The Purpose of Pruning. John 15:2

Posted on December 8, 2011 by


John 15:2  “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

Dick Woodward, a pastor and teacher in Williamsburg, Va, once told me of a conversation he had with a vinedresser in which the vinedresser told him that whenever he would take over a vineyard the first thing he would do would be to cut all the vines to the ground in the first year.  In the second year he would cut off all new growth, and in the third year there would be abundant fruit.  Not being a vinedresser, Woodward was confused as to the need for all the pruning, but the vinedresser would say that when the vines were pruned they would put down deeper and broader roots, and that would lead to grapes that were better in quality and quantity.

This passage is about the Master Gardener pruning us to make us even more fruitful as well, yet I often do not like the pruning process.  I would rather jump right to the abundant fruit phase!  Often times I think that difficulties and suffering in my life are the result of my sin and failings, yet God lovingly allows the storms to come as a way to prune us and cause us to trust in Him more. Interestingly, Jesus talks of two opposites here: “no fruit” and “more fruit.”  One branch is dead or dying and the other is becoming “even more fruitful.”  In either case, the Gardner makes a judgement about the branch’s condition and then either cuts it off or prunes it.

Have you ever wondered if you are a branch that God will cut off?  That concern itself is a sign of life!  Remember, the Gardener prunes us to bring about more fruit (see Gal 5:22, 23 and John 15:16) for His glory and Kingdom.  It may seem like He is cutting us off but He is only pruning away the things are not of Jesus in our lives!  The story goes that Michelangelo was asked how he sculpted the beautiful statue of David.  He replied that he started with a block of marble and simply chipped away anything that wasn’t David!  In the same way our Heavenly Father prunes us for His Glory and for our best.  He is sculpting us into the image of Jesus Christ.

ASK: Am I willing to endure the loving pruning of the Master Gardener today?

APPLY: In what ways is God calling me to put down deeper roots in Him and to rely more fully on the Vine?