So excited that spring is here! I start breaking out the knives and the juicer for all the fruits and veggies, and my kitchen smells like a citrus truck blew up in here!
Today we’re gonna talk about a whole bunch of different fruits, so hold on to your hat!
First, of course, is limes.
Did you know that limes did not originally exist in nature? In fact, all citrus fruit is grown from three original trees that were cross-bred. And limes don’t exist as a biological group. Most of what we call limes actually have more in common with various orange lines than they do with each other. In fact, some of the fruits we call limes are actually sour oranges. Persian limes and key limes and Keffir limes are only given that name because there is something about them that looks or tastes similar.
And speaking of growing citrus, did you know that almost NONE of the citrus grown commercially in the U.S. is grown on its own tree? In other words, if your buy a navel orange, the one thing you know about it is that it probably didn’t grow on a navel orange tree. It turns out that almost all of the commercially grown citrus is grafted.
Grafting. Now there’s a confusing concept. Farmers graft because strong rootstock trees that have branches strong enough to hold up large amounts of fruit almost always grow awful tasting fruit. And great tasting fruit seems to grow on really weak trees. So they found a way to combine them.
The farmer cuts a “v” into the strong rootstock tree. Then he cuts a point into the end of a great fruit growing branch. He fits the point into the “v” and bonds the branch to the tree. Then the fruit will grow on a tree strong enough to support it.
Here’s something interesting about grafting: you can graft several citrus fruit varieties on to one tree. I think the record is like 20-something varieties on one tree! But no matter what you grow on that tree, the rootstock carries through to the seed. So if you plant lemon, lime or orange seeds from the supermarket, you should end up with a very strong tree that grows fruit that tastes terrible!
If you do this with apples, you could potentially grown a Granny Smith tree with Gala branches and fruit, and the seeds would grow a Granny Smith tree with Granny Smith apples (it’s like a “Who’s on First” routine for fruit!).
Are you wondering when I’m going to get to spiritual application? Well, it’s just this: we, as the Body of Christ, are like limes. We come from different places and sometimes have very little in common. In fact, sometimes we have more in common with the world than we do with other church members. But there should be something about us that tastes different. That sets us apart and identifies us as being sanctified Christians. A group of limes.
And now I get to the verses you were expecting. We should look alike because we are grafted to the same tree. John 15 tells us that “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:1-2, 4-5 NIV
He is the vine. The strong rootstock that we are grafted into at the instant we are spiritually adopted. By the way, the Greek words translated “remain in me” in verse four are the same words He uses to describe Gentiles being accepted in to the church in Romans 11. But in Romans, those words are translated as Gentiles being “grafted in.”
We are grafted into a tree called the body of Christ. The fruit that we produce is not something we can support on our own. It is supported by the vine, which is Christ.
And our legacy should be Him. Anything that comes from the fruit we produce should look like our rootstock!
He is the vine, we are the grafted-in branches. Now go produce fruit!