God Analogies: Grafting, a Picture of Christ As Our Source and Foundation
…You although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among other shoots and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree. (Romans 11:17) I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
The picture at the top of the page is a field of grape vine grafts. Jesus used everyday life practices to teach kingdom principles. Grafting was a common farming practice combining strong roots and good fruiting branches into the same tree or vine. Listeners of Jesus would have understood that a branch was only as healthy as its root system. Every branch needs a source, Jesus was teaching His listeners that He was their true source given to them by God, and that the ‘fruit’ from their lives could only come out of their connection to Him. As true followers of Christ our spiritual health is our connection to Him.
There are a few basic rules for a grafting to ‘take’ and to heal that help us understand our needs as followers:
- When grafting plants, the growth tissue of both branch and root must be the same type. This is powerful look at how God made mankind in Genesis. We are made in His likeness and His image. As we are grafted into Christ, we are restored to our original design and purpose. Christ came as a man to join us to Him. We are made of God materials!
- The new graft must be protected, cared for, and given time to develop and grow into the new root system. The old support system has been cut away.
New followers of Christ need community immediately. In the natural when a branch does not draw life support from its new roots, it either dies or tries to regrow its old roots.
- The primary purpose of the branch is to bear fruit. As we are rooted and grounded in Him we bear the spiritual fruit of His nature. Galatians 5:22.
When Jesus spoke to his disciples in John 15 He told them He was the true vine and God His Father was the gardener, as we remain in Him we are enabled to bear fruit. Individuals listening to Him would have been intimately acquainted with the picture He was giving them. They would have understood that without a connection to a root system there would be no growth or fruit. He was offering them a new life in Him. We must stay connected to Christ to grow and bear fruit as His followers. What an exciting journey! Remember if you are rootless, you are fruitless, and if you are fruitless you are useless – stay connected!