Connected to Jesus
Lord, cause me to recognize fully my need to abide in You.
Read JOHN 15:1–8
“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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
How dependent on Jesus do you really feel? Offer yourself to him today.
We all need cleaning! That is the root meaning of the word translated “prune” in verse 2. Pruning is not an option, according to Jesus. Without it, we cannot be fruitful and grow in our Christian lives (2,5). We’re not told precisely how this happens, but it seems fair to suggest that sorrow, suffering, sadness and disappointment to some extent constitute “pruning,” and we potentially grow from there. For this to take place, we need to “remain” in Jesus (4) so as to gain the sustenance necessary to be fruitful. Notice how often Jesus uses this phrase “remain in me” in this chapter, certifying that we cannot produce fruit without him.
In actual practice, what does it look like to “remain” (“abide”) in Jesus? We could answer this individually or corporately. Jesus claims that branches which try to go it alone will soon wither and become useless (6). To “remain in the vine” (4) tells us that being part of a Christian community which prays and worships together is part of what it means to be a branch—God doesn’t recognize solitary Christians. The image of a vine as God’s people originates in the Old Testament (e.g., Psa. 80:8–18; Hos. 10:1).
Being linked to Jesus is also an individual experience, as we enjoy personal fellowship with him and seek to grow in our walk with him. To produce fruit means to live a holy life—the opposite of Isaiah’s “bad fruit” (Isa. 5:2). There must be evidence of God working in our lives.
The benefits of bearing fruit are that prayer will be answered (7), the Father will be glorified (8) and we will experience joy (11). To produce no fruit, by contrast, brings serious consequences (2,6).
Jude encourages us to pray in the Holy Spirit, to remain in God’s love and to wait for Jesus’ further mercies (Jude 20,21). How do today’s verses encourage us in this?
Lord, make me aware of the kind of fruit my life bears so that I may please the Father even more.