“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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 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. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” – John 15:1-8 (NIV)
Jesus and His disciples had just concluded the meeting in the upper room in Jerusalem, where they celebrated the Passover. Passover is the celebration of the Jews liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation. The disciples were on their way to the garden of Gethsemane. They were very confused and anxious as to what was about to happen in the days to come. Jesus was preparing Himself and the disciples for His death on the cross as a payment for our sin. In giving them this passage in John 15, He was instructing them to stay on the right path and remain a disciple.
A branch cannot bear fruit in the garden without the vine being there. In this passage, Jesus is using a metaphor to show that we are those branches. We, as believers, are instructed to bear fruits. Those fruits are love, joy, peace, kindness, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and more. Without Jesus in our life we cannot bear fruit, because Jesus is the true vine from which we can grow. If we remain close to Him through prayer and scripture, we will produce more fruits as we are instructed to do so.
When we are apart from Him we are unable to bear these fruits and can do nothing. We will wither away, fall to the ground, and be thrown into the fire and burned. This is, again, a metaphor for showing that we cannot survive without Jesus. We will not have patience, kindness, gentleness, forgiveness, joy, and more. In fact, we will have just the opposite.
He promises us in the beginning of the passage, that if we remain in Him and bear fruit, He will prune us so that we can be even more fruitful. He promises to always remain in us and help us through every step of the way.
Remaining close to Jesus and bearing fruit is not only something we should desire to do, but it is something we are instructed to do as disciples. This is one of the ways we can glorify God and grow in His likeness.