“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.’ John 15:1 (NIV)
Jesus, the One Who is familiar with the Father, is the only One Who could give an accurate description of our God. He does so with these words. He lifts our understanding with this analogy. He likens Himself to a vine. He says that He is like a Plant that is in the Garden of the Lord to bear fruit. And God the Father is the Gardener. What does this reflection of Heaven tell us today about our true situation?
This age we live in would try to teach us to be independent. We are taught to take confidence in our decisions and the education we have cultivated. We think we are smart. We think we have learned so much. Even when it comes to religion, we think we got things figured out. But who is left that comes to Jesus to learn what He would have them know each day? Who is looking to see what Jesus would feed them now? Who is listening to see what Christ would whisper to them of the situations we face today? Who wants to know where the Saviour would have us step right now? Who is getting down on their knees and learning of life´s more serious matters from their Lord?
It is a special Christian these days who goes beyond. They are a rare breed, those who would hear of God and press forward until they know Him as fully as they may know any other person. Yet here Jesus is describing a situation where real people like us are connected to Him as a vine is to the branches. He is saying that if we do not receive all our nourishment from Him, it is His Father´s job to see it. The Gardener will easily be able to note whether or not we are grounded in our Saviour. He will know if we are truly receiving all we need directly from our Vine to produce fruit.
As we come across these words of Jesus, what reaction do we have? Do we brush right by them? Have we heard or read them so many times before. Do they speak to us anymore? Do we get the sensation that the flavor has gone out of this teaching of Christ? Do we feel like we can already stand on our own? Do we think we have grown strong enough in faith that we do not need to receive any more from Jesus to get by?
A branch on a vine withers and dies if it does not feed off that life-giving Vine. It may be a simple analogy but the truth in it goes far deeper than we may care to imagine. The moment we think that we are strong enough to stand on our own, we cease to depend upon Jesus our Vine. The moment we start taking confidence in our own intelligence or our past decisions, we stop leaning upon Him. Can we afford to do this with the Vine that makes us strong? Can we trust our sturdy branches if they do not receive their nourishment each moment from the true Source of our strength? Should we expect the Great Gardener in Heaven to overlook any confidence we may ever place in anything short of feeding each moment from what Jesus is feeding us with now?
You are still our vine. We want our Father the Great Gardener to be pleased with our growth. We want Him to see in us healthy branches feeding ever drop life we have directly from You! We do not want to find any separation between us. We do not want to trust any strength other than that which flows in You. Let Your life-giving Spirit feed us and produce fruits of Heaven out of the bond we share with You!