Close but Not Connected

I love seeing God’s design throughout nature. Even people who do not believe in the Creator often inadvertently give him credit when they explain how nature works. In his lessons, Jesus often used examples from nature in order to connect with the agricultural culture of his audience. Here is my favorite analogy, which is found in John 15:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (vs 1-8)

With the idea of God as the vinedresser in mind, here are two quick videos to show you what that passage is talking about.

This video shows the process of grafting a branch into a vine.

This video show what is possible through the work of a master grafter.

Sam Van Aken, an artist and professor at Syracuse University, uses "chip grafting" to create trees that each bear 40 different varieties of stone fruits, or fruits with pits.

There is so much symbolism…So many questions…

If God is the perfect vinedresser, how is it that some branches do not bear fruit? Were those “branches” (that is “so-called Christians”) actually ever truly a part of the “vine” (that is “body of Christ”)? Were those branches really just sitting next to the vine, intimately close (that is “sitting in church week after week”) yet never taking hold of the vine (Christ)? What caused those branches to not grab hold of the life found in the vine?

Oh, how deep we can dive into the mystery of the Gospel…

What I love about both of those videos is that they show that absolute need for the branch to be firmly implanted into the vine (you saw them wrap the grafts tightly with tape). The more air that seeps in from the outside world, the greater the chance that the branch will dry out and die. So it is with us and Christ…

We must hold so tightly to the hope of salvation. We must understand that apart from Jesus (through the Word) we will wither. If we truly grasped that, all of our attention and energy would go toward pulling ourselves as closely as possible to him, aligning ourselves with him (as you saw in the video), and guarding ourselves from the outside influences that dry out our soul.

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