We have knock-out roses and each year around the middle of February the roses need to be pruned, cut way back, to encourage new growth and ample roses. As I walked by one bush, I noticed a branch which was broken off, completely severed from the bush. That branch will never again bear a bloom and will be thrown away.
Jesus, ever the Master Teacher, often gave His listeners lessons from their day-to-day life experiences. They would be familiar with the work of the tender of vines. They understood the need of both lopping off and purging. The analogy likely made perfect sense to them.
In John 15:4, he reminded them, and us, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”
In the next verse, he makes it clear: “I am the vine; you are the branches.” The reminder, “…apart from me you can do nothing…” is for every person who has acknowledged need of a Savior and desires to follow Him in obedience. A branch not connected to the vine becomes useless, fruitless and ultimately, dead.
So how does one “remain in Christ,” wholly connected to the vine? It’s a very human tendency to focus on self, MY life, MY family, MY ambitions, MY desires, etc. So to remain in Him, a new focus is necessary. Study His life, His words, His admonitions. Offer Him your life, your praise and your thanksgiving. He states, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love…my command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” (V. 9,12)
In following these instructions, one will be led by the Holy Spirit, who always points to Jesus. He will enable us to,”…see You more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow You more nearly, day by day,” as the song from Godspell so aptly puts it!