- John 15:1-17:26
After Jesus left the upper room where He had gathered with the twelve, they went to the Mount of Olives. Along the way, Jesus had one final conversation with His disciples. During this conversation Jesus told them more about what was about to happen with His going back to the Father, and how He would send the Holy Spirit to guide, help and teach them as they went on carrying out the mission Jesus would give them. Jesus reminded them of the importance of loving one another as He had loved them. Jesus then prayed for Himself, the apostles, and all who would believe on Him throughout the generations. Jesus prayed for unity among His disciples.
At the beginning of this conversation, Jesus taught the apostles of the importance of abiding in Him using a story of a vine and its branches. Consider the words of Jesus:
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 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.
5 “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. 6 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. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
(John 15:1-8 NIV)
Let's consider three lessons we should learn from Jesus' comparison of the vine and branches:
- Our job is to remain in Jesus. Jesus promised that, if a person remains in Him they "will bear much fruit." To remain in Him means that we do our best to listen and obey His commands and that we keep a strong relationship with Him each day. We cannot live a life filled with sin and remain in Jesus.
- Sometimes GOD prunes our branch so that we can bear more fruit. If you want a plant to grow, often the best way is to cut off the end of the branch. This stimulates growth. This is a painful process, but it is for our good. Heb. 12 teaches us:
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
(Heb. 12:5b-8 NIV)
- It is not our job to force fruit. GOD will bring about the fruit in our life when we stay in Jesus. We don't need to feel pressured to produce fruit. However, we need to be actively seeking growth in our life each day and look for opportunities to do good. Allow GOD to handle the fruit production.