March 28, 2022
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit...”
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“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the Word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.” John 15:1-4
In the Bible, both Israel and Jesus are described as “the vine.” The references are too extensive to list here, but a few are: Psalm 80:8-16, Hosea 10:1, Isaiah 5:1-7, Mt 21:33-43, Rom 9:6-8
In today’s passage, Jesus informs us that Israel is not a “vine unto itself.” Rather, He is the true Vine. Some would say that statement is blasphemous because the vine of Israel drew its nourishment and produced its fruit from God. That thinking rejects the deity of Messiah, and it is ignorant of Micah 5:2 and Isaiah 9:6. It especially John1:1-5;14, which states that Jesus created everything.
Therefore, Israel, not being a vine unto itself, has always been subject to the vineyard Owner’s desire to prune or remove its branches from the greater Vine.
At times in Jesus’ earthly ministry, there were hundreds, even thousands, of disciples. Jesus communicated that to be saved, our intellectual belief in Him must be accompanied by a faith that leads to obedience. Furthermore, our obedience, empowered by His Spirit, will produce fruit. A sign of our salvation is the fruit (Growth, the signs of His in-working in our lives) we bear in His Kingdom.
The Lord would never give us a command that was impossible to accomplish. Bearing true spiritual fruit is impossible by human means, but we can do all things through Messiah who strengthens us! Philippians 4:13
Branches that do not bear fruit have an apparent disconnect from the life-giving vine. It is up to the vine Keeper to determine whether the branch is dead and should be removed or if it simply needs pruning and thus should abide in the vine but with restorative care.
Even the branches that bear fruit need “pruning” to remain healthy. That is to say, don’t be satisfied with your present level of fruit production! It will be seasonal. Believers should not be proud. When we are connected to the Vine, our ability to bear fruit comes solely from the Vine. Our seasons of “fruit production” are managed by the Vine Keeper.
God is always inspecting us “branches,” looking for those un-surrendered areas in us that may hinder our ability to produce fruit for His Kingdom. If your obedience to the Lord is matched with a level of pain, perhaps He is pruning you. He may be building up your faith by placing you into situations where you must be faithful, thus raising your ability to bear fruit for Him.