I Am the True Vine
The trunk of the tree is hardest to cut down, and anyone who has tried to get rid of a stump knows just how hard that can be. The “vine” that Jesus compares himself to in this passage is that trunk, that stump. He is the means by which the life of the Father, the fountain and source of all goodness, comes to us. If we want to receive that life and goodness, we need to be grafted into Jesus, the true vine.
But no branch gets to live a “care-free life.” If there is a branch that sucks up nutrients without producing fruit, it gets cut off. But if a branch does produce fruit, it gets pruned! To the non-gardener, it might seem like both branches are being treated the same way. But a master gardener can discern the difference in a discarded and a pruned branch.
In the same way, Christians understand that the hardships of life, trials and tribulations, are disciplines which help us become more loving, more forgiving, and more Christ-like. We understand that we are not being punished, because we are still connected to the vine. God does not inflict evil on Christ’s people. But he does allow evil to mold us and shape us. We are still Christ’s in all these things, and he is still ours. He is the one who has forgiven us, and who causes us to bear good fruit in His name.
Gracious Father, keep us firmly in the vine that is Christ. Amen.