John 15:1-8 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
I Am the True Vine1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Jesus here is using the analogy of a vine and a Vinedressor and in this analogy, God is the Vinedressor and He is the true vine. Jesus is talking with his disciples. Now if you can imagine or have seen a grapevine, you will notice that it is a huge tree with lots of branches and with one main stem. A vinedressor is a person who cultivates and prunes grapevines.
So, in this analogy, God is the person who cultivates or prunes the vine. Jesus being the true vine in this analogy, which is the main stem of the vine, he will have branches coming out of him. Jesus is saying that every branch in him, that does not bear fruit, the Vinedressor, who in this case is God, takes away, and those that bear fruit, God prunes so that it may bear more fruit. The word to prune, also means to clean. To prune a vine in a practical sense, is to remove unwanted growth from the trees that bear fruits. Normally these unwanted growths are cut off using a sharp object.
The reason why a Vinedressor would remove unfruitful branches and prune or clean fruitful ones, is to ensure maximum production. It’s logical, you would rather have all your resources going towards the branches that are fruitful than to those that are unfruitful.
3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.
Now Jesus says that his disciples are already clean. Jesus has also already mentioned in Chapter 13 verse 10 that the disciples are clean. What made the disciples clean, Jesus says it is the word that He spoke to them.
Jesus said in 13:11 to his disciplines while washing their feet that not all of them are clean because he knew one of them would betray him
1 Corinthians 6:11 (ESV Strong’s Bible)
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
The above verse as well has a sense of being washed, meaning being made clean in the name of The Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. This also links to Ezekiel 36:24:27 which also talks about being cleaned from all sins. One can then conclude that being clean here refers to having repented from sins and having accepted Jesus in one’s heart. Simply put. Being clean means you beleive in Jesus Christ. The reason you beleive is because of the word that has been spoken to you.
Therefore When Jesus said to the disciples that they are already clean because of the word, it most certainly meant that they already beleive, because of the word that He had spoken to them.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
Now that Jesus had indicated to them that they are already clean, meaning they already beleive and they beleived because of the word that he had spoken to them. Jesus commands them to abide or remain in him and He in them. In other words they must continue to beleive in him and allowing him in their hearts. The benefit of this is that, this is the only way they can bear fruits. Jesus says just like the branch cannot bear fruits unless attached to the vine, neither will the disciples bear fruits unless they remain in him and him in them.
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
This is how it works, the disciples who are the branches, must be attached to the true vine first, which is Jesus. Once attached, they can bear fruits. Once they bear fruit, God will clean them so that they can bear even more fruit.
In this verse the word “abide” is a present participle indicating continued action. This means that Jesus is saying to them that, not only must they abide in him and allow him in their hearts but, they must do so continuously. Jesus says the one who does this continuously, will bear much fruits.
Jesus again repeats, showing the importance of this, if anyone does not continue to abide in him and He in them, they will not be able to bear fruits, they will not be able to do nothing of eternal value.
Remember as well that God from time to time will prune these branches that bear fruit so that they can bear even more. Pruning in my view represents hardships, troubles, pain and afflictions that takes place in a believers life as part of God’s way of disciplining us and ensuring growth in our faith. Hebrews 12 gives a good explanation of why God prunes us from time to time.
6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
As indicated above, Jesus says that anyone who does not abide or remain in him and continue to do so, he will not be able to bear fruits and he will be cut off and thrown away like a branch and dry up. Once dried up, they will be gathered and thrown in the fire.
So, now we know that God is the Vinedressor, Jesus the true vine and the disciples, the branches. We also know that for maximum production, God will remove unfruitful branches from Jesus and will clean the fruitful ones so that they can bear more fruits.
So, in summary, Jesus wants his disciples who already beleive in him, to continue to beleive in him and to allow him in their hearts. Jesus says to them that this is the only way that they can meet the expectation of God, from them, to bear fruits. Once they bear fruits, God will continue to clean them so that they can bear even more fruits. However, if they don’t continue to beleive in him and allow him in their hearts, then they will not bear fruits and they will therefore fail to meet the expectations of God and like unfruitful branches, they will be cut off, left to dry up, gathered and burned.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
Another benefit of continuing to beleive in Jesus and allowing him in their hearts is that, what ever they wish, and ask for, it will be done for them. When the disciples bear much fruit, they prove to be Jesus’s disciples and in turn, God is glorified in that.
What are these fruits?, as indicated in my previous messages, fruits are good works that result from one having being saved. Bearing fruit is living a Christ like life that glorifies God.
Now the question is, have you examined your life lately to see if the type of life you are living reflects that you abide in Jesus and He in you? If you don’t live a Christ like life that glorifies God then there is a good chance that Jesus does not abide in you and you don’t abide in Jesus. Examine your life to ensure that like the branches, you don’t get cut off, left to dry up, gathered and burned in hell on judgement day. The type of life you live, the type of fruits you produce, the type of works that you do, will indicate to you if you are saved or not.