Skip to main content

No death is ever without multiplied effect

The disciples were not a whole lot different than you and I - simple folk, living day-to-day, making a living with the labor of their hands and the skills of the mind.  They asked questions when things didn't make sense and ventured to solve issues which they had no real business getting involved in.  Their needs were similar, ranging from daily bread to new sandals.  They didn't always recognize when greatness was in their midst, and seldom realized scripture was being fulfilled right before their eyes.  When Jesus wanted to get a point across to them, he often had to call attention to what he was saying - simply because they were distracted, only listening half-heartedly, or because they didn't recognize the significance of what he was saying directly to them.  In these ways we are also like the disciples - needing Jesus to tell us plainly when it is REALLY important for us to hear something!

Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.  (John 12:24-25 MSG)

Such is the case when Jesus uttered these words - distractions, questions galore, things just not making sense at the moment - he has to call their attention to the fact he needs them to hear something very important.  He is about to be taken from them - his death is imminent.  The day was filled with crowds of curious onlookers, questioning Greek scholars, and pompous Pharisee religious leaders - but to his disciples, he directs his attention.  In turn, he asks them to direct their attention fully toward him.  God has a way of doing this whenever he wants us to "get" something - perhaps even something he has been telling us in multiple ways for quite some time.  When it is time for us to "hear", he asks for us to really "listen".

The crux of his message - he MUST die in order that THEY might live.  His message to them - be as reckless in your love as I have been in mine.  This is a pretty big challenge, don't you think?  Be as reckless in our love as he has been in his love toward mankind - what does that look like?  Maybe reckless suggests to you this idea of throwing caution to the wind.  Or perhaps just being so unconcerned with the consequences that you just do something.  I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind for us.  In fact, Jesus is talking more about what we live our life FOR more than anything else.  He wants us to recognize that kingdom living requires reckless abandonment of all our own agendas and plans - in order to take up his.

To illustrate the point, he uses the analogy of a grain of wheat falling (or being purposefully planted) into the ground.  Once inside the soil, surrounded by the warmth and nutrients of the ground holding it so tight, it begins to "breakdown" on the inside.  The change to the kernel of wheat is not visible on the outside at first, but the process of transformation begins deep within the tiny kernel.  Maybe this is what Jesus was really directing the disciples to learn - all growth begins as a matter of death - death producing a life transforming change which begins from the inside.  His death was necessary for our life-transformation.  Our death to self is necessary for the life-transformation he so desires for each of us.

No death is ever without multiplied effect.  This is the second principle Jesus taught.  His death would result in many more millions than we'd ever be able to count coming close to the Father's heart in intimate relationship through Jesus, his Son.  Our death would bring untold numbers into the revelation of God's transformational power.  A life laid down at the foot of the cross will enable the multiplied effect of God's transforming power.  We can struggle to hold onto our life, but our stubborn hold on living life by our own terms will never yield exponential growth.  The only way to experience growth is through death.  A hard truth to embrace, but a necessary one!  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean