By Bruce James
In a previous article I dealt with the metaphor of Jesus in His being the Vine. But there is another figure that needs to be considered from the same text of John 15:1-11. It is God the Father being likened unto the Husbandman of the vineyard. The rural and agricultural figure is used many times in the scripture to show God’s relationship to His people. Some examples of these expressions are the garden of the Lord, the Lord’s plantation or the field of grain. The figure of the vineyard was probably used more than any other. Isaiah said, “My well-beloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill” (Isa. 5:1).
Jesus said God is the Husbandman. The Greek word is georgos, which means farmer or vinedresser, and is the same word from which we got the proper name in English of “George.” The vinedresser is one what has care of the vineyard. His work of office is to nurture, trim and defend the vine. Matthew 21:33 indicates that he feels a deep interest and concern for its growth and welfare.
It is true that we should be ever mindful of the Husbandman and His care for the vineyard, but let us not forget that the vineyard is the church. The once wasting and barren branches are now bringing forth fruits of righteousness. This could be accomplished only through the Vinedresser’s providence and grace. God did not have to give His spiritual vineyard the rain and the dew, the light and the heat – His Word, His influences, His direction, His Son. Let us ever be mindful of this in our daily life.
And the Vinedresser expects fruits from each branch (disciple), but only in proportion to their privileges and blessings. In this we see the necessity to abide in the Vine for apart from Him we can do nothing. And in this we see the infinite wisdom, knowledge, resources and faithfulness of God the Husbandman of His vineyard. His plans and arrangements will lead us to the home in preparation. Everything is within His power. He has promised us many precious blessings and He will not fail in accomplishing them. In essence, God takes care of all the branches of the Vine, that is, all who through obedience to the Gospel, who by faith are united to the Lord Jesus Christ. And every disciple (branch) who does not produce fruit after his own kind is cut off, cast forth and burned. Let us recognize the happiness and the safety of God’s people and the many ways in which He blesses them.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 38, p. 620
September 27, 1979