It was later in the evening when the disciples went outside with Jesus. They probably didn’t know their exact destination, but Jesus did. It would be the Garden of Gethsemane. They may have walked through the temple gates which were embellished with carved clusters of grapes and on through the temple courtyard. Likely they went through some vineyards which were softly visible because of the moonlight. Perhaps they paused in their walking and gathered around Jesus to hear every word that He was saying to them. They must have felt unsettled and very concerned about their friend.
Once again Jesus used a very familiar illustration to help the disciples grasp some deeper spiritual realities. The picture was of a thriving vineyard in which the vines were laden with fruit and of the gardener, who carefully pruned, fed, and cared for every branch that existed, so that the fruit would be luscious and plentiful. In actuality Jesus was describing what their life would be like if they continued to abide or remain in Him and in His love. This new way of living would be full of both joy and peace. However, the reality of hostility and persecution in the days ahead was also something that these disciples must be prepared to face and to understand, so Jesus was careful to prepare them for dealing with the same kind of opposition that He had faced and for meeting that antagonism and even hate through deliberate acts of love and mercy just as He had demonstrated to them throughout His ministry.
Could there have been any better conclusion to Jesus’ final words to His disciples than this? “I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.” (John 16: 33 – The Voice)