Read John 15:1-8
Jesus uses the metaphor of the vineyard to describe the inter-relationship between the disciples, himself, and the Father. What is the responsibility of the branches? The vine? The gardener?
The phrase “bear fruit” is repeated four times in this passage, emphasizing the purpose of the branches. Based on the presence of the Holy Spirit in us (Jn 14:25-26), what kind of fruit should you as a branch be producing? (See also Galatians 5:22-23)
In the cultivation of grapes, one purpose of pruning is to improve the quality of fruit produced by the vine. The gardener prefers top quality fruit over quantity. So pruning, though painful, results in a superior crop. Where have you experienced God’s pruning in your life? What tools has he used to prune you? How have you responded to his pruning?
Continuing with the vine metaphor, what word does Jesus keep repeating in this passage and the verses preceding it? What does it mean to “remain” (some versions use the word “abide”) in Jesus? In the busyness of your everyday life, what kinds of disciplines help you to stay connected to Jesus?
A dead branch, disconnected from the vine, can’t bear fruit – it’s impossible. And yet we often try as hard as we can to bear fruit on our own. Jesus says, “Stop trying. Just remain in me and ask me for anything.” Try resting in Jesus, and allow him to infuse you with all the nourishment you need to be fruitful.
Who gets the glory when the branches bear fruit? In what ways has your life brought glory to God and demonstrated that you are a follower of Jesus?
Confess any tendency to strive for fruit on your own. Thank Jesus for the fruit he is producing in your life as you remain in him.