“Except the grain of wheat falling into the ground die, it abides alone; but if it die, it bears much fruit.” —John 12:24 KJV
By Grant Steidl
At first glance these words of our Lord seem to be a strange answer to give to people who simply wanted to see Him. What did He mean by them? As He continued speaking an amazing message began to emerge – one that has rung down the ages with an unchanging tone. It is this: All that is for God results from death.
The Lord Himself was that grain of wheat who fell into the ground and died so He might not abide alone. His finished work at Calvary’s cross has already produced an abundant eternal harvest. Even now He is bringing many sons to glory who will be eternally conformed to His image – just as the grains of wheat on a stalk resemble the seed that died to produce them.
But more, these grains of wheat which result from the death of Christ must likewise fall into the ground and die if they are to bear fruit for God. Having learned that Christ died for them, they must further learn that they have died with Him – and are risen with Him to walk in newness of life. Then they will begin to experience what it means to keep their lives by hating them (v.25). Perhaps a little story will help.
Many years ago a party of British sailors landed on a frozen northerly island and accidentally set it on fire. Its stunted scrub brush quickly went up in flames. It seemed a shame that the island should lose what little vegetation it had. But that isn’t the end of the story. Years later the island was found to be covered with beautiful silver birches. Their seeds had sprouted through the warmth of the fire. The death of the old made possible the growth and display of the new.
So when we allow our scrubby natural life to go up in smoke, fruit springing out of death shall be seen in our lives. What a worthwhile exchange!