by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
In March we read the gospel of John. John wrote his gospel so that his readers would know and believe the claims of Jesus. Those who do have everlasting life here and now.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.... You are the branches" (John 15:1, 5).
In the Old Testament, Israel is God's vineyard. God searched the vineyard for grapes. And when he found no fruit, the LORD destroyed the vineyard (lsa. 5; Ps. 80).
When Jesus says he is the true vine, he claims to be the new Israel. If we want to be part of God's people and bear fruit for God, we must be grafted into the true vine. For when we belong to Jesus, we are part of God's real vineyard.
"I am the vine, you are the branches." Just as cut flowers and broken branches quickly dry up and become useless, so people who are cut off from Christ cannot live a God-pleasing life. The point is plain, the picture clear.
"My Father is the gardener." God, the vineyard's owner, is interested in good grapes. He walks through the vineyard to see how well the vines are producing. We live to bear fruit for God, to give God glory. We hope, of course, that we will have an enjoyable life. But the purpose of life is to please God with the works we do—the fruit we bear.
We please God when we are intimately united with our Savior. If Jesus is the source of our strength and the model for our life, we will show fruit that pleases the vineyard's owner.
But God has no use for dead branches.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version