Fruit matters, and whether or not it’s real makes all the difference.
“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” -John 15:8
In the middle of a first-century vineyard Jesus does what all great communicators do, He takes an image familiar to His listeners and uses it as an analogy to make His point.
Here is what Jesus does NOT say. “Bear fruit, and so become my disciples.” Of course He doesn’t say that. A branch must first be connected to the vine and then, if it’s truly connected, it will bear fruit.
Trying to produce fruit with no connection to the vine is just silly. You can try to tape or sew or glue fruit on a branch, but time will show that no matter how nice it looked in the beginning, it wasn’t real fruit at all.
No, Jesus says, “bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples.” Fruit is the result of discipleship, not the cause.
Of course, the other point must be understood as well. No matter how close a branch looks like it is to the vine, it is the fruit alone that demonstrates a true connection. A life that says the right religious things and checks all the boxes on the minimum requirements is not the life of a disciple.
It is the life of an imposter.
True disciples produce the fruit of love and good deeds out of the overflow of the love and goodness poured into them from above.
May it be so with us.