29th August 2012

Be Fruitful

“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit.”
John 15:8 (NRSV)

I wonder if you have ever inspected a vine close up, and if you have, did you look closely at the branches and, most importantly, at the fruit that had been produced? That’s important, because producing fruit is what a vine is all about—simply put; it’s all about fruitfulness. The one thing that excited me most as I inspected my vine, was the fact that the precious fruit was on its branches, but those branches were very short and strong, so the bunches of grapes weren’t left waving in the breeze a long way from the vine. The grapes were held right up tight against the main stem, which, if you think about it, is the safest place for them to be!

In John’s gospel, Jesus and his disciples had just finished the supper in the upper room and were about to head for the garden of Gethsemane, where Judas was to betray Jesus. Jesus took this final opportunity before his crucifixion to teach his disciples and pray with and for them. Here in John 15 he tells them the parable of the True Vine. He develops this vine analogy by telling his disciples that He is the vine, his Father is the vine-dresser and they are the branches. What a beautiful, intimate, loving and productive relationship. Let’s read these words of Jesus from the NKJV: He tells them in verse 4, “Abide in me and I in you.” Here, he is directing them away from activity, because ‘abide’ means ‘tarry, stay, linger, remain, dwell, be at home with’.

Think of the place where the branch meets the body of the vine—that’s where the abiding happens. That’s the place where the sap, which contains all the nutrients that the vine draws up from the fertile soil, is passed to the branch and where the life of the vine becomes the life of the branch. This vibrant life of the vine is essential for bearing abundant fruit; this connection is absolutely vital and will determine how fruitful we are. Because, as He goes on to say here in verse 4, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” And verse 5, “without me you can do nothing!”

Our close connection with Jesus is what causes us to bear fruit; and that fruit is what the Father, (the Vinedresser), is waiting for. Fruit takes time to grow and ripen and that demands patience, perseverance and a connectedness which draws spiritual nourishment from Jesus; allowing the power that flows through him to flow through us and bear much fruit, and this fruitfulness glorifies the Father! (Verse 8).

Glory to you, Father! Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this fruitful vineyard, with the privilege of abiding in the True Vine and allowing him to produce precious fruit in our lives.

Study by Cliff Neill

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