John 15 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“I am the true vine and My Father is the vineyard keeper. Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.” John 15:1-4
In the Bible, both Israel and Yisrael are described as “the vine”. The references are too extensive to list here, but a few are: Psalm 80:8-16, Hosea 10:1, Isaiah 5:1-7, Mt 21:33-43, Rom 9:6-8
In today’s passage, Yeshua informs us that He is the true Vine. That is, Israel has drawn its life, historically through Him. Some would say that statement is blasphemous, because the vine of Israel drew its nourishment & produced its fruit from God. That thinking obviously rejects the deity of Messiah, and it is ignorant of Micah 5:2, Isaiah 9:6 and especially John1:1-5;14 which states that everything was created by Yeshua.
Therefore, Israel, not being a vine unto itself, has always been subject to the vineyard Owner’s desire, either to prune or remove it from the greater Vine.
At times in Yeshua’s earthly ministry, there were hundreds…even thousands…of disciples. Yeshua was communicating that in order to be saved, our intellectual belief in Him must be accompanied by a faith that leads to obedience. Furthermore, our obedience, empowered by His Ruach (Spirit) will produce fruit. A sign of our salvation is the fruit (Growth, the signs of His in-working in our lives) we bear in His Kingdom.
The L_rd would never give us a command that was impossible to accomplish. Bearing true spiritual fruit is impossible by human means, but we can do all things through Messiah who strengthens us! Phil 4:13
Branches that do not bear fruit have an obvious disconnect from the life-giving Vine. It is up to the vine Keeper to determine whether the branch is dead and should be removed, or if it simply needs pruning, and thus should abide in the vine but with restorative care.
Even the branches that bear fruit need of “pruning” in order to remain healthy. That is to say, don’t be satisfied with your present level of fruit production! It will be seasonal. Believers should not be proud. When we are connected to the Vine, our ability to bear fruit comes solely from the vine. Our seasons of “fruit production” are managed by the vine Keeper.
G_d is always inspecting us “branches”, looking for those un-surrendered areas in us that may hinder our ability to produce fruit for His Kingdom. If your obedience to the L_rd is matched with a level of pain, perhaps He is pruning you. He may be building up your faith by placing you into situations where you must be faithful, thus raising your ability to bear fruit for Him.
~Steve Wiggins, Assistant Rabbi
Daily Devotional, Thursday, July 11, 2013