John 15 1-8
Jesus said to his disciples “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
When we hear this Gospel we are to understand that we must stay close to Jesus in order to be part of those who are ‘saved’; our fellowship relies on our not being cut off by sin or denial. See how Jesus talks about himself. He is the vine; a seed planted in the earth; no longer Creator but created; joining the struggle of birth, life and death that is the dream of the Father.
Do you notice that it is Jesus himself who suffers the harshest of cuts? He is the heartwood that must be protected at any cost. The care that the Father pours on him does not allow Jesus to be free; if free means flamboyant; wasteful; tangled like a vine. Jesus is free only to complete the work of the Father; to bring forth an abundant crop. We are that crop – the wine that is our joy is the joy of the Father. The back and forth of relationship. It is only through our attachment to Jesus that we can shine with grace; only with his attachment to his Father that he can fill us with his Spirit.