In the passage below, Jesus was talking to his disciples just before he was going to be arrested and executed. He wanted to make sure they understood that the relationship of teacher and disciple would be an ongoing one even after his crucifixion. The image of Jesus being the roots and main stem of the vine and the disciples being the branches that produce the fruit is simple enough I think: without being connected to the main vine the branches will wither and die like cut flowers in a vase. But what is easy to miss is that God the Father is the gardener. He cuts off the dead wood and prunes the fruitful branches in order that they produce more. Pruning can often look pretty brutal, and I imagine, if I were literally pruned, it would hurt! So here we have another lesson in the need to stay strongly attached to Jesus’s words and live in and by his teachings. But at the same time it is clear that although we may ask for anything and expect to receive it, we will also need to be cut back and pruned regularly if we expect to be fruitful disciples for the Lord.
John 15:1-8 NLT
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
Yes I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
My goal is to keep focused on my growing relationship with Jesus. I am getting more and more familiar with his teaching through my daily habit of bible study. I am still struggling to form a daily habit of prayer but I am learning. If I am to remain faithful to Jesus’s way of life and have him remain in me, I feel I must first study and learn what he taught his disciples when he was one of us. I pray today, that I might not fight the Lord when he sees that I, as one of his branches, might need pruning. I pray that I might accept and embrace the uncomfortable times ahead through which I might learn how the Lord wants me to be more fruitful. Amen
2 Samuel 9:1-11:27, John 15:1-27, Psalms 119:49-64, Proverbs 16:1-3