Today in Acts, we see more discussion about whether new believers needed to be circumcised and obey the Mosaic law. We also see Paul and Barnabas reporting in Jerusalem what God had done with them. In today’s Gospel reading from John 15, we hear Jesus say, “I am the vine, you are the branches…without me you can do nothing.”
Where I’m from in Florida, we often get these weedy vines that seem to come out of nowhere and take over a bush or tree. If you can’t find the roots, you cut off the vine as low as you can. When you do, everything from that point up dies. It always gives me a stark reminder of Jesus’ words. If we cut ourselves off from Him (sin), we begin to whither away and die.
Jesus also speaks about the pruning process. “He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” Now, I know that plants don’t have a central nervous system, but if they did, I would imagine that the pruning process would be very painful. A branch doesn’t have to be dead to be pruned. You cut it off if it is not bearing fruit. So it is with us. Those things in our lives that are not bearing fruit for the Kingdom – addictions, anger, lust, jealousy…the list goes on and on – must be pruned away. That can be very painful, can’t it? But it is only then that we will truly bear good fruit. God will see you through the pain.
Father, we ask you to prune away from us all the things that keep us from bearing fruit. We give you glory in the pain, and offer our fruit up to you. Amen.
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