The Branch That Abides (Part 1)
Posted on January 11, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit…I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” — John 15:1-2,5 (NKJV)
When you own land, in what New Jersey considers “The Pinelands” there is one thing you can be rest assured of…trees and leaves. When the leaves are falling around the 5 acres I own, there is only one question that comes up. Who’s raking that mess up? So, I came with many different ways of doing it myself, can’t patent any of those ideas so don’t ask about’em. I tried the infamous leaf blower idea, maybe for a smaller lot. I tried a family raking party with pizza and all the goodies to go with it, but the kids are now grown and outta da house. So all that’s left is mom and dad.
To be honest with you, I’d rather go over them with my 42” riding mower until they are mulch but the dust that comes from doing that becomes incredibly thick that the average N-95 becomes filthy before I’m even into my second drive over. So my wife goes out there and rakes until she sees fit to stop (this is a “her thing” so don’t eye roll). And don’t get me started on the trees that fall and need to be turned into firewood. At the rate they’re falling in my part of “The Pinelands” I’ll be making a career change into the field of lumberjacking. “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m okay, I sleep all night and I work all day” …nah, not me, nope. Anyway…
I’m not too sure if Jesus would consider the lumberjacking trade but I do know He spoke on trees bearing fruit (even cursed one for not bearing any) and why shouldn’t He, after all, He’s a Vine AND His Father is considered a Husbandman. A Husbandman, according to the KJV Dictionary (1611), is a farmer; a cultivator or tiller of the ground; one who labors in tillage. Guess that’s why we can trace ourselves back to The Garden, all the time, every time. That was probably the purpose we were to find in that garden, to cultivate it and bear fruit, not to wear its leaves, interesting.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” — John 15:4 (NKJV)
So, ya see in today’s opening passage of Scripture has Jesus discussing four different kinds of branches. There’s the no fruit, some fruit, some more fruit, and everyone’s favorite, much fruit. It was in The Upper Room where Jesus explained for all of us just exactly what “abiding” in Him will do to fruit bearing. But there’s this bearing no fruit stuff that I may have a little off. I had been under the impression that if I’m not bearing any of the 9 fruits (see Galatians 5:22-23) I’m doomed (I know I got’s work to do but please not the hellfire) however, I’m not the fig tree in Mark 11:12-14, which is meant for the Nation of Israel (so if they don’t repent they’re doomed, got it).
As he was having a discussion with a vineyard owner, Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, author of Secrets of the Vine, asked about that branch that Jesus is talking about in John 15:2. “What do you do, cut it off and throw it away?” To which the owner replied “Oh, no, the branch is much too valuable for that. We go through the vineyard with a bucket of water, looking for those branches. We lift them up and wash them off. Then we wrap them around the trellis or tie them up. Pretty soon, they’re thriving.” Hmm…there’s a twist in this Upper Room conversation isn’t there?
John 15:2 seems to suggest that if we say we’re in Christ, and yet aren’t bearing fruit, we’re gonna cut off and tossed into a dung heap BUT the Greek word airo (which translates into “takes away”) actually means “to lift from the ground”. So, when you reread the verse, our take away shouldn’t be we’re gonna get “thrown away” but we’re gonna be lifted up and tended to. When John the Baptist tells those wacky Pharisees and Sadducees to “bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8) he’s tellin’em to produce evidence in their actions that show they actually have repented from being the worst examples of a spiritual leader ever (of which I just might be the worst).
All this time I thought I should be warning people about not bearing any fruits in their Christian lives so they aren’t doomed to the same hellfire I mentioned earlier and what I should be saying is as long as you stay connected to The Vine, The Husbandman will lift you up as a branch in a vineyard, cleanse you with water, maybe cut you off and place you in “rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:3). There’s more to come. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, and a father. He has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy, 11/2003. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at email@example.com.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24 ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’” Lamentations 3:22-24