“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away . . .”
I’ve been researching these few verses today.
That Jesus is the true vine is irrefutable.
What Jesus means when he says that those branches which don’t bear fruit are “taken away” is debated among Bible teachers and scholars. The two English words “taken away”are communicated with one Greek word in the original, and that Greek word is airo. It usually means “to lift up”. Some scholars say Jesus means that if you don’t bear fruit you’ll be taken away. Others say if you don’t bear fruit you’ll be lifted up in a way that will help you to connect with the vine better, so you can begin to bear fruit.
Where this controversy is concerned, I only know that I don’t want to find out the hard way which interpretation is correct.
Peter, one of the three disciples closest to Jesus, encourages us to “. . . make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)
And Peter goes on to say to us, “Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)
Paul told us what Jesus’ fruit looks like when he wrote: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control . . .” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Maybe you’re like me and you find it easy to lose sight of some of these qualities. Gentleness for instance. Jesus was gentle. I’m supposed to be gentle. Seems like that’s pretty easy to dismiss or forget. Too often I conveniently forget these qualities I’m supposed to demonstrate.
So for me, I’m going to do my best to follow Peter’s words from 2 Peter 1, and Paul’s words from Galatians 5. They seem to line up perfectly with the way Jesus said he wants us to love God and love people.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”