The Vine and the Branches – by Pastor Dave
“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
Ephesians 4: 16
John 15: 1-17
John 15 is part of the wonderful teaching of Jesus as He speaks to His Disciples (and us) before His death and resurrection. He calls His Father the Gardener, Himself the Vine and tells us that we are to be the branches. The vine had become a picture for Israel (Isaiah 5: 1-7; Jeremiah 2: 21; Ezekiel 19: 10). It was a symbol on the coins of the Maccabees and there was a golden Vine on the Temple in front of the Holy Place. In calling Himself the “True Vine,” (vs. 1), Jesus was saying that the way to God was now through Him by faith in God’s Grace. We are to be in a relationship with Him that is so close and wonderful we are to be like branches on a Vine. The process of joining a branch to a tree is called grafting. A cut is made in a healthy tree and the branch is taped into that cut; the sap flows into the branch and it becomes part of the tree (basically!). This is a beautiful picture of how God, the Gardener, grafts us, the branches, into Jesus, the Vine, and how the Holy Spirit, the sap, gives us life. It is a life long process as we grow in and into Him.
Many factors impact that growth, both positively and negatively. Members of St. Aidan’s will know that we work to grow the Church in God in the way of the Lord’s teaching in John 15 and by adopting the Vine and Trellis approach. This latter concept comes from a book of that name by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne. The basic idea is that we work to grow the vine and not just the trellis; the trellis being the structures, support and perhaps tradition of the individual Church. So often we work on the Trellis and not the Vine. I share this because I want to highlight the growth of the Vine in our current situation. Yes, the Church may be impacted negatively but what I am seeing is the growth of individual branches because of the ‘pruning’ that the Father is completing. I see how faith is deepening, love is growing, fruit being produced and consequently the emergence of real joy not just happiness (vs. 8, 11 & 12). If you need evidence of this read our Community Blog, watch the videos of messages from members of the Church, our services and take part in the prayer ministry or Alpha Course. Ephesians 4: 16 is occurring right before our eyes!
Thinking back to Wednesday’s blog on ‘Less is more,’ I see that the Trellis may be less at the moment but the Vine is certainly more and the branches are growing, producing real fruit that will last; Be Encouraged!
To Ponder; Are you grafted into Jesus? What pruning work is the Lord undertaking in your life today? How can the Holy Spirit gift you and enable growth?
Prayer: Father as our Gardener grow us into fruitful branches in Jesus, the Vine, full of love, joy and obedience. Help us to grasp this deep love that you have for us and in love obey you and love others. Abide in us that we may fully abide in you. To you be the Glory and honour. Amen.
Praise: Abide with Me
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=476_PgSf2jQ
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.