On my way to church I pass a vineyard with rows of grapevines. Each vine is tied to a wire that runs from post to post. The vines must be tied to the wire so that the weight of the fruit does not break the branches. I watch every year as the owner of the vineyard cares for his vines. By September I see them covered in a white mesh. The fruit has begun to develop its full color which is an indication that it will be ripe in a few weeks. The mesh is used to protect the maturing fruit from the birds. The birds can smell the sweetness of the fruit and flocks of them will peck the grapes and destroy the crop. The gardener must hang the mesh over the tied up vines and tack it to the posts.
The owner of the vineyard has tended his grapevines all year so that they will produce fruit that matures to its fullness. He will not allow flocks of birds to come and quickly destroy what he has cared for. Isn't our heavenly Father just like the owner of the vineyard? I would think that this is one of the reasons Jesus taught his disciples the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven through the analogy of the grapevine and the vineyard.
Our Creator tends us just like the gardener tends his vineyard. Each of us was made to bear fruit. "But I chose you and appointed you so that you might bear fruit, fruit that will last..." (John 15:16) Through every season of or lives He is there to encourage and protect us. Here is what the Lord says about His people: "Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it." (Isaiah 27:2-3) God has a plan for His vineyard as expressed in Verse 6. "In the days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit."
Back in the day when God changed Abram's name to Abraham He was talking about fruit. "I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you." (Genesis 17:6-7) When God found the fruit of His vineyard (His people) being attacked, He took drastic measures to protect it.
There was only one sure way for God to protect His people. He sent His Son to cover them—to cover us. In fact, He calls His Son "a branch." "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from its root a Branch will bear fruit." (Isaiah 11:11) Jesus was being groomed to bring heaven to earth and to be the atonement cover over God's people. He would be nailed to a wooden post like the cover over the vineyard. Through His death and resurrection the sins of God's people would be covered and their fruit protected. He bore the curse of the law in order to bring the blessing of the Abrahamic covenant to all nations.
The sacrifice of Jesus for the atonement of our sin was not only a sweet-smelling aroma to God (Ephesians 5:2); it was the cover that protected us from the destruction of the enemy and brought us to a place of reconciliation with God. John 15:8 explains: "This is to my Father's glory; that you bear much fruit; showing yourselves to be my disciples." Praise God that we are the recipients of His glorious plan. He has us covered!
Joan E. Mathias