At the end of each growing season, I used to make a compost out of vegetable and fruit peels along with leaves and grass clippings. In the spring I would use this compost to fertilize my new vegetable garden. One year an unrecognizable vine spouted through the soil. I allowed it to grow. To my surprise, this vine, which I did not purposely plant, produced three large pumpkins in the fall.
In John 15, Jesus uses the analogy of the “true vine” (v. 1). His Father is the gardener who oversees the vegetation, but Jesus is the vine from which the branches grow (v. 5). If the branches (His disciples) want to produce fruit, they must remain connected to the vine. God, as the gardener, prunes and shapes His followers as we grow in Him (v. 2).
Separation from the vine would make the branches worthless and good for nothing, only as kindling for the fire. The branches (Jesus’ disciples) that remain connected to and nourished by the vine receive the benefit of producing much fruit and being loved by Jesus (vv. 8–9). As fellow “branches,” we are connected not only to Jesus but also to one another. Christian community is important!
Jesus challenges His disciples to remain in His love by keeping His commands (v. 10). As a result of keeping His commands, Jesus’ joy will be in them to the fullest (v. 11). So, what is the command that Jesus is emphasizing to His disciples? In verse 12 He states, “Love each other as I have loved you.” In verse 17 He repeats once again, “This is my command: Love each other.”
>> Love for one another demonstrates that you are properly connected to the Vine, which in turn produces joy in your life. On this day after Christmas, is there someone you can contact who might have had a difficult holiday? Is there a way you can bless someone? This is a great time to communicate the love of Christ and encounter His joy in your life.
Lord Jesus, remove any ideas or activities that go against you. Stop us from trying to put forward ideas that contradict Your Word. Let us not wander away from You, the True Vine, but remain rooted in You.