John tells us the I am statements of Jesus. These are important because I am is the name that God gave to Moses at the burning bush. I am is the name of God. And in John Jesus expands on this understanding through the I am statements. This Sunday’s I am is the vine.
We all have heard this story from John 15:1-8 before. Jesus says, “I am the vine you are the branches. All who do not bear fruit are removed. If you remain in me you will bear much fruit but if not you will be thrown into the fire.” All branches that do not bear fruit are removed by God, the master gardener and thrown away. So you better make sure you are good and follow after God, because you will be removed if you do not do what is right and in the path of God…
Well that is not what it said. Hopefully you caught that I did not quote John 15 correctly. Now would be a good time to stop and read John 15:1-8. Here is a link to the NRSV of this text.
Did you get that. Jesus identifies himself and the father first. Then he talks about branches. Who are the branches? He has not defined that yet. It is not until later when He says that branches can not bear fruit by themselves it is only when they stay in contact with the vine that they can produce fruit. But he identifies himself and the father, then says branches that do not produce are removed. This is not what worries me. It is the next part, that all branches that do produce fruit are pruned so they will produce more fruit. So if you are connected to God and are producing fruit He is going to prune you, cut you back, and remove the parts that are in the way so you can produce more. So we will be cut and trimmed by God to produce more and better fruit. He will take each of us and trim us and mold us to bear more and better fruit. But remember He is the master gardener. He will work with us and mold us to be the best we can and apart from him we can not produce.
Jesus tells us we are the branches and we will produce fruit if we stay connected to him. So take the pruning, the waiting, the uncertainty, the questioning, the things that make no sense to us now, because God is using these things to work in and through us to help us to produce more and better fruit. Allow the master gardener to prune you and know that He is always working in and through you…