Vine and branches

This Sunday’s Gospel reading is Gospel of John 15:1-8. In the Old Testament, the vine is often used to describe the people of Israel. For example, “Israel was a spreading vine.” Hosea 10 However, in another passage, Jesus compared himself to the vine and God to the gardener—“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1 Jesus went on to point out that God “cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes.” John 15:2 In another word, God has excluded those who do not belong to the Lord Jesus, and kept those who do; he did that “so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2

How does a disciple become more fruitful?

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you,” John 15:4 Jesus taught His disciples. To put simply, it means to live in the Lord. The apostle Paul said, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16 So how does the spirit of God enter the hearts of people? The only way is to do so is by connecting one’s life with God. “I am the vine; you are the branches.” John 15:5 The vine and its branches are intertwined—the branches rely on the vine for nutrients in order to blossom and bear fruit.

Jesus is the Lord of life.

Similarly, Jesus is the Lord of life, He is who our spiritual lives need to connect with in order to grow and thus become fruitful. Jesus told His disciples that if they remain in the Lord, great gifts will follow. “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7 He encouraged His disciples to become more fruitful in life.

What about unfruitful people?

It will come with serious consequences—as Jesus advised His disciples, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 He especially warned His disciples that if they do not stay in Him, they will be “like a branch that is thrown away and withers,” Jesus explained, “such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” John 15:6 Jesus reiterated: all spiritual lives who belong to the Lord connect to Him. Once one leaves the Lord, they will no longer receive nourishment from the Spirit of the Lord—their spiritual lives will stop growing and their minds will not be renewed for the Lord, and thus wither and even die. As a result, they will no longer belong to the Lord, and will be “thrown into the fire and burned.”

What is worth thinking about today is: are our lives always in Christ and connected with the Lord? Does our life bear fruit in the Lord?