Daily encouragement

Video by

Joshua Talbot

Executive Pastor

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John 15:1-5

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Behind the Scenes

To fully understand what this passage means and the impact for those of us who have said “yes” to Jesus’s invitation, we need to look at what a vinedresser was and how important grapes were to the ancient Israelites. The vinedresser was more than just a mere farmer. The grape vines remained a part of the vinedresser’s crops for decades, and he would come to know each vine and each branch on a very personal level. He knew when they were thriving, when they needed pruning, and when they were done producing fruit. He knew intimately which ones responded to certain things and which ones needed specific care.  

Much like a shepherd with his sheep, he grew to know each and every aspect of his vineyard — each member, each part, each need. He would fertilize those that needed it, lift those that were dragging on the ground, and support others by tying them to a trellis. He would take the appropriate measures to protect them from insects and disease. Every need they had, the vinedresser would provide.

The Israelites would know this metaphor intimately as this imagery was used throughout the scriptures to describe them as a nation and their relationship to God. Psalm 80:8 says, “You brought us from Egypt like a grapevine; you drove away the pagan nations and transplanted us into your land.” God carefully carried the grapevine across the desert into the promised land, cleared the land of the Israelites’ enemies, and then supernaturally transplanted the nation into the land that was flowing with milk and honey.  

In our passage today, Jesus declares that He is the vine – the One deeply rooted, intimately connected to the Father, and supporting every branch. Without God the Father, through Jesus, we cannot bear fruit. Disconnected from the vine, the branch withers and dies – and we, disconnected from Jesus, will wither and die. We are a sinful people who, apart from Jesus, can never hope to escape from sin, and where there is sin, there is death. When we remain connected to Jesus, we can thrive and produce the fruit we were created to produce.

Make it Real

That is such a freeing thought – if I remain in Jesus – I can be fruitful. I can make a difference for the kingdom and bring God the glory. John 15:7-8 says, “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” Hallelujah!  

Easy peasy right?!? But wait – HOW do I remain in Jesus? How do I ensure that I “abide” in Him? John 15:10, 12 tell us exactly how to do that, “When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.”  

So, we remain in Him and His love by obeying His commandments. And what does He command of us? To love one another as He has loved us. This is not a complex statement – just love. Though it’s not complex, it’s also not easy – and that is why we need Him so badly. If we could love others in our own power and goodness, we would get the glory. When we love like Jesus, in His power and goodness – God gets the glory. And that’s the point!!  

We are like those plants — He fertilizes those of us who need it, He lifts us when we are dragging, and supports us by holding us up. He takes every measure to protect us from anything that threatens our purpose in Him. Every need we have, the vinedresser, our Father, provides. He even helps us with the one thing He commands us to do – love one another.

End in Prayer

Father God, thank You that although You call me into something that I could never accomplish on my own, You give me everything I need to accomplish it in You. Thank You for first loving me, for giving me such a beautiful example of what that looks like through the life of Jesus, and sending a Helper so that I can remain in You. Show me each day how I can love better and glorify You in all I do. In Jesus’s name ~ AMEN!

Written by

Colleen McGeorge

ACF Groups Coordinator