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"We are EXPECTED to GROW"

Oct 28th, 2013 by Dr. Edward L. Hall

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

 

          This was a concept that every Jew would comprehend.  In the Old dispensational world, the vine appeared regularly as a representation of Israel (Psalms 80:8–10; Isaiah 5:1–2, 7; Jeremiah 2:21).  As we look at this text, God, the Father owns the garden, Jesus is the vine, and his followers are the branches.  The interesting concept about this entreaty of Jesus is that God EXPECTED Israel to grow. We observe out of God’s sovereignty and his powerful protection, He provided for Israel in a way that they should have trusted in His outstretched hand. This was the very reason why Isaiah 5:1-7 mentions Israel as a vine extending from the parable of the vineyard. It was in the Old Testament where God was known as the vinedresser, the gardener; and His people are the vines.   What’s interesting and thought provoking about this analogy is God cleared a fertile field, build a protective watchtower, and planted “the finest vines… He EXPECTED to grow good fruits,  and not worthless fruits. The parable is clear in describing Israel.

             Against this framework, Jesus uttered revelation about him being the vine and his Father being vinedresser in John 15: 1.  If we look at this parable, we will recognize in the context that the disciples would be very disappointed in the affirmation made by Jesus. And even today, people are vexed because Jesus EXPECTS us to grow.  We want to grow on our own time and effort. Notice the  “I am” which is a present indicative which communicate the vine (Jesus) would not be destroyed.  But the branches (individuals) if they cannot go through what is EXPECTED of them, they would be destroyed. So we need to trust the vine for growth in all portions of our lives. However, individuals who do not abide in Him, those who are unproductive, would be together and destroyed permanently (John 15:6). We must remember that out of this text, Jesus is informing his disciples as well as us, that in Him, we all are EXPECTED to grow and bear fruit. Let us not disappoint the Father in our walk or daily movement of life.  If we are the branches and Jesus is the source and our strength, we should bear fruit in all that we do; there is no excuse for not growing.