Suzie looked at the tree in her backyard and wondered if it would grow any pears this year. She was too little to realize that the pear tree in their backyard was dying. But she wanted pears. Every day in the spring she would go out and look at the tree, hoping that it had made a pear. But all it ever did was grow leaves that eventually just fell off. The tree just didn’t have the strength to produce pears. Once Suzie went out and yelled at the tree, “Why won’t you make any pears?!” She even kicked it. But the tree couldn’t do it; it was too sick.

Sometimes we’re like little Suzie when it comes to growing God’s fruit. God wants us to live perfect lives. Our consciences tell us what we should be doing and how we should be living. Yet, no matter how often we tell ourselves to do those things we still can’t produce the kinds of perfect fruit that God wants. No matter how hard we kick ourselves, we still sin. We’re too sick to grow God’s fruit on our own.

Making the kinds of trees that can grow God’s fruit is the work of Christ. His work reverses our sinful dying condition and we can grow the kind of fruit God wants. Christ connects us to himself, the true vine and that connection cleanses us from our sin and gives us the power to grow God’s fruit.     

The truth is we can’t grow any of the fruit God wants us to, we’re sinners. So God comes to us and he cleanses us. The words of Christ that cleansed the disciples reach our hearts and cleanse us, too. These are Christ’s words saying to us, “I have paid the price for your sin. I have paid for your hypocrisy. I have paid for your stubbornness.” Christ is the one who was cut off and cast into the fire of hell. Christ became that dead branch he was talking about, the one that wasn’t producing any fruit. He became like us and paid the price. These are his words spoken to us so that you would believe that you have been saved from all your sin. With those same words of comfort, Christ connects us to himself. He died, yes, but he rose again and he lives to give us life. He takes you and me who were once dead branches and connects them to his life-giving spirit and we grow. Our faith is nourished by his word of forgiveness and we grow God's fruit.