I Am the Vine
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15:1-6 NIV
It was a crisp October morning in Germany with a cool mist hovering over the Rhine. Boarding the all-day cruise, we settled inside and sipped our steaming hot chocolate. Soon the veil of fog lifted. We quickly moved up top to enjoy the warm sunshine and stunning views. The dazzling fall colors of autumn leaves, mighty fortresses and castles perched high on the cliffs, and the harvest of bountiful grapes took our breath away. What a joyful time for the vintners after meticulously tending to their vineyards all year. They would soon be rewarded with the fruits of their labor.
In John 15:1, Jesus states, “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.” At the end of Chapter 14, Jesus and the disciples left the Upper Room and are walking to the garden of Gethsemane which would soon lead to the cross. He’s giving His men a crash course on how to be disciples by faithfully serving and following Him. He wants them to have an intimate relationship with Him like the vine has with the branches stemming from them. They will produce much fruit by clinging to the vine.
Jesus considers the branches to be all those who consider themselves followers of Christ. He proceeds to explain that there are two kinds of branches. The branches that bear no fruit, the gardener cuts off and they are burned. Those are the lukewarm Christians that go through the motions but never have a close relationship with Him. They are self-serving and unproductive. The second kind of branch does bear fruit. These good branches are pruned for their growth and fruitfulness to keep the vineyard healthy. Although this practice is harsh, it is for the better good to bear more healthy fruit by bringing honor and glory to God. We trust that the Gardener knows what He is doing. We are grateful for His attention and care. Jesus declares that the disciples have been pruned and that they’ve had their hearts purified by faith in the blood of Christ. They are now ready and able to bear fruit. The disciples are to hold onto Him with all their hearts, minds, and souls. By doing this, they will gain life, grace and nourishment from Him.
For us to have a fulfilling life, we must remain attached to the Vine of life that is Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. Reflecting on our branches, are we connected to the true Vine? If so, should our branches be pruned from daily grumbling and complaining about our lives being interrupted by the Coronavirus? Are we overlooking those that need our friendship and comfort? Are we daily spending time with our Lord through meditation and prayer? Are we trusting in the great “I Am”?
You are capable of being God’s faithful and productive messengers. Go and bear much fruit! You are a child of God!
Thank you for being the Gardener in my life. Prune me from self-centeredness and neglecting other’s needs. Guide me to bear the good fruit of faithfulness, compassion, and kindness. Remain in me as I cling to you.
Written by Janece Nelson
Janece and husband, Mike, have been members of Sheridan for more than twelve years. Janece is a retired mathematics instructor teaching at the middle school and college level. They are blessed with two children and three grandchildren.
Janece finds her greatest joy in spending time with her family and friends. Her passion is writing devotions for patients in hospitals and rehabs she sees every Monday as a Sheridan hospital visitor. As a Teammate she also mentors girls at Boys Town. Janece credits Faith Builders and Companions in Christ for her spiritual growth.