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©Clay Eldridge

Chapter 15:1-2 (ESV)

Posted on September 06, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 15:1-2 (ESV) - “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Question to consider: How does God prune the church?

Back in chapter 10, Jesus proclaimed that He was the Good Shepherd which contrasted the religious leaders of their day who were false shepherds and hired hands. The false shepherds could be compared to the Sadducees who may have held a divinely appointed office, but they used the sheep for their own financial gain and treated them cruelly. 

The Pharisees were not even shepherds but “hired hands” because they appointed themselves as authorities. There was no appointed office of the Pharisee in the Old Testament. They came about during the exile when there was no temple, and the people assembled or “synagogued” around the reading of scripture. In itself, the synagogue was a good thing, for God comes to us through His word, and the establishment of the synagogue allowed the word of God to spread well beyond Israel into Gentile lands.

The Pharisees, however, supplemented God’s word with traditions. The traditions came about as a hedge of protection around the Law to help people keep from breaking it. They believed these traditions were from God, but as Christ pointed out in His discussions with them, they received them from their father, the devil. Anytime we put words in the mouth of God that He did not say, we misuse His name.

In today’s passage, Jesus gave His final “I am” statement which pointed to Himself as the true vine. Israel had been depicted in the Psalms and Prophets as a vineyard. A good example is Isaiah 5 which begins with, “Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.” (Isaiah 5:1-2)

Israel yielded “wild grapes” in the sense that its teachers produced disciples who got further and further away from the teachings of scripture and mixed God’s word with the practices of the surrounding nations. In declaring Himself to be the true vine, Jesus whittled the entire vineyard down to Himself alone (true Israel), and He affirmed that the Father was the vinedresser who trimmed off or judged those who deviated from Him or preached falsely in His name. Those who belong to Christ, the Father prunes (read as disciplines) so that they bear more fruit for Christ. Whether you view the fruit as works of faithful believers or as disciples, the idea is that the Father intervenes in the lives of His church so that His will is done on earth, and His kingdom stretches to the ends of the earth.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for disciplining us as Your children. Help us to learn from this so that we may bear good fruit and see Your kingdom multiply on the earth. Amen.