By Cathy Deaton
Jesus used many parables as He taught His disciples and the people who followed Him. He purposely used stories about familiar things so they could easily understand the point He was trying to make.
They were all familiar with grape vines, so it was a perfect example to use to show them how to stay connected to Him as they lived out their Christian lives after He was gone. He also taught them the danger of not producing fruit, and the great rewards for becoming abundant producers so they could make their own choice.
He gave them this teaching right before He had to leave them and return to the Father; then the Holy Spirit could come to dwell in the heart of every believer. They may not have understood it at that moment, but later they would have plenty of time to think about His words until they understood the meaning He was trying to convey.
John 15: 1-5
I (Jesus) am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman (vinedresser.) 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. Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. King James Version
In a vineyard, the vine is actually the trunk of the plant that grows out of the ground. The keeper of the vineyard traditionally keeps it cut to between 36 and 42 inches. Then the branches grow from it along the trellis.
Their natural tendency is to grow along the ground, but they become covered with dust and will not bear fruit. Then when it rains, they get dirty and mildewed. Part of the job of the vinedresser is to walk the vineyard and look for branches like this that are sick and need attention.
When he finds them, he carefully lifts them up and washes them off. Then he wraps or ties them around the trellis. It is usually not long before they start to thrive.
Left to itself, a grape vine will always favor new growth over an abundant supply of grapes. That is why the vinedresser must be vigorous in cutting away any unnecessary shoots. The only purpose of the vineyard is grapes, so pruning is the single most important technique for ensuring a plentiful harvest.
The ability of the vine (trunk) to produce growth increases over the years, but without intense pruning it weakens and produces less and less grapes. Mature branches must be pruned very hard to achieve maximum results.
For the plant there is considerable cutting and pruning in store, but the vinedresser looks at things in a completely different way. For him the future is a bright one of a maximum production of grapes year after year when he prunes correctly.
(Please finish this series by reading Part 2.)
Cathy Deaton is the author of Handbook for Victorious Christian Living, a book which gives sound, practical ways for the Christian who is truly seeking God to achieve victory in every area of their life.
God has done remarkable things in her life and she has found that He is truly a God of wonder and amazement, and wants to bless His children in more ways than they could ever imagine.
Check out her blog at http://who-god-is.com
Her site Blueprint for Victorious Christian Living takes passages of the Bible and gives the meaning of key words in the Greek or Hebrew. The articles are short and can be printed out easily for study during free time, or be read online in about 5 minutes.