Grafting of plants has been around since around 2000 B.C. It is a common action in horticulture for a variety of reasons. In the New Testament, Paul refers to the Gentiles as the ‘Wild Olive Branch’ that has been grafted to the vine. There are two kinds of plants in general, and especially in talking of Olive trees. There is the Cultured Olive Tree which in this case, means Israel, specifically those Jews who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Then there is the Wile Olive Tree, the uncultured plant and that refers to the Gentiles that accept Christ as their Saviour.
Now back in that 1st Century Church, there was some animosity amongst the Jewish people that were saved toward those that were Gentile. Paul explained it in the way that common folks could understand as they had all grown things and most probably at one time or another done a graft.
And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
For if you were cut from a wild olive tree, and contrary to nature were grafted into one that is cultivated, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
Why does a horticulturist do a grafting? There are several reasons and sometimes more than one is the cause. First, let’s get some terms out of the way. There is the Rootstock, Stem, Scion, Bud and then of course the Union. These are the basic terms we will be using from time to time and the explanation should become evident as we use them. The basic graft takes the rootstock from one plant and the scion, the leafy branches and buds from another plant and forms a union between the two.
Researchers have used Grafting to produce flowers that are better, prettier, more fragrant and last longer. Now this is a big part. The Scion, or part of a Scion can be grafted to a plant that has retarded its flowring and induce it to be stimulated to once again flower.
Here are some of the reasons to do a Grafting.
- Grafting restores/repairs the original plant where a branch was broken off
- Grafting provides a medium for the grafted plant to receive nourishment
- Grafting will take the benefits of both plants and make a better fruit.
- Grafting will help fight diseases.
- Grafting will save time by shortening the time it takes to produce fruit.
- Grafting will produce new varieties
- Grafting will produce the best offspring/fruit
Now if we take that into the Church realm, and we think like a 1st Century Church, if we are truly grafted into the vine, we and the vine together perform the following:
- We restore the vine where it has lost some of its strength, numbers, etc.
- We find a medium to find nourishment from the Jews and their experiences as well as their history.
- We take the benefits of the Jewish heritage and bring our own benefits and combine to make a better Church
- We can fight the wiles of Satan much better as we are teamed together.
- We find it easier to find God or maybe better said, God to find us. We as a ‘team’ can evangelize much faster and easier.
- We will find new ways of worshiping God. You have to remember, God does not have an ordained ‘Order of Worship’ or a ‘God’s Hymnal’. People do things differently. And that is okay as long as it stays within the bounds of Scripture.
- Together, we will get the BEST offspring, far better than the Jews or the Gentiles alone could produce.
In the allegory, Christ is the rootstock and stem of the vine, the Israelites are the natural branches of the vine, the cultured leafy budding part and we Gentiles are the Wild Olive Branch that has been grafted to the vine. We all get our nourishment from Jesus our Lord. We work together to be the better plant than either one of us are alone.
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.”
2 “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”
3 “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”
4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”
5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
6 “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”
7 “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
8 “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
9 “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.”
10 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.”
Sometimes a branch gets broken off by accident, careless handling or maybe other reasons. A broken off branch cannot be grafted back to the original plant. However, with the right care and effort, that broken branch can be salvaged.
A branch that is broken off cannot heal itself back to the vine.. but, it will re-root itself in new soil and with proper care.
Go ahead and cut it off, as it won’t grow back together. The plant will heal the open wound, and be fine. As to the broken piece, I stuck a broken piece into some potting medium, kept it wet, and it rooted fine. Give it a try, even without the rooting hormone. However, if you don’t care for it, let it lay there without soil or water, it will surely die. This is true of Christians that have had some negative experiences with a particular church body. Pastors, teachers, ministers of various types, take heed that it is not you that breaks the branch.
Being grafted to the vine, we get all the power and authority Jesus had over this world. Jesus explains where he gets his power and authority (nourishment):
19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
20 “For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.”
21 “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”
Then he lets the believers know what they are truly capable of doing.
12 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”
13 “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
14 “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”
15 “¶If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
16 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;”
Because YOU have been grafted to the vine, you have all the power and authority Jesus had and all that power and authority comes directly from God. ‘If that don’t ring your bell your clacker is broke.. ‘ as the old country preacher said.
May God bless your understanding of what it means to be grafted to the vine..