Becoming the good vine

Becoming the good vine

John 15:1,3

I am the true vine and my father, the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away and the  branch that beareth He purgeth.

Annual life cycle of vine or grapes has the following stages:

  • Budbreak
  • Flowering
  • Fruit set
  • Veraison
  • Harvest

Bud break:

The bud break is the first stage to bear fruit.  This stage occurs around the month of March in northern hemisphere and around September in the southern hemisphere.

The vine, after being pruned, bleeds which is the sign of this season to occur. This bleeding is due to osmotic pressure, pushing water, low concentration of organics, sugar and it comes out of the cuts after pruning. It bleeds upto 5 litres

The bud forms and then they swell to become shoots in the vine. Buds are small parts of the vine.

God, The Father is the husbandman; He allows or orders his dear vine to be pruned which is a painful process for the vine. This is a sacrifice and a stage were suffering occurs (stage of salvation); wounds and cuts occur.

In order to make us bear fruits and to be fruitful Jesus the vine was slaughtered and wounded (March- feast of Passover when he died)

Due to pressure and heat, the vine bleeds more. His body was broken for us. He bore our sin, shame which came out as blood. All these burdens were for us, so that the bud may break out in the branch without pain in between the vine. It oozes 5 litres of water when pruned (Human body contains nearly 6 litres of blood).

Our Lord Jesus oozed all His blood for us, so that we might bear fruits and live a happy life; so that we may look pleasing to our lord the Father (The husbandman). We are protected by the vine and only after budding we can give forth shoots. We start growing after being saved by Christ.  

Now at this stage the branches turn from brown to green. Similarly, Jesus transforms our past and makes us fertile. Now the branches with bud and new shoots are bound in the vine which the husbandman takes care of (if we love Him and abide in Him, the Father will also love us and protect us). In the winter season, they might freeze and fall so the owner protects the shoot by providing safety.

Flowering:

Isaiah 27:6

Israel shall blossom bud and fill the face of the world with fruit

Flowering begins with small clusters on the tips of the shoots, later they become bigger clusters and grow in size. They become observable. It is in this stage, pollination and fertilisation occurs.

Now a believer starts to grow in Christ in faith, his attitude changes, as the colour changes in the vine. He becomes from small bud to flower observable by others in size. You may have been disgusting in the past but Jesus changed your past green and made you observable by others just like a button bud changing into a flower. Here pollination occurs: your life turns fertile, your life prospers spiritually and worldly. Everyone will see the change when you have Christ in you. People will witness your change when Christ is in you.

This is the stage when you turn into grape berry with 1-4 seeds. In this flowering stage, there is something called calyptras which covers the buds and later sheds away allowing pollination to occur and to be recognised by the insects.

Here in this stage, we have some inferiority complex or some fleshy things covering  us which appears like the petal covering the bud (calyptras- false petals) but the inner man must be exposed.  After the calyptra sheds, the insects see them and does pollination so that the flowers turn into fruits. We must spread the love of Christ which we have experienced. We must share about the blessings from God; we have to let others experience it.

In this stage, if we are good pollen, good fruits will be bore. Similarly if we spread good gospel, the fruits and seeds will increase. Now we can become clusters (clusters- church). Now we
have to join as a church to bring fruits and seeds after this experience.

In this stage, the seeds formed are encapsulated to be protected from the weather. This is the stage were the fruits of the spirit starts to come out now so we have to protect the seeds. Protect and enlighten your lives carefully. This growth of becoming into a fruit occurs only when it is on the vine.

Fruit set:

This stage determines the fruit yield after the seeds are covered with berry.

Not every flower on the vine gets fertilised. There are unfertilised flowers also which fall off the vine. The temperature and water stress severely reduce the amount of flowers to be fertilised. The fruit with imbalance of carbohydrate also falls off from the bunch. The grape size depends on the number of seeds in it. Berries without seeds remain smaller.

Only if we are strong in the word of God and only if we receive God’s commands and the Holy Spirit, we will be fertile. We can last longer as long as we are attached to the vine or else we will fall when troubles, stress and even when the tempter comes our way (those are just like the bad weather bothering the plant). Be always strong in the Lord (even if famine or shame befalls, nothing should separate us from the love of Christ like Paul said). The church must be strong as clusters bringing more seeds to Christ and they must also protect them (encapsulating them). If you are not true, you will fall easily just like the fruits falling off due to imbalance of nutrients. If you live a life of neither being cold or hot, God will vomit you out.

We must help each other by sharing the pollen; we must not cover it with calyptras. We must help others do good deeds; share the fruits of spirit with another believer as a church. But always remember to stick to the vine (Christ). The seed also stands for the word of God. If we have more seeds the berry will be big. Always have the word of God preserved deep inside ourselves to be fertile.

On one cluster there may be berries of various sizes which creates problem during wine making due to its pulp ratio. As a church we all should be united. Only if we remain together in the same size, we will be used for wine making; or else we are considered waste even after huge growth. The church should never be diverse. Always it should remain as clusters in same size, so that God can do wonders through the church. We must bear each other’s burden as Christ bore ours. If we do so, Christ can use the church and only then the church will be fruitful.

We all must have one mind as in Ephesians 4:1-4

Veraison:

After fruitset, the grape berries are green and are hard to touch. They have little sugar content but high organic acid making it sour.

Veraison is the beginning of ripening which last around 40 to 50 days.

The colour changes from green to red, replacing the chlorophyll to anthocyanin, carotenin and other pigments and then they develop glucose and fructose. However, it does not occur in all the berries at the same time. Veraison first occurs to the berries and clusters far from the canopy, shades and trunk. Earlier veraison is ideal for making high quality wine.

Sometimes God makes us to wait long before we turn fruitful. He puts us through  testing periods (40-50 days like the fruit) to make us sweet because the berries after fruit set is still not ready to be pleased by the father and to be harvested. It is still hard and sour. After some tests and trials, God transforms us to being colourful.

We might already be saved, but still there is room for lot of improvement. He makes us holy. No one can meet he Father if they are not holy. He changes our colour and now we become sweet, big and almost ready. Sometimes He lets difficulties in our life so that we can be rewarded, but we must not give up and must be still in the Lord holding on to the faith in Him

Be ye strong therefore and let not your hands be weak; for your shall be rewarded.

-2 Chronicles 15:7

The worldly things provide us joy, happiness but it will make us useless even if we are physically and spiritually healthy. But the berries standing far away from the canopy shade is considered as good quality fruit for wine making.  If we stand far away from the worldly pleasures and look onto the light (Christ), we will be rewarded. When we obey Him and look on Him, He will provide us all blessing and will also reward us

Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all shall be added unto you

-Matthew 6:33

 If we have all the blessings or if we receive them quite easily, we will not search God. So in some situations, after going through difficulties we learn a lot and receive the blessings. God moulds us to make us holy and perfect.

Harvest:

This is when the grapes are plucked from the vine and transported to the winery for wine making. Time of harvest depends on the ripeness. As the grapes ripen on the vine, the sugar content increases and the acid content reduces and thus making it sweet. The winemaker or the manager decides when to harvest.

God, the Father decides when to harvest and use you. Even our days after our ministries and deeds will end in a glorifying way by God. He knows our limits. He rewards according to it.

Only if you remain in Christ till the end, you will please the Father and will be fruitful till the end retaining the sweet taste inside you. (sweet taste- sweet qualities , testimonies and blessings)

The vine continues photosynthesis and creates carbohydrate and stores it in the roots and trunk after harvest. Then the leaves change their colour to yellow and later the next cycle starts.

Jesus, the vine did not restrict this experience for only particular church or a group. He has provided these blessings for several generations till now, from the ages of the ancient church. He chose us, we did not choose Him. All we need to do is keep on moving in faith and abide in Him till the end.  We must also be a model to others in our life reflecting Him and by spreading His love.

-Dr.J.Joshua

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