He tended his vineyard to no avail.
Seeking the best of soils,
A ground of good irrigation,
Skillful pruning of necessity.
Still, his diligent effort produced no useful fruit.
The checkered history of Israel is summed up with this illustration by Isaiah the prophet…
“Let me sing for my beloved a love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He placed it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded worthless grapes.” Isaiah 5:1-2
One day, Jesus would tell His disciples, “I am the True Vine (John 15).”
Imagine the inclination of Jesus’ followers when they recalled the conclusion of the vineyard in relation to His proclamation. My Pastor reminds us that His Jewish friends would have had no difficulty identifying with their Lord’s words.
“Hey! He’s speaking of the vine… that’s us! We are the vine of God!”
Contrary to their thoughts though, Jesus was speaking of God’s authentic Vine, not the shadowy type that failed to produce fruit for Him. The True Vine instead promised to yield many good grapes for the Father.
The demoting words of Jesus would strip them of their treasured vine label and promote them to the status of branches. Their new found identity would allow them to do what they could not do before, bear fruit.
Isaiah’s words can now ring with optimistic joy. My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He placed it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, …and it yielded priceless grapes.
Just as before, Jesus promised the Vinedresser would be busy and diligent to work and prune His vineyard, but this time, His efforts would be bountifully profitable.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:7-11