Updated: Oct 12, 2021
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.”
John 15:1-3 ESV
I recently read these words of Jesus and the phrase “takes away” stuck out to me. In the past, when I read this passage, I perceived the message as “if I wasn’t producing fruit, I would be removed from the vine”. I had a hard time imagining my Heavenly Father (the vinedresser) would cut me off, but there was a lingering underlying tension that it could happen. A religious standard, at some point, had impeded my truth. That old adage, “Jesus died to save me from the wrath of God” was simmering under the surface. I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit inspiring me to seek and settle this debate. I have learned when there is an “unsettled” area in a believer’s heart, the Holy Spirit is faithful to present truth, accompanied by grace, to settle the account! So I began to seek and pray.
I continued to mull over the verses, focusing my attention on every word in English and greek. I studied how grapevines were cultivated in Bible days. I sensed a deeper understanding was coming forth. I read several different translations. I prayed for understanding. I yearned for the truth of the vinedresser’s heart.
Here’s what I discovered:
The greek word for “takes away” is Airei from the root word airoo which means to elevate, lift up, to air.
The greek word for pruning is Kathairei from the root kata.
“The words airei and kathairei are employed to suggest the lifting of the branches as well as the dressing process which includes pruning. Lifting up to manage a grapevine’s canopy which will influence not only the potential yield of the crop but also the quality of the grapes due to the access of air and sunlight needed for the grapes to ripen fully and for preventing various grape diseases. When the Greeks began to colonize southern Italy in the 8th Century BC, they called the land Oenotria which could be interpreted as “staked” or land of staked vines, growing upwardly. The grapevine is attached to stakes or posts thus making sure the branches grow upwardly. They are also dressed and pruned to be positioned in such a way that their fruit would be easily accessible. This can be interpreted or paraphrased, “that it may keep on bearing more and more fruit”~The Mirror Study Bible
“The good news is not that we are sinners in grave danger but that God counts us even in our sin as infinitely precious and will not quit until He has achieved his purpose of having us in His embrace. Any pagan concept of God is at home with a god of condemnation, punishment, and vengeance, but the news that rocks the world and arrests us all is that the God revealed in Jesus loves us and refuses to be God without us; He is passionately for us.” Malcolm Smith
May the truth wash over you, well up within you, and pour out of you!!
“I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you.”
John 15:1-3 TPT
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 ESV