Pruning the Vine

I am the true Vine, an d My Father is the Vinedresser. Everyone branch of Mine that bears no fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. John 15:1-2

Martin Luther understood this as meaning that all the trials and tribulations that befall Christians, including persecutions that may end in martyrdom, are in the hands of God the Father and happen for our ultimate good. He preached:


“When our enemies think that they have inflicted great harm on us and avenged themselves well, all they actually achieve is to teach us all the greater patience and humility, and to make us believe all the more firmly in Christ. What do they gain by their action? Nothing; for, as the saying goes, when the father has punished the child, he throws the rod into the fire. Similarly, when God has made enough use of tyrants and blasphemers for the good of His Christians, He retains His vine and His grapes; but in the end He casts the manure, the mattock, and the clipper into the eternal fire.” (Luther’s Works 24: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John Chapter 14-16; Concordia Publishing House; 198)