Updated: Dec 24, 2021
J O H N 15:1–2 (NIV)
"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."
Having just departed the upper room (ref. Jn. 14:31), Jesus and the disciples could be walking past a vine providing the background for His teaching. Although the text is not explicit on this point, in the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as a vine (Ps. 80:8-16; Is. 5:1-7). Jesus says, "I am the true vine...." In contrast to Israel, Jesus has fully kept the Father's purposes. Jesus fulfills what God intended for Israel.
The Father desires Christians bear fruit in keeping with His purposes. The importance of this theme develops as "fruit" or "fruitful" is used an additional seven times in the passage (ref. Jn. 15: 1-17). Pruning is an integral part of maintaining a healthy, fruitful vine. A completely fruitless branch is unproductive and removed, while a weaker branch can be strengthened by pruning and made to bear more fruit.
Branches gain their strength and nourishment from the vine. Jesus is the source of life. He desires disciples to make this known as they bear much fruit.
"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." (Jn. 15:8)
Scripture quotations taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011).