When a development bank in the Philippines included grape growing in its agricultural financing program many years ago, I had to learn all about grape culture and visit bank-financed grape farms (vineyards) as one of its agricultural economists.
Like other crops, successful grape growing involves the choice of the best variety. This is in addition to plant culture principles such as soil Ph, fertilization, watering, sunlight, etc. Also for grapes, proper pruning is absolutely necessary for the vines to produce maximum fruit yield. In fact, without pruning, it makes no sense to raise grapes at all.
Grapes have always been grown even before biblical times for eating and most especially for winemaking. Wine was the staple drink in many ancient cultures. We can think of wine running out at the wedding feast of the couple in Cana. This was the occasion when Jesus performed His first miracle: His changing water into wine.
But I am digressing. (Although it is not a bad thing here.)
Back to grape growing, it is imperative to do a lot of pruning, cutting off luxuriantly growing branches, leaving only mature branch parts where the buds would appear and where nutrients can be directed to concentrate on fruit production. The branches cut off from the vine are thrown away to either be burned or used as compost.
Our Lord used the metaphor or analogy of the vine grower, the vine and the branches in His preaching to teach the people eternal truths of His kingdom. The Lord is a master in the use of metaphors, parables, and stories to explain the points He wanted to convey to both the simple and the learned of His time and make them easily understandable to both.
Surely, a branch cut off from a tree or the main vine dies because the life-giving sap is cut off and the dead branch is fit only for the fire or compost pit. But pruning of unproductive branches results in the tree or vine producing more fruit.
The application of these agricultural principles in our spiritual life is of utmost importance. We must ensure we are always connected with Christ to have life. We must prune undesirable growth from ourselves: sin and vices and inordinate attachments to things that lead us away from Christ and make us unproductive spiritually.
The Father is the Vine Grower. His Son Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches.
We cannot miss the message of Jesus through this metaphor. He is the Master Teacher. We are His disciples. #
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves." (Matthew 11:29)
"Jesus said to his disciples:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.
He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit,
and everyone that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
You are already pruned because of the word that I spoke to you.
Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me." (John 15:1-4)