Reading the Word
John 15:1–8 (ESV)
1 “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. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Understanding and Applying the Word
Jesus is the true vine and his disciples are the branches. This illustration was used by Jesus to teach his disciples that they must remain in him in order to bear fruit. It is the vine that supports the life and vitality of the branches. Branches that are dead and do not produce fruit will be pruned and burned.
Disciples of Jesus are called to faithful obedience and service to the Lord. He has called us to make his kingdom our top priority, forsaking our own desires. We must die to self in order to gain life in Christ. However, it can be easy for the things of this world to derail our faithfulness. We can get tangled up in all kinds of other pursuits that keep us from living and proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Jesus’ words are a reminder and warning that those who truly belong to him produce fruit. Their lives evidence the reality. Any branch connected to Jesus, the true vine, will produce the fruit of Christ.
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