In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks about the vine and the branches.

There is an entire science behind the pruning of the vine to bring about an optimum harvest and yield that would be most fitting to make the best wines. The timing of the pruning has to be right, and the type of pruning that occurs needs to be carefully thought out. It cannot be done too early, as the vines have to enter a period of dormancy, where energy gets stored in the roots below the frost above the ground. Pruning too early also makes the new sprouts vulnerable to the unpredictable spring frosts.

In the winter months, pruning takes a bit of a hiatus, as the buds would have yet to have sprouted in the cold season, and pruning the vine would simply be a waste of time. If pruning is carried out when it rains, the wet makes the vine susceptible to disease and fungal infections.

The benefits of a good pruning session are as follows:

  • The branch becomes luxuriant with quality fruit. A bud results in a cluster of grapes, and this translates to approximately to about three to four tonnes of grapes per acre of vineyard.
  • Proper pruning optimises the ventilation between the rows of the grapes which prevents fungus and mould. With the clusters spaced out intentionally, this also allows the fruits to be positioned below the canopy of grape leaves, to provide shade from the sun, and allowing the receiving of any nutrients by the vine, that is sprayed on the canopy.
  • The pruning allows for even ripening across the entire vineyard.
  • The pruning received is foundational and puts in place the structure of the vine for the coming year. Good pruning encourages the growth of wood in the places where it would be needed in the future years, and fills in the gaps left by cordons which have died off.
  • It saves the amount of labour later. Spring frosts may kill buds, but a properly pruned vine with its primary buds frozen, would still be able to sprout secondary buds in a season of frost.

(Tables Creek Vineyard Blog, 2019; Vineyard Magazine, 2021)

As a parallel, the Christian person needs to go through careful seasons of pruning so as to yield an optimum harvest. If the pruning happens too early, the person may not be ready and in that way, may cause the buds to die. If the person is not tended too, and left to his or her own devices, the branches become gnarly, and the fruit yield becomes small and sour, with the risk that the branches may not even bear fruit at all. The branches then become subject to the elements and the infiltration of mildew, insect infestation, disease, and rot. For a Christian, these take the form of sin and worldly beliefs and influences. Shrouded in these, the branch is deluded into thinking it can thrive without the vine and soon forgets its original purpose of bearing fruit for the Kingdom of God. Without depending upon the vine, this branch becomes useless and withers away.

It is strange to think of Easter as a season of pruning –  we would usually associate the times of pruning with the liturgical seasons of Lent or Advent. Yet through the post-Resurrection encounters that Jesus had with His disciples, we see the gentle re-wiring of the branches, the repairing of the vines that had sustained damage from the battering of the events of the Crucifixion, and the pruning off tendrils that were unnecessary – the disciples at Emmaus had a re-encounter which pruned off the doubt they had in their hearts, while Peter had his betrayal of Jesus – causing some part of the vine to be broken, redeemed and mended with his conversation with Jesus. This pruning was necessary to prepare the disciples for the eventual coming of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, and the unprecedented and exponential growth of the Church.

Pruning is done by hand by the master viticulturist, and each branch needs a special type of pruning that is customised for that branch. This Easter, what are some parts of my life that I would need to surrender to the Lord to prune away so that I may experience optimal growth at Pentecost? Is it my reliance on pornography? Is it my reckless overspending on things to impress the people that I do not really like? It is the limitation that I have placed on God, in dictating how He should act on my terms? Is it my smoking? My gambling? Is it my deliberate clouding of my schedule with a million and one things so that I do not have time for my spouse and children? Is it my pride and disgust or disdain of someone because I am jealous of this person? Is it my reluctance to ministry, because I feel it is a waste of time?

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the things which are hindering the unbelievable growth that the Lord God has purposed for us, and surrender these to the Lord.

It is in the interest of the viticulturist that the vine bears good fruit. It is in fact at a high and detrimental cost to the vineyard owner if the branches do not bear fruit or bear shoddy fruit. In like manner, it is in the interest of God our Father, that we arrive at our best potential with regard to building the Kingdom of God. It costs a lot more, and this cost is extremely painful to the Church when branches that could have potentially bore good fruit wither away and fall off.


By the Grace of God,

Brian Bartholomew Tan




Tablas Creek Vineyard Blog. (2019). A Grapevine Pruning Tutorial with Viticulturist Jordan Lonborg and Vineyard Manager David Maduena. Tablas Creek Vineyard. Retrieved April 28, 2024 from,that%20have%20grown%20too%20close.

Vineyard Magazine. (2021). Pruning for Optimum Yield. Vineyard Magazine. Retrieved April 28, 2024 from