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

Shelley Cramm :: John 15:2 – Faithful and Fruitful

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Faithful and Fruitful

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. ” - John 15:2

Read: John 15:2

Thicken the Plot: Psalm 103:8-14; Isaiah 53:4-6; 2 Corinthians 5:7

God spoke his intent in the beginning for humankind to “Be fruitful, and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:1), and the method for increasing fruitfulness is to prune the fruit tree or vine. Though at first impression God’s Words of cutting and pruning seem harsh and abrupt, actually they relate God’s faithfulness to his purpose, his integrity to do what he says he will do and his leadership as our Father.

Author T. V. Munson, in his heirloom book, reminds us just how much cutting is normal to the practice of tending grapes. He describes a “pruner” as a discerning judge, knowing the producing capabilities of each grape species.

At second year’s pruning and others following, the old arms with all the bearing shoots on them are cut off down to the new arms and the new arms cut back to lengths they can fill with fruit and well mature. In this, critical judgment and knowledge of capabilities of different varieties are more required in the pruner than in any other of the training work. — T. V. Munson, Foundations of American Grape Culture, 1909

Likewise our Father the gardener wields his shears with wisdom, mindful of our individual needs. “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed” (Psalm 103:13-14). Knowing our capabilities and the direction he intends for us to grow, God metaphorically and compassionately cuts back things from our lives.

This Word is not about being cut off from God’s saving grace, lest the severity of these words leave us worried that we have not done enough to yield our salvation. Our fears are exactly right: We haven’t done enough. We can’t do enough to save ourselves; salvation was the fruit Jesus came to bear (Isaiah 53:5-6). As the night with his disciples drew to dawn, the saving work of Jesus grew to its fullness; they were near the epic moment of Christ winning back our righteousness and peace.

Prayer: Holy Gardener, you have done everything needed to bear fruit in me and only you know the nuances and practicalities of applying this metaphor to my real life events. By your wounds I will heal from pruning (Isaiah 53:5). May I live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

This devotional content is Day 3 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 4.

God’s Word for Gardeners

John 15:1 – Pruning Perspective ← Prior Section
John 15:4 – In the Vinedresser’s Company 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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