My father was a nurseryman and loved working with his plants in his greenhouses. I enjoyed watching him work, whether he was propagating Poinsettias in preparation for Christmas or transferring vegetable seedlings to new soil for spring planting. However, the thing which most fascinated me was the way he could graft branches onto plants. When one grafts branches onto a plant you need only to have the vascular tissues of the plant and branch make a connection. You can produce an apple tree with several types of apples on it, or a crepe myrtle with all of the various colors blooming on the one plant.
In the mid 19th century the wine industry in France and much of Europe was devastated by the accidental introduction of an aphid (Phylloxera – like I knew this aphid’s name without looking it up). Numerous methods were attempted in trying to stop the destructive insect, but none were successful. Most vineyards were utterly destroyed. It was discovered however that the rootstock of grapevines in America were resistant to this aphid. When the grapevines from French vineyards were grafted onto the American rootstock they became resistant to the destructive assault of the aphids. Gradually, all of the various grapevines of European vineyards were grafted onto American rootstocks, and the wine industry in France gradually recovered and returned to normalcy.
Jesus compares us to such vine branches. Unless we are grafted into the vine and rootstock of Jesus, we have no life in us. Unless we have that “vascular connection” with Jesus, and allow his life to flow through us, we will produce no fruit. Satan, like an aphid, seeks to destroy us and would love for us to remain attached to the dying rootstock of this world. Jesus chooses us and carefully grafts us to himself, in order that we might live and bear much fruit. Apart from him we can do nothing. However, if we abide in him, his love flows through us into the world and we produce much fruit. Your fruit may not look or taste like mine, but we are grafted onto the same life-giving vine, Jesus Christ.