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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Shelley Cramm :: God’s Word for Gardeners

Shelley Cramm :: John 15:1 – Pruning Perspective

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Pruning Perspective

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” - John 15:1

Read: John 15:1

Thicken the Plot: Psalm 110:1-7; John 6:38-40; 1 Peter 2:19-24

Though these words have age-old familiarity, we might expect Jesus to tell us that his Father is the gardener, and he is the “assistant gardener.” He is seated with God, after all, at God’s right hand; he is lifted up (Psalm 110:1, 7). Doesn’t he have authority, a title, prestige, forces at his disposal? Why does he picture himself as the commonplace vine, receiving care and correction instead of directing it?

The simplest way to prune [a vine of old growth, or vines that weren’t trained correctly] is with one quick cut, through the base of the trunk, right at ground level. Kill the vine? No! Almost without fail, the vine will bounce back in one season, because it has the full vigor of a large, established root system behind the new growth. The newly regrown vine should resume full production the very next year. — Lon Rombough, The Grape Grower, 2002

One of the most significant truths about Jesus is revealed in this simple statement: He humbled himself to become human from being divine. He relinquished power as God’s only Son, accepting the limitations of human existence, in order to do the will of the Father (John 6:38). He surrendered completely to his father’s care and tending, as a vine is under the care of its vinedresser. Though the disciples knew this would mean his death (Matthew 17:22), Jesus restated the truth as they came away from the Last Supper, the eve of their belief’s severe testing. Jesus would be captured, tried, tortured and crucified by the Roman government with the support of the Jewish chief priests, all power seeming to reside in the earthly executioners, not the Lord (Psalm 110:2). How were they to understand the severing of their Lord from them?

Gardeners, we are blessed through our life’s work with an uncanny perspective of this epic event. Jesus wanted his followers to understand the coming events as pruning, a practical method employed by a vinedresser. Were God to allow Jesus’ ministry to continue growing, there might have been a lush, rambling vine of miracles performed, ailments healed and deep camaraderie with the followers. But the fruit God had in mind to bear was reconciliation to God through the forgiveness of the sins of humankind (Romans 5:10-11). Using Rombough’s words, Jesus was cut off not to “kill the vine” but to let the “full vigor bounce back” to humankind through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7).

This devotional content is Day 2 in Shelly Cramm's "Garden Stories: Away from the Last Supper," and is excerpted the NIV God's Word for Gardeners Bible. Visit the Next Section to read Day 3.

God’s Word for Gardeners

John 15:1 – Grapevine’s Intertwined History ← Prior Section
John 15:2 – Faithful and Fruitful Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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