John 15 1-8
The Vine and the Branches
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 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. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Just as the branches cannot live and produce fruit without the vine, we cannot live a fulfilled life without God. True – we can have material things but these are transient and any joy they bring will ultimately not be lasting. The bearing of fruit that Jesus refers to is about our becoming closer to God and more like Him and this is what will bring us true happiness and ultimately the everlasting life that He promises. This does not happen instantly but is an ongoing process throughout our spiritual lives, while the “pruning” referred to is our leaving behind ungodly things such as bad habits, love of material things or the ill treatment of others.
A society without God becomes uncaring and selfish as people turn to other things; immorality, the pursuit of wealth, and other ruinous pleasures such as alcohol and drugs. If however we follow the path towards God and remain attached to the vine that is Jesus, we can begin building a caring society where fear, inequality and selfishness are things of the past… Let us then be seeds of the beginning of the Kingdom of God.