“I am the vine, you are the branches.” (John 15:5)
We have seen that hours before His crucifixion Jesus held a retreat with the men He had apprenticed 24/7 for three years. If they would be one with the Holy Spirit His ministry on earth would be done through them.
Having taught that in an upper room, Jesus took them into a garden. He pulled down a vine that had many branches just loaded with fruit. Essentially He told them, “This is what I have been telling you in the upper room. I am the Vine and you are the branches. If you will be joined to Me in my Holy Spirit risen form, the way these branches are joined to this vine you will bear much fruit for Me. If you are not joined to Me in this way you will be able to do nothing!”
There are four parts to this metaphor: There is a Vine, there are branches, there is fruit and there is a Gardener or Vinedresser. Jesus is the Vine. They are the branches. Fruit is His work being done through them and His Father is the Vinedresser.
By application, Jesus is making two statements through this metaphor. He is clearly stating that without Him we can do nothing. He is also declaring that without us He has chosen to do nothing. In this context He teaches that when a disciple is fruitful His Father performs a cut back to improve the quality and the quantity of the fruit that life is producing for Him.
Is it possible that what may look like a setback in your life is actually the cutback of a loving Vinedresser Who wants to improve the quality and quantity of the fruit He is growing in your life?