The Bible uses rich metaphors to explore the nature and essence of Christ’s redemptive work. Jesus often used agricultural metaphors to teach his followers about his own death. We have been going through John’s Gospel during our Bible study at Manna each week. In this week’s text (Chapter 12) Jesus indicated that His death would be a path to abundant life resulting in the production of much fruit: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified… unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Considering the paradoxical nature of death bringing forth life, it is only through the cross, just as a kernel of wheat must die to produce a harvest, that new life in Christ and reconciliation with God are accomplished. This paradox is borne out every spring. In the fall, we plant seemingly dead bulbs. Nothing to look at, a dull brown, they were buried under the earth all winter. But now, as spring comes on beautiful green leaves, shoots and stems burst forth. Within a few weeks, we will see their beautiful colors. Their glory camouflaged in ugly packaging, one bulb produces green leaves and flowers in abundance. So it is with Jesus’s suffering and death: new life comes as a result. Enclosed in the Cross of Calvary is a beautiful, life-giving seed. Long before the beauty of Resurrection morning, a tiny kernel of wheat dies—it lays buried, apparently dead. This is a great paradox and a great hope: that which has died will come to life and bear much fruit.
How great is God’s love for us! When we were helpless and hopeless, He did for us wheat we could not do for ourselves. When we were at our worst, He was at His best. Praise be to our God!
I hope you will be here next Sunday as we celebrate the greatest truth of all. Bring someone with you, we will set up chairs.