In John chapters 13 and 14 the disciples were in the upper room with Jesus. At the end of chapter 14 Jesus told them to arise and go hence. Jesus led them to Gethsemane and along the way they passed vines and vineyards. The Mount of Olives was full of olive trees. The disciples understood all about caring for vineyards. Owners were called husbandmen. It was spring of the year and the promise of fruit was on the way. They knew that husbandmen had to work hard to care for the vines.
Jesus was going to pray. He knew Judas would betray him and that he would die the next day. Even so he took the time to teach the disciples. He used the vines and fruit as examples to give them a clear picture of being a child of God. There is real purpose. It’s not just about being saved from hell. That’s the benefit. Jesus ended his teaching with what a disciple’s responsibility involves.
John 15: I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
It’s plain and to the point. When we question if we please the Lord, ask am I the type of Christian God expects me to be. God’s goal is for us to be fruitful. The purpose of our life is to glorify God and bear fruit. Apples bear apples. Peaches bear peaches. Potatoes bear potatoes. This is what it means to be a disciple. Jesus is the true vine. There are many religions but the true vine is Jesus. A vine that shoots branches is a living one. Jesus died but arose and is alive forevermore. We’ve been grafted into Jesus Christ. We have a place in him just like branches have in a vine. Branches are part of the vine and as such we are owned by the Master. We’ve been adopted into the family of God.
It’s important that we abide in the vine. The elements of life are in the vine. A vine pulls nutrients from the soil and spreads them to the branches. We stay connected to God by abiding in him and him in us making a continuous connection. When we slack up in prayer and Bible study we start the route to become useless. Consider yourself each day and lean on him for your resources. Without Jesus we can do nothing. If a branch dies the husbandman has no choice but to cut it down. God didn’t save us to be firewood! Keep the channels open to abide in him. We can weather the storms through the strength provided by the vine.
The husbandman knows what to do, what to prune and trim away to make a vine fruitful. Jesus knows how to shape us up. Live according to the Word of God and not the precepts of men. If we obey the Holy Spirit and are faithful to the Lord we will survive.
God has the plan, the vision, and the tools to prune us to be fruitful. We have to let him work and not resist. The weather we’re having now probably got many trees and they won’t bear fruit this year. We have to watch the cold waves of the devil. It takes abiding in Jesus and Jesus abiding in us. Staying connected to the vine we receive the food that we need. It’s not about what we do but what Jesus does for us and through us. He said now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Ask the Lord to cleanse you every day and help you take the right steps. Paul said he died daily. We see the obedience in verse 10. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. Verse 12 tells us this is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. The fruit of the Spirit is genuine love, joy and peace. Let God love you and be appreciative of that love. Turn around and love him with your whole heart. Then love others.
We don’t just sprout out fruit. Our life lives in the vine by being connected to Jesus. The husbandman will then see branches that are alive—sprouting leaves. Our life should be a reflection of the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness….Down through the years others bore fruit that reached us.
Are you having trouble bearing fruit? Bearing more fruit? Bearing much fruit? Connect a little deeper to the vine. Ask the Lord to prune you. Ask for cleansing. Desire to bring forth fruit. It will work and we’ll be true disciples.