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!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Your full attention, please

My mother frequently uses the term "Listen to me!" as a way of getting my attention so that I actually stop, pay close attention, and hear out whatever her idea or issue is at the moment. It isn't always at the most convenient moment, nor is it always easy for her to get out whatever it is she wants to share. Yet, it is important enough for her to ask to for me to hear it, so I respond with, "I'm listening, mom", and she begins.  It isn't said in anger or in a moment of disappointment. Rather, these words are usually spoken in a "sing-song" manner, but with very specific intent - they are intended to get me to REALLY listen to what she was saying. Why? Because she knows she has something to say even if it is getting harder for her to say it! She has walked through much already, learned many lessons, and has the advantage of experience on her side, but the disadvantage of advancing age makes it harder and harder for her to actually form those t…

Getting at the heart of it all

Have you ever seen someone so good with their skinning knife they can just peel away the hide of an animal without a rip or tear, no waste of any of the meat just below that skin? I have seen some fishermen able to fillet their catch with such skill not even one bone is found in the fillet. How do they learn this skill? I think it comes to them through practice and with the employment of the right 'tool' to do the job at hand. There is comfort in knowing that God means what he says and his Word will come to pass. His Word is like the scalpel in the skilled hands of a surgeon or the knife in the hands of the skilled hunter. As a nurse, I have seen the skillful use of the scalpel - dissecting away the finest of tissue to protect the healthy tissue and to expose the tissue that has become devitalized by disease or decay. I have also seen the damage done by a "blade" in the hands of one not trained or at all skilled in its use. The difference is beyond description.

God m…

Be a little salt

Ever wonder why Jesus left his disciples with the idea of being 'salt on this earth'? We don't fully appreciate salt these days because we aren't as accustomed to how it was used during the times Jesus spoke those words. We often have to put ourselves into the culture where the words are being recorded in order to fully comprehend the significance of their meaning. In the days of the disciples, salt was a basic "staple" of life. It was that which acted as "preservation" for everything. It also was the main seasoning of the dishes prepared - although there were other spices, salt was a 'staple'. Perhaps we would do well to look at some of the other functions of salt in order to see what Jesus may have meant when he referred to our lives a salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of the earth.

"Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltin…