Are you a gardener? I am. My wife and I have a raised bed flower and vegetable garden and a small orchard that we enjoy each spring, summer and fall. We have learned so much about God through the process of tilling the soil, planting the seeds, weeding the plants, pruning and caring for the vines and fruit trees, and harvesting and preserving the bounty. Without the continuous and tender care we provide to our little garden it would not produce desirable flowers, fruits and vegetables.
John 15:1-8 (ESV) – “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. … 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.
While beginning to plan for the spring planting season I was reminded of a name that Jesus used the night before he was crucified to further describe His unique “I AM” identity to His disciples. Using a parable Jesus refers to Himself by saying “I am the true vine and my Father is the vinedresser” (John 15:1-8). In prior teaching Jesus had declared, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12); “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35); “I am the Way” (John 14:6); and “I am the Door” (John 10:9).
In the parable Jesus teaches that He cares for and tends to Christians in the same manner that God tended to Him when He was on earth. God in the fullest sense … that is ALL of God … indwelled completely, through the Holy Spirit, the entire man of Jesus. Jesus faithfully and willingly allowed God to act on His behalf for His entire lifetime. He never once allowed the human side of His earthly existence to overrule God’s perfect will.
As a Christian, we are God’s garden. Just as God did for Jesus, He will do for the Christian. Jesus said we are to “abide in Him,” and allow God to “abide in us.” Then as your Vinedresser, God will tend to you as He did to the true vine, Jesus. God will remove your unproductive branches that do not bear fruit. God will prune your healthy branches causing you to bear more fruit. But make sure that you understand the two-fold condition Jesus emphasizes in His parable: “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”
At the end of His parable Jesus made a wonderful promise that you can count on given the mutual indwelling He emphasized: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
May Almighty God be your Vinedresser.
Dear Father, what a wonderful promise you have made to be my Vinedresser. May ALL of You indwell ALL of me. Remove my unproductive branches and prune me so that more fruit may be produced bringing glory and honor to You and You alone. In the name of Jesus, Amen and Amen.