“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.
Reflection – Katherine Bamberg
In this story Jesus shares such a beautiful metaphor about how we should live with Christ. Jesus is this beautiful vine. In order to continue to be fruitful and provide gifts, God prunes away his dead branches. We, as followers of Jesus, have our own branch and create our own vines. God is our gardener that waters and cares for us from the time we are little seeds. But as time moves on we must be pruned. God removes all the dead branches that don’t belong in our life any longer. They are the ones starting to grow thorns and weeds that stop our vine from becoming this beautiful plant the Gardener wants us to be.
In order to provide fruit, we must stay connected to our main vine. In order to live abundantly in Christ we must stay connected to Jesus. Our gifts will become rotten if the branch doesn’t get the nutrients it needs for its fruit. If we don’t remain in Jesus and Jesus in us, our branch will break off and burn. It is no longer part of our vine and now we have to grow a new branch in place. As hard as it may be, reading our bibles, doing a devotional, and going to church all help us keep our branches healthy. Worship music, podcasts, and a good Christian community to surround yourself with, it all keeps you rooted in Jesus. Whenever we actively pursue Jesus, we always remain in him. As long as we do so, our vines will extend and stay healthy for a very long time.