By Gene Price
Pastor, Tumbling Creek Baptist Church, Gleason
Jesus and His disciples had left the Upper Room. They had partaken of the Lord’s Supper and now they were on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus would pray and later be arrested. Along the way, Jesus used an object lesson from the garden. By looking at the grape arbor, the signs of a vinedresser were obvious. The vines had been tended and pruned. It was obvious that someone had spent time with the vines intending to have a good harvest of grapes. The purpose of this analogy from the lips of Jesus was to remind believers of their purpose in following Jesus. Our purpose is very simple — Jesus expects us to bear fruit for Him. Often people will ask, “Why was I born?” Now Jesus answers that question. In a believer’s life, there will always be times of discouragement. Situations and circumstances will enter into a believer’s life that will hinder in the production of fruit. During these times, our life’s purpose can seem a little fuzzy.
To find purpose in life, a person must have the right connection. Immediately, there are some simple truths taught in the object lesson from our Lord. God is the gardener. Jesus is the vine. We are the branches. The one concern the gardener has is for the branches to produce fruit. If a branch does not produce fruit, then that branch cannot justify its purpose for existence. This passage gives the best definition of a Christian. A Christian is someone who is joined to Jesus Christ. A Christian is a person connected to Jesus Christ just as a branch is connected to a vine. Here in the South, a person will find moss hanging on a tree but it is not attached to the tree. Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve but only eleven disciples had a personal attachment to Jesus. Judas was like that moss in that he was around Jesus but not attached to Jesus.
To find purpose in life, a person must go through a time of pruning. Often a believer will take their eyes off of Jesus and in doing so, forget what their purpose in life is. From time to time, Jesus has to refocus a believer. This process is called pruning. How does God prune the believer? Sometimes through His Word and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, He will bring conviction. Other times He will discipline us (Hebrews 12:1-11). Pruning always hurts and is never a time of joy but it helps because it is needed.
To find purpose in life, a person must remember the goal is to glorify the Father. When a believer bears “much” fruit, then the Father is glorified. What kind of fruit glorifies the Father? A person bears fruit by winning others to Christ (Romans 1:13). We bear fruit by living a life of holiness and by being obedient (Romans 6:22). We bear fruit by having the kind of conduct that Jesus had (Galatians 5:22-23).