Vineyard Care 101

“As a result of Jesus’ work, the branches flourish and produce excellent fruit, which brings joy and glorifies God. The branches must simply stay connected.” By Kristen Powell

How does tending to a grapevine reveal God’s simple plan for you to thrive?

At their first meeting, Jesus invited His disciples to “follow” Him (John 1:43), and on their last day together before His death, He closed their years of training by teaching them to “remain” in Him. Remain, also called “abide,” means much more than simply following. 

Look at John 15: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2, NIV). “Remain in me, as I also 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” (John 15:4, NIV). 

Jesus loved visual illustrations and frequently used analogies to illustrate spiritual truth. This vine analogy makes sense if you understand grapevine care. The people with Jesus in the first century in Israel probably walked past vineyards daily. Wine was safer than water and consumed at both celebrations and ordinary mealtimes. The disciples probably knew a few things about grapevines. 

One grapevine can produce 24-40 clusters of grapes. Each grape cluster grows on branches that shoot up from the arms of the central vine. An experienced gardener trains the branches to develop along the vine. Once they start producing buds, the gardener prunes these “starts” so that each branch only produces two clusters of grapes. The grapes produced this way are larger, juicier and healthier than those grown on an unpruned branch. Diseased or unproductive branches are pruned off the vine so the vine’s energy can nourish the other branches. 

The strong vine supports 10-20 branches while spreading roots deep into the soil to send nutrients and energy into the branches. The branches produce a showy display of vibrant leaves and beautiful fruit, but the vine is the source of all this goodness. 

In verse four, the word “remain” can also mean “live in.” Jesus commands us to stay connected to Him as a branch that remains connected to a vine. This is your action step: To live in Jesus, abide in Him and remain in Him. These verbs all imply an ongoing constant connection. Notice that Jesus pledges to stay connected to you! 

Jesus provides strength, support, nutrients and energy for His “branches.” In verses 7-11, Jesus also offers answered prayers, love and joy. As a result of Jesus’ work, the branches flourish and produce excellent fruit, which brings joy and glorifies God. The branches must simply stay connected.  

Dig Deeper

Are you just following Jesus, or are you abiding in Him? Imagine an unattached branch trying to produce a cluster of grapes. Impossible, right? How frustrating and discouraging for the branch! Have you ever found yourself striving to love difficult people, or acting like Jesus when you aren’t staying connected to your Source?

John 15:4

Daily Reading

Week 1
  • May 1: John 15:1–4
  • May 2: John 15:5–6
  • May 3: John 15:7–8 
  • May 4: John 15:9–11
Week 2
  • May 5: John 15:12–15
  • May 6: John 15:16–17
  • May 7: Matthew 22:36-40
  • May 8: 1 John 3:23
  • May 9: John 13:34–35
  • May 10: Galatians 5:22–23
  • May 11: Galatians 5:13–15
Week 3
  • May 12: Galatians 5:16–18
  • May 13: Galatians 5:19–23
  • May 14: Ephesians 5:8–11
  • May 15: Colossians 1:10–12
  • May 16: Matthew 28:18–20
  • May 17: Micah 6:8
  • May 18: Psalm 145:17–19
Week 4
  • May 19: John 6:35–37
  • May 20: John 14:23
  • May 21: Isaiah 43:1–7
  • May 22: Isaiah 43:3–4
  • May 23: Isaiah 43:5–7
  • May 24: 2 Corinthians 6:16
  • May 25: 2 Corinthians 13:11
Week 5
  • May 26: John 14: 16–17  
  • May 27: Colossians 2:6–7
  • May 28: Galatians 2:20
  • May 29: 1 John 4:7–10
  • May 30: 1 John 4:11–13
  • May 31: 1 John 4:15 –16

Scripture illustration by Ella Lama

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