Tag Archives: John 15:1

My Father is The Vinedresser

John 15:1. Jesus says that His Father is the Vinedresser.

Let’s look at the second part of John 15:1

“… and My Father is the vinedresser” A vinedresser, or husbandman, is not merely a farmer. Grapes are more than an annual crop that is pulled up after harvest and forgotten. Here in New Hampshire, our growing time is not long. When my husband and I plant our garden, we know it will only be for a few short months. Come Fall, we harvest whatever has grown and we pull up the rest and put it in the burn pile. We do not have much of a chance to get to know our plants.

Not so, with grapevines.

The vinedresser’s grapevines remain with him for decades. He comes to know each one in a personal way, much like a shepherd with his sheep. In early Israel, the branches of cultivated grapes were either allowed to trail along the ground or were trained to grow over a pole. When the stems were trained along the ground the grape clusters were propped up to keep them from contacting the soil and rotting.  Vineyards were smaller and the vinedresser could know each vine. He knew how the vine was faring from year to year. He knew which ones were more productive and healthier than others. He would know what they responded to and what special care each one needed.

Much like us, each vine has its’ own personality ( so to speak) and the Vinedresser knows each one. He has been caring for each vine for years. He lovingly nurtures it, pruning off the dead areas in the correct amount and at just the right time. He fertilizes it, giving it the nutrients to grow strong and healthy. When the fruit or branch is dragging in the dirt or is low on the ground, He gently lifts the branches by propping them up and tying them. He is involved in the care and He takes measures to protect them from insects, disease

So, when Jesus calls His Father the Vinedresser, He is the only One. Again as Jesus uses the as a definite article to describe Himself in the first part of the verse in John 15:1. (See my previous blog post titles, “Jesus is The True Vine”). In sentences and speaking, we use the as a definite article when there is just one of something in that place.

As Jesus earlier described Himself as The True Vine, now Jesus is describing His Father, the Vinedresser, the Only Father, the only Vinedresser in charge of the branches. He is also describing Him to the disciples and to us in terms of His relationship to us, His attitude toward us, and His action in our life.

He cares for them (and us) personally and He is the only One wise enough to know us, to know our heart, to know our potential…to know exactly what to do to make them (and us) fruitful. God alone is responsible for the results. We cannot always see what the outcome will be. We must trust the vinedresser and His process.  

Rest assured, my fellow branches…with such a caring and intimately involved Vinedresser, as His branches, we can experience complete confidence and security.

Jesus is The True Vine

In John 15:1 Jesus says that He is the true vine

We are going to look at the first part of that verse today.

“I am the true vine…”

The True Vine. When Jesus describes Himself as the vine, He calls Himself the “true” vine. By “true” He means, “genuine, real, authentic.” Those of you who know me well, know that I love grammar and parts of speech. I noticed that He uses the word the — to describe Himself.  In sentences and speaking, we use the as a definite article when there is just one of something in that place. Here Jesus declares, I am “the” true vine, not “a” vine or one of the vines. But the True Vine.

Why does He say the “true” vine? What is happening in the culture? Who or what is being followed?

According to the NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, the word used here is Alethinos (al-ay-thee-nos’) Adjective

  • Definition: real, true, genuine
  • The opposite of what is imperfect, defective, frail, uncertain.

 Who or what is the vine that was not true?

For Jesus to say it this way, Himself being “the” true vine…it must be in some type of contrast to something else that the disciples might have considered the true vine. What could that be?

Maybe following the Jewish law at the time or the many works and rituals that the Pharisees told people to follow. Looking forward in Galatians 2, we read about a dispute between Peter and Paul, it seems it is more likely to do with the thinking at that time,  that a person is part of God’s family simply by being joined to the nation of Israel; by being of Jewish descent… Jesus says they need to be joined to Him. In the Old Covenant, the vine is the symbol of Israel as God’s covenant people.  Jesus makes a new covenant. He is the true vine, the true Israel, of which all believers will grow from. He wants to make sure they understand that they need to stay connected to Him. To obey what He told them and to practice what they saw Him doing.

And it goes for us too…. As we can see all around us… the “world” certainly values other things, believing there are other ways to God, and allowing idols to fill our lives. Those worldly systems and beliefs contrast with who Jesus is saying He is. We need to be discerning. To follow Jesus, accept No substitute!

Jesus says in John 14:6, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I love this verse! Again, Jesus is using the definite article. The Way. The Truth. The Life. The Only One.

Question for us to ponder—Are there things in the world that look genuine to us, that look like the truth but they are false?

Bear Fruit

Jesus tells us in John 15:1-2, “I am the vine and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

In verse 2, I had to take a pause. I have read that verse many times. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit”, Jesus is saying, “the Father takes away.”

Wait! Wait a minute. If we are in Jesus, how can that happen?! My take on it is… some of those branches may “appear” to be connected to Jesus, the Vine… but are not—those branches are “dead” and will never produce fruit. Perhaps they are those who sit in a comfy pew and sing all the right “religious” songs and say all the right “churchy” things, but their hearts are far from God. (Matthew 15:8-9 and Isaiah 29:13) God, the vinedresser removes those branches, so that the “living” branches, those truly “abiding” in Jesus can accomplish their purpose.

Cucumber on the vine

Have you ever looked at a vine? Let’s look at one of my cucumbers on the vine…(Isn’t this baby cucumber so cute!) When the branches stay connected and get all their nutrients from the vine—they bear fruit, they bud, blossom into a flower, and through a maturing process—become a full sized cucumber—identical fruit to what that vine produces. They must stay connected. They cannot just show up on Sunday, grab a few sips of the Holy Spirit and expect to bear the fruit of the Spirit. It is an “all in” relationship. NOT a religion or merely an affiliation with a church.

In both the cucumber vine, and in our relationship with Jesus, we cannot just be “around” or “attached” to the concept of Jesus. That is not enough. I think it is possible for a person to claim the name of Jesus and miss Who He Is. The Great I Am!

I think it is possible for a person to go to church and associate with believers, even think they are doing all the right things, yet not have the life-giving benefits of being fully attached and fully abiding in the TRUE vine.

Many years ago, I had an ivy. I was watering it one day and as I moved it to soak the soil, one of the branches broke. Not all the way through, but almost. It was such a beautiful branch, healthy and green. I did not want to lose it. Thinking I was so smart, (bear with me) I got out my Scotch tape and taped it back together. You can probably guess what happened. For a few days, all seemed well. It was going to make it!

Nope, sad story. At the end of a week being only partially attached to the main vine, it shriveled up and died.

We can be like that. We can join a church, sit in a pew every Sunday, tithe, sing all the praise songs, shout out an amen when the message is good, and yet—be so far from Jesus. We can be attached to the church, or attached to the idea of God but not connected to the Source of life. Eventually, God the vinedresser, the One with ultimate knowledge and authority—will remove those false branches and discard them.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be discarded. How can we bear fruit?

Jesus says in John 15:6 (NKJV) “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing.”

We must “abide” in Him and He will abide in us. His life source flowing through us. Producing the fruit of the Spirit as we totally depend on the Vine for all things, all direction, all wisdom, all power to accomplish His will in our life.

Jesus was crystal clear in saying, We can do NOTHING without HIM. And in case we think “we” chose Him. He goes further in John 15:16 (NKJV). “You did not chose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.”

He has all the POWER, He gives us DIRECTION, He has CHOSEN us. He has APPOINTED us. The FRUIT comes from Him. Fruit that comes from Him REMAINS. It does not die on the vine but is His LIGHT to others. His LIFE BLOOD flowing through us produces FRUIT that RESEMBLES HIM! How cool is that!

We need to fully obey and abide in Him. Hold tight to the VINE. He does the rest! THANK YOU, JESUS!

You are CHOSEN, & APPOINTED to BEAR HIS FRUIT! You are EQUIPPED, now GO!

See you in the garden!