John 15:1-8, NIRV
15“I am the true vine. My Father is the gardener. 2He 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. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain 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. 7If you remain joined to me and my words remain in you, ask for anything you wish. And it will be done for you. 8When you bear a lot of fruit, it brings glory to my Father. It shows that you are my disciples.
Visual objects: Pot with plant; a branch holding grapes or cherry tomatoes on the end of it.
If you’ve ever seen grapes or tomatoes growing, you know that they develop on a vine that sends out branches, and the grapes or tomatoes hang from the branches. Sometimes the vine can grow very long, even up to fifty feet long. (Provide an example by referencing the distance to something that is within sight.) That would be a lot of grapes or tomatoes from just one vine!
I wonder if our plant that we have been watching will produce that kind of vine.
Jesus tells us that we are like the branches on the vine. He says, “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.”
This scripture teaches us that when we make Jesus a part of our lives, we grow like branches on a beautiful vine and bear sweet fruit. We do this by accepting God’s love, studying the Bible to learn more about following Jesus, and by praying for guidance.
We learn to love, be gentle, be cheerful, be patient, and to help those who need our help. These are what the Bible calls the fruits of the Spirit.
We can continue to grow in love and friendship when we stay connected to Jesus like a branch is connected to the vine. We can produce a lot of fruit – do a lot of good things— by growing with Jesus, the Vine.
Jesus, the Vine, keep me connected to you, so I can produce your fruits—to love, to be gentle and kind, to be cheerful, to be patient, and to help those who need help. In your loving name, I pray. Amen.