"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away,
and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
Much is often made of what Paul says in the eleventh chapter of Romans about how gentiles were grafted in as wild branches to the olive tree that previously produced only Jewish branches. The focus of those discussions is often more about the branches than the tree or the vine. Jesus brings the attention first to the essence of life - the vine. He tells us that the heart of spiritual life is all about being connected to the source of all spiritual life.
Jesus takes the metaphor a bit further when he shifts from internal spiritual connection to the external evidences, or lack of them, of that connection. Interesting how he contrasts the lopping off of unfruitful branches and the pruning of fruitful ones. It is a stark contrast and one that speaks to me of how different those who evidence this connection are treated from those who fail to display spiritual fruit. Perhaps the issue is the quality of connection?
With trepidation I pray that you would prune me Lord that I would bear more fruit.