Focal Passage: John 15:1-8
As a kid I used to watch my dad tend to his flowers. It was a little strange to me because my dad was (and is) a big guy.
To see this large, hulking guy tending to roses, tulips, lilacs and rhododendron was peculiar. But dad loved his flowers. And, apparently, it rubbed off on me.
While I do not have anywhere near the size flower collection that my dad did, I have become a bit partial to knockout roses.
The first year that I planted them I had a bit of a learning curve, helped immensely by phone calls to my dad. One of the most shocking things my dad told me to do that first fall was to cut the roses back, way back.
I couldn’t believe they would survive, but they did. Indeed, they came back stronger and more vibrant than ever.
In John 15 Jesus shares an illustration from the world of horticulture with His disciples. He talks about being the vine and them being the branches (John 15:5).
There are at least two key elements in this dialogue that are vital for us to understand.
The first is that Jesus must be our very source for life. That is what the vine is to the branches.
The vine is the main source of nutrients, water and life itself.
A branch that is cut off from the vine withers quickly, just as the branches of my knockout roses do.
Likewise, we can only thrive when we are receiving the life giving nourishment that Christ provides.
We must remain in Him.
A second reality in this passage is that God (the gardener – John 15:1) sometimes has to prune us (John 15:2).
Though there is debate about whether “pruning” in this context is cutting back the branches or cleaning them, the point is the same. God acts on the branch in order to make it more fruitful.
He does this because our being fruitful brings Him glory.
So, remain in Christ and receive His pruning with joy, because both glorify your heavenly father.