John continues to expound on his retelling of the discussion between Christ and His Apostles. Jesus, as the master crafter of word pictures, begins to drive home their need to remain connected to the faith and to each other. When Jesus used a vineyard as the backdrop, these men could picture the many vineyards throughout Israel. The vinedressers were considered true artisans and the quality of the wine was legendary.
The disciples could easily imagine the painstaking work of the vinedresser carefully attending each plant. The dry and dying branches would be cut and cleared and the other branches always pruned and cleaned for maximum production. The process would seem harsh to the untrained eye, but in tasting a handful of those golden grapes, one would realize that careful labor produced the richest and most flavorful wine in the land.
In the same way, our Father takes great pains to prune us spiritually so we will grow into the best image bearers we can be, producing good and plentiful fruit. Jesus tells the men He is the vine and they are the branches. We serve a God that is exclusive. He is clear that God is not dressing other vines or branches entangled among other plants. Those types of plants are harmful to the vineyard and must be cut down and burned.
Next, the vinedresser is looking at production. Branches that are fruitless take nutrients from the healthy and productive branches. Gardening parlance calls them sucker branches and they can destroy or at least reduce the growth and health of the rest of the healthy branches. An experienced gardener knows to eliminate them ASAP, no matter how leafy and pretty they are.
As God’s chosen, we are called to produce. We are called to produce the fruit of the spirit, produce a godly life, and produce disciples. If we fail to produce and are simply attending church to take all we can and produce nothing, we are no better than sucker branches. The vinedresser demands more and will clear the vineyard of sucker branches. While it seems harsh, it is the only way to help the vineyard be its best and healthiest.
Finally, Jesus addresses the healthy branches. He tells the guys that even the healthy branches get pruned. Getting pruned is not easy. However, it is very helpful for continued growth and maximum production. One cannot become complacent with the blooms that have appeared. God will continue to develop each of us through trials. It is never pleasant, but it is always what we need to be the branches that are yielding the best fruit.
God Bless You
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He [a]prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already [b]clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [c]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so [d]prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.