Yesterday our Teaching Pastor put on twitter that he was "soaking in John 15 today", and he proceeded to put "man" after that. So as I was sitting at my desk waiting on a peer to come over and look at something I whipped open my iPhone bible app and opened John 15. Dan's statement of "man", was the understatement of the day for me. Within the first few verses my mind was rolling on what an amazing picture Jesus was using in describing our relationship with Him. So here are a few of my thoughts related to this passage.
When Jesus said "I am the vine and you are the branches" in verse 5 I began to think about the relevance of the relationship between a vine and its branches and it really sort of blew my mind. In nature when talking about a vine and its branches the first thing that jumps out at me is that the branches are completely connected to and dependent on the vine. If you can imagine a fruit vine and the process that takes place to produce the fruit there is no way the branch can produce the fruit apart from the vine. The vine is the only way that the water can get from the ground to the branch which is crucial to being able to produce the fruit.
Now I have no doubt that it is not by chance that Jesus used this illustration and also was called the living water. Just as the branch must be connected to the vine to get the water needed we also must be connected to Jesus in order to get the water needed to produce spiritual fruit in our lives. The only way to become as connected to Jesus as a branch is to a vine is to be completely engrossed in the word and be tuned into the Holy Spirit. One thing also mentioned in this passage is that if a branch does not produce fruit it withers and dies. My take on this part is that something has to become between the vine and the branch. In nature there are certain parasitic vines that attach to the branches and vines and begin to re-route the water and nutrients o themselves. In the same way it is very easy to make something else in our lives be the first priority, which will redirect our energies away from the vine. This will cause us to quit producing fruit, wither and die, and be gathered up and thrown into the fire. So no matter what is going on in our lives (jobs, spouses, kids, church) we have to make sure that our relationship is Jesus is the number one priority.
It also talks about how the branches that do produce fruit will be pruned to be more fruitful. I can only imagine that if a branch had a nervous system that this would be pretty painful. However, we do have one and I think that just like in James 1 Jesus is telling us that we should be prepared to face trials in our lives because that is what will give us the necessary characteristics to be even more fruitful. God will use trials in our lives to trim off the spiritually dead areas to allow them to become fruitful areas of our life. Wow, the work of God is so good. "Man!".