By Rev. Dr. Rick Chesher
I don't know about you, but I love the passage in the New Testament about the Vine and the branches. The reason is it gives us a good feeling about how Yahweh takes care of us, but I want you to know something, I am a 21st century pastor who lives in the city, if you will, therefore I know very little about growing grapes. In fact, I know very little about growing anything in the garden. So what this means for me is I have to study a little hard to really dig into what Yahshua is telling His disciples here in John chapter 15.
In John 15:1, Yahshua says that He is the true vine and His Father is the vineyard keeper. That is pretty easy to figure out without much help, but what comes next has always trouble me some. He says that, the Father, being he vineyard keeper "removes" every branch in Him that does not produce fruit. Okay this is already over my head, so I had to begin to look at the language. The trouble I had is, we know that Yahshua is known here as the vine. The vine is the root system which the, what I would call, the trunk of the plant, and the branches are the things that have the leaves and the grapes on it. So He says every branch that does not produce He removes.
The problem is with the English word "removes". In the English it gives us the idea that we would be removed from the vine and throughout, but this word removes actually in the Greek means to lift up! Now that gives us an entirely different picture of what is happening. You see sometimes the branches hang down and fall into the dirt or mud, and they become cake with dirt or mud and left that way they will die, so the vineyard keeper takes those branch, cleans them off and puts them on this wire to rest on. This allows them also to get the sunlight they need.
Now Yahshua also says, in this passage, that we cannot produce fruit on our own. He says that the only way for us to produce any fruit is to remain or abide in Him. It was at this point I began to ask myself, what does it mean to remain or abide in Him? I am looking for the way we apply this to our own lives. So I started once again to look at the words in the original language, and that is when I discovered that how to apply it. I looked first at the word abide. The word abide in the Greek means to stay, tarry, dwell and is a verb or as we know is an action word and would describe something we are to continually do. That was helpful but stay seemed to lack total meaning for me, so I look and the word "in" in the Greek. The word "in" means to remain in a fixed position, but it also means to remain in a position of rest with. Wow! For me that opened my eyes to what He is saying. He want us to remain in the position in Him that He has placed us in, but He also wants us to be at rest with Him, or not striving against Him. The reason is for the Holy Spirit to flow through us so His fruit will be produced through us. Remember the vine produces everything to produce fruit so He is talking about producing His fruit through us. Wow what a great message for us to hear.