I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit.It is the night before he is to die. Just a couple of hours before his betrayal and arrest. Is Judas about to be removed? Are Peter and the other disciples going to be pruned?
Perhaps this is on Jesus' mind, but John wrote these words for us and they are scripture because they have ongoing significance. There is a way in which, any of us who consider ourselves Christians, may be removed from the vine or we may find ourselves pruned by God, the vinegrower.
The removal suggests that just being near the vine is not enough, you must be tapped into the vine. Jesus puts it "abide in me." Merely being in church is not enough, you also need to have that relationship with Jesus. While coming to church is a good idea for non-believers, church attendance in and of itself is not a relationship with God. You must also open up your heart to Jesus for him to be able to come in and make that relationship real to you. Jesus warns, that those who hang out along the vine, without actually being tapped in, may find themsleves cut off in the future.
But Jesus also says that he will prune those who are connected to the vine. Pruning fruit-bearing vines is something grape growers do to get the vines to produce more grapes instead of more leaves. Jesus warns that even for those who are connected to him, there are parts of their lives they will need to let go of in order to bear fruit for God. What might God be calling you to let go of in order to abide more fully in Jesus' love?