The Vine, the Gardener and branches - 21 October 2021
By Carina Francke
- John 15:1-5
“I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit. You have been made clean already by the teaching I have given you. Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.
Looking down from a helicopter onto hectares of Cape vineyards is a breathtaking experience. During high season, the lush landscape entices one’s adventurous spirit. Jump and free fall! A blanket of lush green foliage lies below and should cushion one’s fall, right! Or, maybe not!
On the ground in the vineyard, you remember the Sunday school lesson about the vineyard, the gardener, and you: a branch of the vine. The first thing you remember is the pruning part. If the branch on the vine bears no fruit, it is swiftly cut off. On the other hand, if it does bear fruit, correct pruning will result in the bearing of more fruit. Graciously for us, we are not pruned by pruning shears, but by “… the word I, (the vine Jesus) have spoken to you.” (John 15:3) The “word” Jesus is talking about, is the God-inspired Scripture that even today is still our compass to live correctly. (Kindly read 2 Timothy 3:14-17)
But back to the branch and the fruit. As a believer, you are a branch of the vine, Jesus Christ. He says to us, ”Remain in me (the vine) and I will remain in you.” (John 15:4) Said differently, make your home in me (the vine), as I make mine in you. Why the emphasis? Like the branch, it is impossible for the Christ believer to bear fruit if he/she does not remain in the vine. Why not? “… [A]part from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Not even bear a bunch of grapes! You see, your source of vitality and fruit is the vine, but only if you remain in it. If you seek severance, you wither and are eventually thrown into the fire. (John 15:6)
You see, Jesus the vine, is the source, the provider of the juice of life that produces fruit. Reality check: we are mere bearers of fruit. But only for as long as we stay in him and He in us. It makes one wonder how to you stay in Christ, the vine? He answers the question: If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask, it will be done. (John 15:7)
For this reason, this branch shamelessly requests the farmer’s help to enable me to keep on believing that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 4:15); to keep on believing the Good News I have heard (1 John 2:24); to do what God commands (1 John 3:24) and to live the rest of my life, in love, within the body of Christ. (John 15:12)
Prayer: Father, here, in the luxuriant vineyard with vines heavily loaded with grapes, I thank you that your presence envelops me like a thick, green blanket every day. Honour and glory be to you. Amen