“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener” John 15:1
I do not have a green thumb and it is safe to say that I would have a hard time keeping a cactus healthy that only has to be watered 3 times a year. That being said, the imagery in this passage instills a natural feeling of abundance and bounty. When I think of our Savior I can use this as one of the many visual representations of His presence among us. While Christ was on Earth he was cultivating the soil that His salvation would be planted in. People in early Christianity were an agrarian society so the images of lessons taught through a farming lens are very powerful. The statement that Jesus is a vine would be directly relatable to a long, sustaining, and living organism that has many branches that can be evaluated as individual pieces that are part of something larger than themselves. Each branch can be either a positive or negative influence on the plant as a whole.
The gardener in this passage brings to light a feeling of comforter and nurturer that will take care of His crops and plants to make sure they are bountiful. If there is a part of the vine that is unhealthy and hindering the fruitfulness of the plant, then it will be sheared off. I do not see this as being done out of malice but as being done out of love for the harvest. As a metaphor, I see our health as a body of Christ being managed by a loving God that is concerned for the harvest of our salvation and will remove unhealthy parts of our lives to ensure that we our bountiful.
In our own lives, we can become stronger friends, family, and followers of Christ if we remove things that are unhealthy in our lives and keep the good parts of our lives from flourishing. I think about the opportunities that we have to use our time and talents to show love to our friends and family and I believe that we have a need to nurture and fertilize that opportunity to be fruitful. The interesting thing about this passage is that I imagine this vine being a fruit bearing vine like a grape vine. The vine itself is not what I think about being consumable but the grapes that a healthy vine can produce. Now grapes and raisins being a byproduct of this vine are perfectly normal but in the context of scripture and our lessons about the life of Christ I think about wine.
Christ is the vine which produces a bountiful grape harvest…that is converted into wine…and then that finished product symbolizes the blood of Christ shed for our salvation. That last sentence is a step by step image of the process of our salvation which starts with a base (Christ) that has a product (Humans) that is eventually offered salvation (Christ’s blood). I am thankful that we have such a healthy vine to grow off of and my desire is that I constantly fertilize by branch on that vine as His follower and can be a positive and healthy branch of the body of Christianity.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son who you sent down to become a vine for us all to grow off of. I pray that you will continually remove the unhealthy things in my life that keep me from being a healthy and flourishing branch on the vine of Christianity. I know that I have to constantly keep my faith and relationships from withering on such a fertile vine but I am thankful that you have given us the salvation to make all things possible. Amen