Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Our Vinedresser

Napa Valley in northern California is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Hillsides filled with rows of grapes are scattered throughout small towns such as Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, and St. Helena. Various wineries situated on either side of the main road occupy each town and inside each winery resides a vinedresser.

A vinedresser or grower of grapes cultivates and prunes grapevines. As I learned from Bruce Wilkinson’s Secrets of The Vine, the life of a grower includes long hours of walking through the vineyards and tending to the branches that bear the grapes. The vinedresser watches over the vineyard, protecting and guarding it from the elements. He patiently waits for the perfect day of fruitful harvest. He cherishes his vineyard and prides himself on a good crop. He gains respect when his harvest produces a fabulous glass of wine.

Sound familiar? Yes, God is the Vinedresser who loves and cherishes His people, a vineyard made up of many branches. He sent His son, Jesus, who is the Vine on which we grow. He desires a harvest of good fruit from His vineyard so that the Name above all names, Jesus Christ, is glorified among men. He lovingly and tenderly attends to His vineyard, keeping an eye on the elements that surround them.

Read John 15 slowly and aloud, reflecting on our Vinedresser and His longing for the production of good fruit in our lives. Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on that long ago Passover night that would change the world. He knew He was leaving the earth to return to His Heavenly Father, so He intended to encourage His followers with a teaching about bearing good fruit. After addressing who the Vine and Vinedresser is, He begins explaining the life of the branches that live in Him. Those branches are sinners who have been saved by believing in the Savior of the world, Jesus. Why then in verse 2 does He say the branch in Him that doesn’t bear fruit, He takes away?

Hear the words of John the Baptist as Jesus approaches him to be baptized: .....he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 (NASB) “Takes away” are the key words in each of these passages and they relate to “cleanness,” as it states in John 15:3: “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

Jesus takes away our sins by the blood poured out on the cross. The blood cleanses the sins of generations of believers in the past, present, and future. We are cleaned up the moment we believe in the Word, Jesus Christ. Read the words of God in the following passages.

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (NASB)
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 (NASB)
...and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. Acts 13:39 (NASB)
You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 1 John 3:5 (NASB)

He is the Lamb who cleans up the sins of the world! The question we should ask ourselves once we’re cleaned is: are we bearing fruit and if not, what does Christ do to help us bear fruit?

The answer lies in the life of the grape grower. As he walks among his vineyards, the vinedresser may find new branches that have begun trailing along the ground. They can’t bear fruit if they’re growing along the ground. If the air is dry, the leaves will become very dusty. If it rains, they will be covered in mud. If either of these things happen, the branches are useless and fruitless. Does the grape grower then just cut off the branches and throw them away? No, he gently lifts them up and washes them off with a bucket of water. Then he either ties them up or wraps them around a trellis. Soon they are growing and flourishing, producing a fruitful crop.

The grape grower is a great illustration of how our Heavenly Father, the Vinedresser, lifts up and cleans off believers in Christ when they’ve muddied themselves with sin. He cleans us by the blood of the Lamb as He ties us to the cross of Christ. Then as we abide in the Word (Jesus) of God, we flourish and bear fruit which glorifies God.

Know that you have a Vinedresser who watches over you, tending to you daily. He loves you dearly. If you are attached to His Vine, Jesus Christ, He will attend to your needs, cleaning you up when necessary. He desires fruit from your life. He’s blessed you with the life you live; now glorify Him with it. Let’s raise our “glasses of fine wine” to our Savior, Jesus Christ, giving Him the honor that is due to His Name.

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