The Vine and the Branches

John Chapter 15 contains some very intriguing words  spoken by Jesus, “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”. (v.5) To  Christians he makes a very clear analogy; Jesus is the  vine, that which has root and supplies nourishment and  we, the branches, rely on him for that provision. Being  part of the vine, we bear the fruit, and if we were cut  off, we would bring forth nothing. We would whither and  die. “Abiding in the vine” is a common Christian expression  and it infers peace, obedience, and blessings while in  continual communion with Christ. Verse 2 of chapter 15 puts  a little different slant on those thoughts. “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”. Firstly, consider the fruitless branch,  the limb that’s just along for the ride. It’s being fed and  tended, but it’s barren. It’s a taker and not a giver and  the verse clearly states that it is removed. A subtle  warning to all that abiding in the vine means more than  just being attached. But lest we think abiding and fruit-  bearing is an easy row to hoe, that in our leisure we can  produce a piece of fruit here and maybe after a while  nonchalantly drop a seed there, there is the reference to  purging. Anyone familiar with fruit trees and vines knows  how important it is to prune them back. I know of one man  who knew nothing of pruning and hired someone to prune his  grape vines. When the hired man was done, he was sure that  he cut so much off that he had killed them. The next year,  however, he had a bountiful crop of grapes. Pruning is not  a pleasant proposition. It is a cutting and tearing, a  purging of even some things that aren’t necessarily bad.  Sometimes it can be a painful process of a prolonged  duration. “That the trial of your faith…though it be  tried with fire might be found unto praise and honor and  glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”. (I Pet. 1:7) God  sees the end from the beginning and it is his desire that  we be all that we can be, and so, the testing and trials,  the pruning’s, are a part of Christian life. Sometimes so  severe we may cry out, “My God, my God, why have thou  forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34), but the end result, if we could  see it should be a tree loaded with fruit. “Herein is my  father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be  my disciples”. (John 15:8) Even as different trees bear  different fruit, so are Christians called to bear the  pruning with the fruit and give all glory to Him that is  the root, for without Him, we can do nothing.

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