HOW DEATH PRODUCES REAL LIFE
“DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY”
Jesus leaves us with a very profound message on just how one grain of wheat can produce a bountiful harvest. Listen to what He says, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.” (John 12:24 AMP)
This picture that Jesus paints for us illustrates not only Jesus artistic abilities, but He illustrates it in such a manner that it leaves no doubt as to the meaning of His words and the impact that they could have on the whole human race if only we would take the time to conceptualize them.
Now meditate on this for a moment, when a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, it actually dies before becoming a mature blade producing many new kernels. In the same way, Jesus, by his death, produced more fruit than could have been gained had he become the king of Israel on an earthly throne. Indeed, by being lifted up on the cross, Jesus would draw all people to himself. In this picture of the dying grain, Jesus spoke directly about his own life. He does not necessarily require us to literally give up our lives in sacrificial death as the only way to be fruitful. God does call some believers to die for him. However, he calls many more to stay alive for fruitful service.
Now let us turn to (Romans 12:1-2) and see what is meant by His call for many more to stay alive for fruitful service. I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
Jesus makes a direct appeal to us, He even begs us in view of God’s mercies for us to give up the old way of life, and delicate our entire bodies as a living sacrifice, well pleasing to God, which is only our reasonable service. He furthers employs us to be transformed, that is, changed by the renewing of our minds. Spiritual transformation starts in the mind and heart. A mind dedicated to the world and its concerns will produce a life tossed back and forth by the currents of culture. But a mind dedicated to God’s truth will produce a life that can stand the test of time. We can resist the temptations of our culture by meditating on God’s truth and letting the Holy Spirit guide and shape our thoughts and behaviors.
Now let me tell you this one truth, if anyone wishes to become a true follower of Jesus, you must get your priorities in order and this verse makes it perfectly clear why this must be. Listen up, “Anyone who loves his life loses it, but anyone who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. [Whoever has no love for, no concern for, no regard for his life here on earth, but despises it, preserves his life forever and ever.]
If you choose to love your life more than your Master’s, you will lose the very life that you seek to maintain. True disciples must be willing to suffer and experience rejection, even unto death if need be. To serve and follow Jesus means making radical lifestyle changes. To follow Jesus means going the way he went, not the way of earthly power and honor, but the way of humility and death. Everything Jesus did was for God’s glory. When we choose to follow him, we must live for God’s glory alone. This does not mean we have no fun, no joy, no security. Rather, it simply means we live to honor God and then the Father will honor us.
We must live to honor God, but in order to do so the old must die off in order for new fruit to reproduce it’s self. You see, when a seed dies, it produces fruit. Life comes by death. This principle is true not only in nature, but it is also true spiritually. Jesus was speaking first, and foremost of Himself. He is the grain of wheat. His death would produce much fruit and would result in many living for God. When you live for God, you honor God.
- Living In Reality With God: Avoiding the Error of the Pharisees (doctorsnyder7.wordpress.com)
- Saturday (August 10): “Whoever loves his life loses it.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
- Fire and Division (friarmusings.wordpress.com)