We Bear Fruit

How Shall We Love

Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B

Throughout the three weeks of this series, the theme of giving glory or glorifying God arises again and again, which raises important questions for worship planners and leaders: "How do we give God glory?"

John 15:1-8, NIRV

The Vine and the Branches

15 “I am the true vine. My Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch joined to me that does not bear fruit. He trims every branch that does bear fruit. Then it will bear even more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain joined to me, just as I also remain joined to you. No branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain joined to the vine. In the same way, you can’t bear fruit unless you remain joined to me.

5 “I am the vine. You are the branches. If you remain joined to me, and I to you, you will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without me. 6 If you don’t remain joined to me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and dries up. Branches like those are picked up. They are thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain joined to me and my words remain in you, ask for anything you wish. And it will be done for you. 8 When you bear a lot of fruit, it brings glory to my Father. It shows that you are my disciples.

New International Reader's Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


A bunch of grapes on a vine.


I brought some fruit with me today. (Show the children the fruit on the vine.) Do you like to eat fruit? What is your favorite? (Allow children to answer.) That’s interesting. You had many different answers when I asked about your favorite fruit. Have you ever seen fruit as it grows? Some fruits, like blackberries, grow on a bush. Others, like apples, grow on a tree. Still others grow on vines. Do you know what a vine is? (Allow children to answer.) That’s right, some fruit grows on a vine. That vine comes out of the ground to provide the nutrition needed to grow and produce the fruit.

The word produce is interesting as well. It has different meanings based on how it is used in a sentence. It may be confusing, but the word produce can be used differently when we talk about fruit growing on the vine. In one way, the word may be used to describe fruits or vegetables. In that case, it would be pronounced, PRO-duce. But another way the word may be used is to give birth or rise to, such as a tree producing good fruit. A vine, then, produces produce. That sure sounds weird, doesn’t it? (Allow children to respond.) Fruits that grow on a vine must remain connected to the vine to keep growing or producing.

I wonder what happens if produce (with a smirk) happens to fall off the vine and is disconnected from the vine. What happens to the fruit when it sits removed from the vine for a while? (Allow children to answer.) That’s right, it shrivels up and isn’t tasty to eat.

In today’s scripture passage from the Gospel of John, Jesus talked about produce. Jesus spoke about grapes—grapes such as these. (Show the grapes again.) Often, Jesus spoke with words to describe God and a person’s faith, using examples that people who listened to him understood. He spoke a lot about farming, planting, and, in this case, fruit. People who listened to Jesus knew about how grapes were grown.

In this passage, Jesus said that he was the vine, and that we, people, are the branches. Do you wonder what Jesus meant by that? Jesus was telling those who listened to him that it is important to stay connected to him, just as the grape stays connected to the vine. Staying connected to the vine, for the grape, means it remains healthy and alive. The branches on a grapevine must stay connected so they can produce PRO-duce. In the same way, Jesus is telling us that we must remain connected to him. Jesus gives us all that we need to grow in our faith. If we disconnect from Jesus, our faith will look like the grape removed from the vine.

Another way to use the word produce means staying close and connected to the vine. Who did we say is the vine? (Allow children to respond.) That’s right, the vine is Jesus. If we stay connected to Jesus, then he can produce fruit in each of us. The fruit that he produces is not grapes, apples, or whatever you said your favorite fruit was earlier. No, the fruit Jesus helps us produce is spiritual fruit. Spiritual fruit means that we do things in life that help others and show the love of Jesus through how we live our lives. Spiritual fruit includes love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

To demonstrate how we need to make sure we are connected to Jesus, I have a game for us to play. Everyone stands up and forms a chain by linking arms (similar to a game of “red rover”). I will ask the pastor to play the part of Jesus in our chain. (Ask the pastor to assume the role of Jesus ahead of time or select someone to serve in this position in the game.) (Pointing to the pastor): “This is Jesus. Look what happens if we remain connected with Jesus.” (Have “Jesus” walk slowly in one direction, while the chain follows, then slowly walk in the other direction. Attach yourself to the other end of the chain. After shifting directions a couple of times, disconnect your arm from the chain and deliberately go in the opposite direction from the chain.) Did you see what happened to me at the end of the chain? What happened when my arm was disconnected from the others who were connected to Jesus? (Allow children to answer.) That’s right; when I became disconnected, I was going in a different direction from everyone else. When we become disconnected from Jesus, our faith could suffer, and life then looks a lot different. When we become disconnected with Jesus, we stop producing the fruits of the Spirit. We must remain connected to the vine!

How do we remain connected to the vine? There are many ways to do that. Can you tell me ways that we can remain connected to the vine? (Allow children to answer.) We can read our Bibles. We can pray and talk to God. When we pray, we should also listen to God. We can go to church and connect with other people who love and follow Jesus. We can depend on the Holy Spirit producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and offering love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We can trust in God. We can stay close to God. We can thank God for all the blessings in our lives. And those things, Jesus reminds us in verse 8, bring glory to God and show that we are his disciples.

We may even then ask, “God, how can I do more with my life?” I wonder how you can love more. How can you find more joy? How can you practice peace? By remaining connected to the vine, you will find those answers.


Holy Spirit, work in my life. Bring me love, joy, peace, patience. Make me kind, good, faithful, and gentle. Teach me self-control. Show me how to serve you better in all that I do. Help me to always remain connected to the vine. Amen.

In This Series...

Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes


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In This Series...

Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes