have to have a solid relationship with Christ first, before we can do anything.
- A trellis is built for the vine to grow on. We must have a solid foundation, and understanding of the Word of God. It takes time for the vine to grow up the trellis.
- Apply pest control. We have to protect the grapevines from fungus, and other pests. The grapevines need to be constantly inspected for problems, and those problems need to be dealt with immediately. So it is with our sin. We must deal with our sin problem immediately, or it will affect the ultimate harvest.
- Prune the vines. This is critical for optimum growth. There are plant hormones that are activated when pruning occurs. Auxin stimulates cell elongation and Cytokinins stimulates cell division. This makes the plant produce more fruit. You see the same process in pruning rose bushes and Crete myrtles. The pruning will concentrate where the glucose will be. We have to be pruned to stimulate our spiritual growth too. With grapes, the pruning occurs after every harvest, during the dormant season, every year. Ouch! But it is necessary to create a bigger harvest.
- Patience is necessary. During the growing season, fruit is always growing. We don’t always see the growth every day, but it is happening. In the Christian life, growth can occur every day. Life may seem mundane and ordinary at times, but something should always be going on inside the hearts of the true believer. Patient endurance is the key.
This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
We may not feel like we are growing. We may want to take matters into our own hands. But like the grapevine, we will bear much fruit if we yield to God, the Gardener.
Scripture: Bible Gateway.com
Image: Google Images
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