“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.” – John 15:1-5
A few years ago, we moved to a home with a beautifully landscaped yard. The many knock-out roses throughout the beds attracted us and we were excited to enjoy mature flowers. As I took a close look at each of the 22 bushes, I realized that they were in need of care and pruning. Many of the branches were crowded and spindly, the flowers were small and the ends of the branches twisted. Instead of beautiful green leaves, many were reddish and brown. As I studied the care of knock-out roses, I realized I needed to find the healthy part of each bush to ensure beautiful roses in the future.
Though not a perfect comparison, I often reflect on God the Father as a vinedresser and Jesus as the True Vine during the time I spend pruning, feeding, and caring for my roses. Israel is often referred to as a vine in Scripture and Jesus embodies everything Israel should be as Messiah: the True Vine, the Promised One, Son of Israel.
“You removed a vine from Egypt. You drove out the nations and planted it” (Psalm 80:8 NASB).
In a vineyard, grapevines live for decades and the vinedresser knows them like a shepherd knows his sheep. God is the Vinedresser who lovingly cares for His True Vine and for us as we trust Christ and commit ourselves to His loving rule in our lives. Abiding in Jesus and His word is the basis of life and growth.
Pruning involves cutting diseased areas, lifting up branches, or adjusting their position to increase productivity. It involves pruning the fruit-bearing branches after harvest to encourage growth the next season. The goal of the vinedresser is always a healthy plant and more fruit.
Like my roses, I have gone through seasons of severe pruning and have had seasons of blooming with healthy leaves and fruit. How thankful I am for His word to continue to remind me of His life-giving power and of His care.
If our priority is on ourselves and our comfort and pleasure, the Vinedresser’s care may seem painful. We need to focus on bearing fruit as we stay attached to Jesus, the True Vine. See pruning as an act of help and assurance of the vinedresser’s care. The vinedresser is close, His loving eyes are seeking the best for the vineyard.
Father, we thank you for Jesus, our True Vine, who came so we could have life and have it abundantly. Help us to praise you in all seasons and when you prune us, let us turn to your Word and thank you for your loving care. Amen.