What Kind of Branch Are You?

Day 4 of “Jesus I Need You, part 1” A study by Thistlebend Ministries, as posted on Youversion

Scripture Reading: John 15:2; Isaiah 10:33-34, 11:1-5, 30:1-22, and ISAIAH 31

Hope in the Messiah

[a]Nevertheless, that time of darkness and despair will not go on forever. The land of Zebulun and Naphtali will be humbled, but there will be a time in the future when Galilee of the Gentiles, which lies along the road that runs between the Jordan and the sea, will be filled with glory.

2 [b]The people who walk in darkness

    will see a great light.

For those who live in a land of deep darkness,[c]

    a light will shine.

John 15:2 NET
Observations: What’s the Message?

The message in John 15:2 is straight from the mouth of Jesus and will seem very familiar if you read Abide, from day one of this study. In “Abide” we focused on verse five, where Christ is talking to the disciples and uses a story or metaphor actually, about them being the branches and Him being the life-giving vine. Today we’re backing up to the first part of that conversation, where Christ has not only introduced Himself as the Vine but His Father as the Gardener. This may seem incidental to our story but in light of verse two, our focus verse, and all that follows – I believe it holds great importance in the conversation as well as our application. Read the two verses together.

1I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.

John 15:1

Without the clarification of verse one we would not understand who is cutting off or pruning the branches, or for that matter why some are being cut off and what that means, as described in verse 2. In cases like this we put ourselves at risk for taking Scripture out of context. In light of this I dug a little deeper and found some helpful information at bibleref.com, It’s a little lengthy but quite helpful and interesting.

References to vines and vineyards are common in Scripture, picturing God as someone who plants and tends to the “vine” of His people. In this verse, there is a clear sense of expected growth. First mentioned is barrenness, then productivity, then abundance. In terms of our spiritual lives, this is how God expects us to progress. As part of that process, God removes and prunes the branches. While the analogy of the vine and branches is deep and important, it is like any other analogy in that it should not be taken out of context.

When Jesus refers to a “branch in me,” in this instance, the context does not imply those who are “saved.” Rather, focus is entirely on the analogy of a vine and branches. Some branches appear to be connected to the main body, but are not—those branches are dead and will never produce fruit. The vinedresser removes those branches, to allow room and resources for the living branches to accomplish their purpose. This relates to upcoming comments where Jesus refers to those who “abide” in Him (John 15:6).

In both the vine, and in our relationship to God, merely being “around” or “attached” to the concept of Christ is not enough. It is possible for a person to claim the name of Christ, and to associate with believers, and yet not have a life-giving connection to the “true vine” which is Jesus. Like a branch “in the vine” which produces no fruit, these are people who have attached themselves to the church, but are not connected to the Source of life. The One with ultimate knowledge and authority—God as the “vinedresser”—will eventually remove those false branches and discard them.

*What does John 15:2 mean? https://www.bibleref.com/John/15/John-15-2.html
Application: How Then Should We Live?

As followers of Christ we are not only meant to bear fruit, we are equipped for it, Galatians 5:22-26. We are meant to bring glory to the Father – our Gardener. We are meant to grow stronger and healthier and to be useful for Him (1 Peter 2:2 and Hebrews 5:14).

We can and should find strength and comfort in God as our Gardener. We would be wise to get to know Him more and more so that we know what pleases Him, Proverbs 4:20-22,. We need to remind ourselves throughout the pruning processes that we will undoubtedly endure during our life – that our Gardener makes no mistakes… He isn’t fickle… He loves greatly and faithfully… He sees the inside not just the outside…He is tender and compassionate… and He sees the beginning and the end.

Prayer: Response to the Word

Father, Master-Gardener, thank You for seeing the whole picture – for connecting us to “The Vine” so that we can draw breath and life and strength, and all that we need for the life You have called us to by grace through faith. Though it isn’t always pleasant, thank You for pruning us who belong to You and cutting away what does not belong so that we may grow stronger and healthier, producing even more fruit- and this for Your glory – AMEN!

Your Turn:

How connected are you to the Vine?

  • Is yours a life-giving connection or are you simply attached to the “concept” of Christ and His church?
  • How can you work on your connection to Christ, the Vine?
  • What kind of fruit are you producing?(see Galatians 5:22-23)
Want More?

Visit Thistlebend Ministries for their encouraging devotional – Be sure and check-out what comes after their devotional! It’s a great and profitable way to go deeper in the Word.

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