I recently read Secrets of the Vine by Bruce Wilkerson who, if you recall, also wrote NY Times bestseller, The Prayer of Jabez. In Secrets of the Vine, he describes how a vinedresser cares for the vineyard and how it relates to Jesus and His fruits of the vine —us. His explanation is quite different than the more traditional interpretation of John 15:2 which says:
"Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Most of us believe that the translation¬ to bear fruit relates to evangelism and the statement "He takes away" means something like, “if you persist in a life without showing evidence of your salvation, you lose it.” (Secrets of the Vine, p.32)
Understanding that our salvation is not defined through our works “…lest we boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9); Mr. Wilkerson began to research John 15:2 in the original Greek and found that a more accurate translation of the words, “takes away” in the original Greek, is the word airo, which means to “lift up.”
Here’s the reason why the change in interpretation is important. Mr. Wilkerson met a vineyard owner prior to writing the book, and he explained how a vineyard is cared for by the vinedresser. It turns out; the vinedresser walks up and down the vineyard aisles daily, checking on the development of the vines and the fruit. As long as the vine is upright, held up by the trellis, it will bear fruit. If it is growing down in the dust or dirt, it will not bear fruit; primarily because, the dirt impedes the growth of the leaves, thereby stifling the production of fruit.
Here’s the beautiful part; when the vinedresser sees that a vine is growing along the ground in the dust, he lifts it up, cleans the dust off, and reattaches it to the trellis. As long as the vine stays connected to the trellis and off the ground, it will ultimately bear fruit. So, Mr. Wilkerson interprets Jesus as the vinedresser, intervening in our lives to lift us out of the dust; ultimately cleansing us, then attaching us back to God, where He frees “…us of sin so we can live a more abundant life for His Glory.” (p.36)
Hmmm…. I bet you never thought of yourself as a large, luscious, fruit of the vine! L.
Study Reference: John 15:1-16
From:"The Vinedresser & The Vine" In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell