Word for the day by Christian Educational Forum
The Vine and the Branches
In the first verse of today’s passage, Jesus refers to himself as the “true vine.” He repeats this imagery in the fifth verse as well. When something is repeated, it usually signifies that the point being expressed is important. What is the important message that Jesus is trying to convey to all of us? There are three different subjects that are portrayed in the passage: Christ as the vine, the Father as the gardener, and His people as the branches. The vine is the fulcrum point in the allegory—the pivotal point between the roots and the branches. Without the vine, there are no branches or fruit. It is the strongest part of the plant, the life-giving center by which all the branches sprout from. The vine is essential for the branch to live, grow, and bear fruit. As children of God, we will only be fruitful when we remain in Christ. When we live away from Christ, we are not living according to God’s will for us and become useless and unfruitful.
The sole purpose of the branches is to bear fruit. Unless the branch is part of the vine, it cannot bear fruit. If it does not bear fruit, the gardener will cut it off. If it does bear fruit, the gardener will prune the branch. Pruning is a technique used to allow a plant to be more fruitful. This accomplished by trimming the branches so that the plant will not expend energy unnecessarily on those areas of the plant that are not fruitful. There may be instances in our lives when we undergo situations where we feel we are being pruned but they eventually allow us to be more focused and fruitful for our God. It is through this sometimes painful process, that we are being perfected for our God. Zechariah 13:8-9 restates this point when describing how the most precious of metals are produced through a refiner’s fire.
There are two main purposes for fruit: for food and reproduction. The fruit is not for the glory of the branch but rather the vine and the gardener. The gardener will do with the fruit as he wishes, whether it is to bring it to his own home, make wine with it, or share it with others. A gardener takes great pleasure in a good harvest. Our Father in heaven is pleased when we bring Him glory. Inside the fruit, the seed is essential for reproduction and future growth. Long after the branch dies and withers, the seed continues to bring glory to the gardener in future harvests. Let us strive to allow our fruits to bring glory and honor to our Father over generations.
Prayer: Our Father in Heaven, may our goal be to yield to Your will and bear fruit for Your glory. Amen.
Thought for the day: When we live away from Christ, we are not living according to God’s will for us and become useless and unfruitful.
Tom Philip, St. Peters MTC, NJ