“I am the vine, you are the branches.”
When we teach on this passage, or even just meditate upon it, the question typically arises:
What is the job of the branches?
Usually in order to make a point (a valid point no less) preachers will expound for quite some time about the job of the branches being the bearing / producing of fruit. No idle church members! No way!
You MUST bear fruit. If you don’t you die. If you die you are thrown in the fire.
Can’t let that happen…..
So get started — bear some fruit. Make disciples. Tell someone about Jesus. Teach a class. Mow the church lawn. Wash the preacher’s car…..
Just do something. Make sure you are bearing fruit or the summer heat will be the least of your worries.
That isn’t what Jesus said.
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.
Yes, the verses just before these record the words of Jesus concerning his father being a gardener willing and able to prune and cut away those branches that aren’t bearing fruit. However, the fruit is the result of the branch doing it’s main job — Remaining (abiding in some translations).
Remain. Stay put. Stay attached. Don’t wander off.
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.
We cannot produce fruit. The vine produces fruit. The vine produces fruit by way of the branch that is attached and willing to accept whatever the vine offers.
Stay put. Abide. Remain. Hang on. Don’t let go……