15 “I am the true vine. My Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch joined to me that does not bear fruit. He trims every branch that does bear fruit. Then it will bear even more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain joined to me, just as I also remain joined to you. No branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain joined to the vine. In the same way, you can’t bear fruit unless you remain joined to me. 5 “I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain joined to me, and I to you, you will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without me. 6 If you don’t remain joined to me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and dries up. Branches like those are picked up. They are thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain joined to me and my words remain in you, ask for anything you wish. And it will be done for you. 8 When you bear a lot of fruit, it brings glory to my Father. It shows that you are my disciples. 9 “Just as the Father has loved me, I have loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. In the same way, I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that you will have the same joy that I have. I also want your joy to be complete.
“For apart from me you can do nothing”.
What does fruitfulness look like? Is it being successful at our job? Is it having a vast network of relationships? Is it leading and serving in a large ministry?
Practically speaking, fruitfulness will look different for each of us. What is common to all of us is that which enables our fruitfulness – remaining joined to Jesus. If we remain joined to Him and He remains joined to us, we will bear much fruit (v5), bringing glory to the Father and proving that we are His disciples (v8).
I find it all too easy to focus entirely on my potential fruitfulness, to such a degree that Jesus shifts out of focus. However, this passage suggests to me that I have to concentrate less on the fruit I am producing, and more on Jesus who enables my fruitfulness.
Jesus, I want to remain joined to You. Let every opportunity in front of me point me to You. Let us remain joined to one another for Your glory.
Written by Matt Samperi