June 27, 2023 – Tuesday
John 15:1-2 NIV
1 “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 prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
This is Jesus teaching His disciples (and us) what our real relationship is with Jesus. While there are instances where we are looked upon as His sheep and He is our shepherd, here in John 15 in the first eight verses we are shown our relationship is much more personal, much more intimate.
Let’s look at our two verses for today together, 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. In the NIV Jesus says my Father is the gardener, and while many versions say gardener others say husbandman or farmer. However, the most appropriate found in my opinion is vinedresser as Jesus is speaking of Himself as the true vine. And it is the vinedresser that cuts off branches of the vine that bear no fruit and prunes the vines bearing fruit so they will bear more fruit.
To get a good visual idea of what a vine and its branches are and look like with the branches bearing fruit go here. There you will see the branches hanging from the vine and bearing clusters of fruit. In some you will also see there are some branches that bear no fruit. You may wonder why fruit bearing branches are pruned as I did. Here is what I found for grapes, The purpose of pruning is to obtain maximum yields of high quality grapes and to allow adequate vegetative growth for the following season. Because I love blackberries (growing up we – the kids – picked them and Mom canned blackberry jelly which remains my favorite. Plus she made blackberry cobbler from them as well.) I found the following here about pruning them as well, In addition to keeping berry brambles from becoming overgrown and unmanageable, pruning improves yields and creates healthier, stronger plants.
Returning to our verses, Jesus said I am the true vine. About this Guzik wrote about Jesus as the true vine, We must be rooted in Him (not in Israel) if we will bear fruit for God. In the New Covenant community, our first identification is in Jesus Christ Himself, not in Israel or even in the church as such. And then he added, Of the many pictures of the relationship between God and His people, the vine and branch picture emphasizes complete dependence and the need for constant connection. The branch depends on the vine even more than the sheep depends on the shepherd or the child depends on the father. I concur with this as the branches (us) cannot exist (as Christians) without the vine (Jesus).
When pruning it is common to cut off the none fruit bearing branches. But there may be an alternative understanding of this verse for the nonbearing branches. A few commentaries point out that cut off may instead be translated as lifts up. Guzik quotes Boice on this with, The idea is that the Father lifts up unproductive vines off of the ground (as was common in the ancient practices of vineyard care). Those caring for ancient grape vines made sure to lift them up off the ground that they might get more sun and bear fruit better. However, if such a branch continues not to bear fruit, it would indeed be cut off.
Bottom Line: As Christians we are intended to bear fruit and then even more fruit as we are pruned.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Help us to see our way to bear fruit from our salvation and to embrace Your pruning within our lives to make us more fruitful. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton