I am surrounded by vineyards where I live. Very few things are more beautiful than driving the highways seeing all the rows of vines as they sprout their green leaves. Jesus used the analogy of the vine to talk about the importance of Christians abiding in the vine. When a branch abides in the vine it produces bountiful fruit.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”
In John 15, Jesus spends some time talking about a vine for grapes and how it is a good picture of how Christians grow in their faith. Jesus inserts Himself as the vine and every believer as a branch. Those who remained attached abide, grow and produce fruit. Those who don’t bear fruit are dealt with, and even those who do bear fruit are pruned to be of better quality. If you have ever seen a grapevine, then it is easy to see the correlation. Jesus wants our lives to bear fruit.
One interesting point is where Jesus says those branches that don’t bear fruit are taken away. Some people interpret this to mean He lops the branch off, but others interpret the Greek there to mean “raise up.” Why would you raise up a branch that isn’t producing? To get it close to the sun where it can better thrive. Vinters do this all the time with unproductive branches, and it’s the way I lean. Jesus is very gracious and long-suffering, which means He will do anything for His followers to flourish.
Abiding in the Vine
For those branches that are producing fruit, they will go through the process of being pruned. This means Jesus will cut away anything in our lives that are not beneficial. A branch left to its own will send out shoots in every direction. These shoots will demand nutrients that will sap from the previous shoots, which will, in turn, produce inferior fruit. Let the Lord do the pruning in your life so that quality fruit will be produced.