· Jesus is the vine
· God is the Farmer
· Unfruitful branches are cut off
· Fruitful branches are pruned so that they will bear more fruit
It always begins with God, more specifically; humanity begins with Christ, who poured out His life so we could get to God. God is the Farmer. A farmer is hoeing and tilling up the ground, preparing it for seed and then caring and tending to what is growing. The farmer prunes every branch that is producing so that it will bear more fruit and cuts off every branch that doesn’t bear fruit. He tells us how he prunes – nothing is left to our guessing. He says we are already pruned back by the message he has spoken. When we hear, really hear these words, it does something to our hearts. That’s the living action of the Word of God. Pruning and cutting off are the main actions of these few verses, not the being fruitful. Actually it says we are to be more fruitful. The fruit in this chapter is maturity, “maturing as my disciples”. Most of the action is in down-sizing! There is a bon-fire that burns up the deadwood; those branches that are not connected to the vine, to Jesus who is the source of life, which literally is love.
Verse 5 says, “when you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. I don’t think God wants us to use a ‘how to’ manual to get some fruit growing so we can be fruitful. The fruit just grows out of this relationship in the vine, this wonderful, intimate, organic love affair that matures. I suppose, if you have to have a manual, it would be a manual about having a relationship with eternal love. Not a manual about getting saved, but the everyday, living, breathing, being transformed into the image of God life of a disciple, who is maturing. There is no work on our part to salvation – it was completed on the cross, but the maturing as a disciple is the work in John 15. So get ready for those pruning sheers and enjoy the new look!