Truthfully, when I read this I started thinking about the wrinkled little fruit, some bitter, older women, trying to lop off the dead roses and how hot is gets. And the winner is number three, because Jesus, and wouldn’t you know it, it in the book I read all the time, John, well, He talks about pruning. And here’s the definition to boot, To lop or cut off the superfluous parts, branches, or shoots of; to clear of useless material; to shape or smooth by trimming.
He ( the Father ) 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. John 15:2
I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in Him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are gathered up, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.…John 15:5-7 I had to leave the red. But it’s blue.
And then there is verse 3, You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. So Jesus is saying because we have heard His message and believed we are saved or pruned already. And yet, there is a but we can interject, we have to remain in Him and His words in us, in order to bear fruit, or we are going to get pruned by the Father, ouch. I can feel the pruning hooks already. Seriously, as a believer and lover of words, the Bible has been a study of mine since childhood, still I know I have been pruned.
I do apply it to my life and pray it over myself and others. The Hebrew word is zamir, pronounced zaw-meer, and it means trim or prune, such as twigs. This word carries a masculine connotation, He, the Father is pruning, lopping off the rough edges, like a diamond cutter, He will sling us on the potter’s wheel, forge is in a fiery furnace, to purify us like fine gold and His words.
The Greek is kathairo, kath-ah-ee-ro, I cleanse, purify, prune. Isn’t that great? We are pruned to begin with, and as we go, and to bear more fruit. Jesus also spoke about a fig tree, He cursed it because there was no fruit. It was not in season, but it had leaves, it was pretending to have fruit so He cursed it. Our lives are full of His blessings, so are we calling curses by pretending to remain and bear fruit, when in truth we study so little and are really perishing for lack of knowledge, sadly, many are.
Pruning is also mentioned in connection with jubilee, every seven years letting the land lay and Sabbath Rest, the finished work of God in Genesis and of Jesus in Hebrews 4. So when we are pruned well enough, our souls good ground, open to jubilee, we are able to rest and we will bear much fruit. Maybe it doesn’t hurt so bad after all.
Works that were done in vain will burn like wood, hay and stubble, but those done in love and grace will be like gold, faith by works is dead, our salvation is a gift. It is by grace alone and we can’t earn it, but we should desire to do what He planned for us.
I hear people always talking about not judging, Jesus doesn’t want us to but He said you would know a tree by it’s fruit good or bad. Matthew 7:18, and many who even call themselves believers are deceiving themselves, calling good, evil and evil, good. Isaiah 5:20. Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33.
One bad apple, can spoil the basket. I would rather be a good apple tree, or maybe peach, since I’m from Atlanta, we also have groves of pecan trees, and apple orchards in north Georgia.
Of course, since He uses the vine illustration as well we are talking about vineyards. Grapes do just grow and hang there in clusters, sort of like a family or group of bloggers, they just absorb the rain and sun and rest, in the vine.
I have to say that little foxes do spoil the vines, and remember Samson using them to burn the vineyards, a word of advice, we don’t need to sweat the small stuff, pruning is good enough. And wouldn’t it be nice to sculpted by the Master into one of those fancy shrubs? Rebecca Jones / Murilo Fulgosi, pexels, thank you.