The Upper Room Discourse 25 Rabbi Michael Weiner
John 15:1 I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He trims so that it may bear more fruit.
All of a sudden, Yeshua gives us a word-picture of a vine. It seems to come out of nowhere. At the end of chapter 14, Yeshua says, John 14:31b Get up, let’s go from here! Then the next thing we read is Yeshua’s vine analogy. Maybe Yeshua and His disciples did get up from the upper room. Then, on the way to Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives they passed a vineyard. At that moment, Yeshua points to it and says, “I am the true vine.”
After all, the disciples had already shared the communion cup with Him. They would already have wine (the fruit of the vine) on their minds, and still had that taste in their mouths. This symbolic teaching is presented through the first 8 verses of John 15. It brings to mind Romans 11. Although in Romans 11 we switch from vines to trees, the important theme is a focus on the value of being grafted in.
In Romans 11, Paul writes about the blessing of being grafted into a holy root. Romans 11:16b … and if the root is holy, so are the branches. He then addresses two types of being grafted in, wild branches and natural branches, symbolic of both non-Jewish and Jewish people. He then explains the value of having both.
Romans 11:11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be!…  But if some of the branches were broken off and you – being a wild olive – were grafted in among them and became a partaker of the root of the olive tree with its richness, [18a] do not boast against the branches … [+23b] for God is able to graft them in again.
This little detour was good, but I want to return to our subject verse and the value of being fruitful. The fruit of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23a But the fruit of the Ruach is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Fruit is always a matter of character growth, which is hard to measure.
Both gifting and fruit are from God. However; gifting and fruit should never be confused or mistaken one for the other and fruit should always be valued above gifting. It’s a fine line (between gifting and character), and we know that God is always maturing our character.
One other important distinction, fruit is grown in character, not in gifting. Do you want to improve your gifting, take lessons. Do you want to grow more fruit, also take lessons. Character lessons take place as we read the Bible, as we pray, and as we fellowship with like-minded believers. In short, fruit is the produce of a changed life.
Change isn’t easy. It is always more or less difficult, and what makes it more (or less) difficult is how much we resist it. Yeshua is saying the Father will “trim” our branches to bring forth more fruit. Sometimes (even often) “trimming” hurts.
Be assured the Lord is tending His garden and pruning us back for our benefit. God loves you and wants you to bear more fruit. How do I know? “The Bible tells me so.”