I am the true vine, and My Father is the Husbandman.
Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
As He often did, Jesus used a familiar agricultural example to teach a divine truth. His disciples understood about vineyards and vines and branches.
In the Hebrew Old Testament, God used the vine as a symbol of His people (Psalm 80:8-9). Sometimes, the vine was used negatively (Isaiah 5:1-2, 7 and Jeremiah 2:21).
Vineyards abounded in ancient Israel, just as they do again today.
The vine was recognized as a symbol of Messiah. Also,on the front of the Temple, there was a large golden vine used as a decoration to symbolize Israel as God’s Vine.
Now, Jesus told them, He was the True Vine. In order to bear fruit, we must be rooted in Him, the True Vine–not Israel, not the church–just Jesus Christ!
The vine is the source of everything for the branches. Branches can be removed, and the vine will still flourish. But if the vine is destroyed, the branches will quickly wither and die. Jesus was teaching the disciples that their complete trust and dependence must be in Him.
The Father is the husbandman, or the vinedresser, the keeper of the vineyard. As New Testament believers, we have a relationship with the vinedresser through the True Vine.
Sometimes, if a branch does not bear fruit, it must be “taken away,” or cut off, in order that it does not weaken or pollute other branches. Sometimes, these branches were simply lifted up so they could get more sun, and thereby become more productive. Either way, the vinedresser is responsible for the keeping the vineyard productive.
Even if a branch does bear fruit, it must undergo a pruning process. If you are a gardener, you know that the only way to keep some plants strong and healthy is to cut them way back in the spring or fall, knowing that new growth will be strong and healthy as a result. Branches that are not pruned begin to grow wild, tangled, and messy; and they use up nutrients from the vine that need to be channeled into new growth.
When God “prunes” us, it is for our good. It keeps us strong, productive, and spiritually healthy.
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