Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John 15:1-11

This has been an interesting season for me without a lot of time (nor brain cells left :) with which to write. But I wanted to be sure and share with you what I found during that study I mentioned doing in John.

John chapter 15:1-11 is about abiding in Christ.

1"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
3"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
5"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
7"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8"My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.
9"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
10"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.
11"These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

When I was reading over this chapter last week, for the first time I was really struck by the fact that verse 3 didn’t really seem to fit in there. What does being clean have to do with abiding in Christ as a fruitful vine?

When I looked the word up for “clean” I was surprised and excited. The word “prune” from verse 2 is from the same word for “clean” in verse 3. The word is “katharos” and it means to “clean, purify...to physically purify by fire or the cleansing of a vine so that it is able to bear fruit...to ethically free from corrupt desire, sin and guilt; to be blameless, innocent”.

Isn’t that exciting!

I have always kind of thought negatively about that word “prune”. Abiding in Jesus sounds warm, loving, protected but being pruned by the Vinedresser just sounds...well, painful! Understanding this word better allows me to see my pruning not just as a painful cutting back and cutting out of things in my life that are not good for me or holy to present to God. My pruning is my cleansing, my purifying so that I can live free. This realization, of course, led me right into thinking about the ongoing process of sanctification that God works in us through the Holy Spirit.

Now you may have already connected these dots, but how thrilled I am to now have them linked together in my mind. I LOVE it when more of the differing concepts that I learn in the Word start to mesh and come together in my heart.

I am a slow learner, but God is so loving and patient with me. How grateful I am today for that truth!