"The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone - a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels - a plentiful harvest of new lives. (John 12:24 NLT)
Jesus Christ, after being praised entering Jerusalem in the famous scene of Palm Sunday, makes these comments to some Greeks who had come to meet Him. Ever on point, ever mindful of His mission, never concerned with the praise of men. I marvel at this singleness and clarity of purpose. Jesus, not the least bit swayed, soberly stands and indicates He will die, so many will live.
In the same two sentences and the verse that follows, Jesus challenges His followers, too. If you want to live, you die. Holding on to this life, protecting ourselves from bad things or letting go, trusting the Lord God with our lives, stuff, family, reputation, what others might think of us, our future, the future of our children is futile. Jesus clearly states when we seek our own purposes we die…alone, a single seed. Can you picture a pile of seeds spilled in a pile on a barn floor? They may be next to one another, but they're alone. They might as well be a million miles apart, like stars in the sky. Protected by their outer shells, the kernels have no contact with each other.
The best part of the seed, is inside, the kernel. The only way to get to the kernel is to plant the seed in the ground, to let the soil tear through the shell, exposing the seed. Then, it begins to grow. So, I bet you know this already, on some level, even if you're not a farmer or gardener. The real question is if we put our lives in God's hands, if we allow our inner self, our soul to be exposed, will He come through for us. Can we trust God with more than our death, can we trust Him with our lives?
May I offer some evidence that our Savior, our King can be trusted? A gentle reminder that our God is not only holy, deserving of our lives, but He is undefeated:
Abraham left everything he knew, certain security and God not only provided for he and his wife in an unknown land, He created a nation through him.
Joseph sold into slavery, had to be desperate, but he bet on God, in the face of every challenge and God not only elevated him to the 2nd highest position in Egypt, He used Joseph to provide sanctuary to his family and his people in a devastating famine.
Moses, leaving his royal upbringing, trusted God with his life and God used him to lead his nation of people out of slavery and to the promised land.
The best example is Jesus. In this verse, a week from His death, Jesus is telling us He is going to give His life, so many will be saved. Can you imagine our enemy's temporary joy when Jesus was being whipped, beaten, pierced, hung and ultimately died? At long last, he must have thought he secured the biggest victory. Only to see the stone roll away and death forever destroyed.
Oh yes, our Savior can be trusted with our lives. The real question is once I let go, where will the Lord take me, what plentiful harvest does the Lord God want to achieve through my surrender?
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot, just another missionary who bet on God with his life and now an entire tribe of people will live forever (there's one more if you're keeping score)