8 Apr. John 15:1-11

8 Apr. Did you know you're like the branches of a vine?

"'I am the true vine; my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. And he trims and cleans every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit.'"

"'You are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you, Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in me.'"

"'I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing.'"

"'If any do not remain in me, they are like a branch that is thrown away and then dies. People pick up dead branches, throw them into the fire and burn them.'"

"'If you remain in me and follow my teachings, you can ask anything you want, and it will be given to you. You should produce much fruit and show that you are my followers, which brings glory to my Father.'"

"'I loved you as the Father loved me. Now remain in my love. I have obeyed my Father's commands, and I remain in his love. In the same way, if you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.'"

"'I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have, and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.'"

          (John 15:1-11)

 

 

Jesus told several parables about vineyards as they were common in Palestine in his day. This is one of them.

As a 'parable', this is an earthly story (about a vineyard) with a heavenly meaning (about the kingdom of God), and as in all of Jesus's parables, the characters in the earthly story represent people in the heavenly story.

So Jesus explains that the vine represents Jesus himself, while the gardener who cuts and prunes the vines is God the Father. Vines are pruned to encourage new growth and plentiful fruit. If branches are not producing fruit, they are cut out and burnt. The branches represent Jesus's followers who need to have their 'rotten' bits removed so they can grow more healthily and produce more fruitful results in their lives.

Jesus reminds his followers that they can't succeed on their own: "A branch cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in me." (John 15:4). The vine (Jesus) is the lifeblood of the branches (Jesus's followers). If we're not constantly nourished by the power of Jesus's Spirit in our lives, we won't have the energy or ability to help others in the amazing ways that Jesus wants us to do.

And if we don't "remain in the vine" (in Jesus), we become worthless and might as well be burnt (not literally of course - don't forget this is a story!)

Vineyards were a common feature of Palestine in the time of Christ. Hillsides were often dug up, cleared of stones and planted with vines in an age when wine – the ‘fruit of the vine’ – was regularly consumed at mealtimes because of a lack of clean, unpolluted water.

Having planted a vineyard, the owner would build a watchtower to protect his crop from thieves (see Isaiah 5:1-2). He would also dig out a winepress where the harvested grapes could be trampled underfoot (see Matthew 21:33) before being transferred into new wineskins (see Mark 2:22).

When Jesus taught his disciples, “A branch cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in the vine” (John 15:4), he was referring to the practise of having a main ‘stock’ on the vine with the branches growing from it. After the harvest, branches were cut back almost to the stock, and for much of the year the stock grew round the branches. The branches ‘remained’ in the stock, while new branches grew out. In the same way, Jesus’s disciples must remain together and grow in fellowship and love for one another.

The photo shows an old grapevine in Palestine.

You can read more of Jesus's saying at his 'Last Supper' @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/6-jesuss…/the-last-supper/


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