-Tom Dekorne, Harstville Elder
John 15:1-5 “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.
I’ve been compared to many things, but I don’t typically fancy myself as a piece of vegetation! Throughout scripture, Jesus consistently used the clear to interpret the unclear – he would use familiar examples of everyday things, or activities, to help explain the spiritual realities of life and the Kingdom of God. So what’s the deal with branches?
We all know the basic anatomy of a tree – if not, then you need to get out more! The root system is buried in the ground and that leads into the trunk which then leads out to the branches and finally ends up in the leaves & fruit. What then is the significance of being a branch? What does it mean to bear fruit?
The word “bear” in this section means “to carry.” The branch is not responsible for manufacturing the fruit, but it is simply there to carry it. So we know that one quality of a branch is to hold up and display the fruit.
What other purpose does the branch serve? In a very basic view, the branch is essentially a giant straw that takes the nutrients from the base of the tree and passes it along to the fruit. It is a pipeline between the tree & the fruit. Does the branch create the fruit? No, if the branch is taken away from the tree, both the branch & the fruit die.
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
If our focus is on manufacturing fruit, then we are missing the point and doing the wrong job – we are trying to do God’s job. Instead, we should spend our effort making sure we are tied tightly into the tree, keep our pathways clear between the tree & fruit and allow them to grow wider (by becoming more mature in Christ) and sit back and see what God intends us to hold up on display.
The wider the conduit between the root & the fruit, the more glory we are able to bear for our Father. The size, shape, color & quantity of the fruit will be God’s choosing; we need to focus our efforts on being good branches – abiding in Him.