This article originally appeared on calvarychapel.com on April 17, 2019.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2).
“Come now; let us leave,” Jesus beckoned His disciples, leading them from the upper room where they shared their last supper together.
It was the day before the Cross.
He knew what was coming. He washed their feet, shared communion, taught them, reassured them, then stood up and led them down to the Garden of Gethsemane.
As they walked past acres of vineyards in the light of the Passover moon, I can see Jesus stopping to lift up a length of the vine as He began to reveal the mysteries of spiritual gardening.
“I am the vine,” He began.
It starts with Him. The Gardener is God the Father, and believers are the branches of the vine. There are only two kinds of branches: fruitless and fruitful. Which means there are two kinds of believers: fruitless and fruitful.
One of the great principles of gardening is pruning. Vine keepers cut off the sucker shoots, the cane like branches that produce beautiful leaves, but bear no fruit. If they remain, they will sap the life of the vine and reduce the amount of water and nutrients that reach the fruit. Everything suffers.
Pruning directs as much water and nutrients as possible to the branches bearing fruit, increasing the quantity and the quality of the harvest.
Jesus needed them to know that pruning is necessary.
Sometimes it is painful. Sometimes it is a relief! God will remove things from our lives that we simply don’t have the courage or strength to remove ourselves.
Even fruitless branches can bear deceptively beautiful foliage. Just because things look good and sound good, doesn’t mean they are part of the heavenly Gardener’s plan for your life.
God may be pruning something out of your life. Let it go. Trust Him. Don’t fight it. Welcome it, for His pruning will ultimately enrich your life.
Jesus said that He came that we may have life and have it “more abundantly.”
He came to give us rich, full, productive lives that are not distracted, weighed down, diluted or hindered by activities, relationships or unnecessary obligations. He waters, nourishes, weeds and carefully prunes our lives to allow our gifts and talents to flourish so that we can be a blessing to others and glorify God.
He was about to face Gethsemane but knew it was important to leave His beloved disciples with these life-giving lessons.