“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser." John 15:1
The Vinedresser and His Vineyard
The role of a gardener is an arduous one that requires wisdom, patience, and an understanding of how to cultivate growth. This path is no different for vinedressers, the gardeners that take care of the growth of grapes in a vineyard.
The vinedresser’s task is to choose land with fertile soil that will help to yield a healthy crop of grapes for food and drink. Many times the vinedresser has to search beneath what looks to be barren land and, “break up the soil, clean it of its stones”, in order to find fertile ground (Isaiah 5:2).
The vinedresser’s job is not complete once he clears the soil. First, he must choose to plant the grapevine in a location that will receive direct sunlight and circulating air in order to help it grow. Once the location has been selected, then the gardener must soak the roots of the grapevine in water before planting each vine in a hole 12 inches deep, 12 inches wide, and six to ten feet apart from each other.
The grapevine is the center of life and is essential for healthy grapes to grow. Throughout the vine flow vital nutrients. If the vine is not pruned and trained, then the fruit it produces will be minimal, if anything grows at all.
A wise vinedresser “has long patience” (James 5:7), and knows that grapevines should not be allowed to produce fruit during the first years of growth. He knows that allowing this to happen will actually kill the vine because the root system is not strong enough to support the weight of the growth of grapes. The vinedresser must be astute enough to know when and how to prune the grapevine in order to yield an abundant amount of grapes.
The True Vine
One the eve of the crucifixion, Christ took his disciples into the vineyard and shared a parable they did not understand. He more than likely touched a gnarly brown vine from which clusters of ripe grapes grew and said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser”.
Christ is the true Vine, the result of God’s labor in the vineyard. He is that “finest vine” that God planted, cultivated, and pruned in order for us to grow (Isaiah 5:2). We are offshoots from the true Vine (Christ) that God tenderly and methodically planted in fertile ground.
God is the Gardener of our souls. He searched beneath what looked to be the barren land of our lives in order to “break the soil” of past experiences and bad choices we’ve made so He could prepare our hearts to plant seeds of purpose (Isaiah 5:2). He “cleared [the] stones” by removing us from toxic people and dangerous spirit-killing situations that may have hardened our hearts. He found the fertile ground within us so He could plant a desire for "the finest vine” (Isaiah 5:2) in our hearts.
Christ’s simple words, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser”, confirm that He (Christ) is the source from which we grow. We will produce an abundant harvest for God once we are connected to Christ, our true Vine, the “finest vine”.
Over the next 11 weeks, I will be sharing what Christ meant when he called for his disciples to “abide in me” that night in the vineyard, and how that same word applies to our lives through my summer blog series “Abide in Me”. We will study one verse every Wednesday between June 21st and August 30th, in order to understand what abiding in God means, and how it leads to a life of abundance.
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