The Seed Must Die

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24).

As Jesus marched courageously toward His crucifixion He knew exactly what the Father had in mind.  A powerful force was about to be unleashed upon the world that would eventually sweep untold millions into the Kingdom of God.  Later in John 12 Jesus said, “I, when I have been lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (v.32).  He was actually speaking about the death He would endure when His body was lifted up on the Cross to die one of the cruelest deaths imaginable – death by crucifixion.

 This is an important principle in the Christ-life.  The gateway to the abundant blessing of God is always through death – not necessarily physical death, but a dying to self and to the world that then paves the way for the awesome activity of God.

Jesus saw Himself as a seed or kernel of wheat that had to fall into the ground and die in order to produce a harvest.  Jesus is speaking of the agricultural process where the seed that is sown into the blackness of the earth results in the miraculous process of germination.  Soon a little plant sprouts and before long a stalk of grain pushes upward and is crowned with a head filled with countless new seeds – the promise of a multiplied harvest.

Times of revival are generally marked by a harvest of souls that come to faith in Jesus Christ.  This is possible because 2000 years ago the Lord Jesus was crucified and became that kernel of wheat that fell into the ground and died.  In the darkness of a borrowed tomb spiritual life exploded.  Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and as He came forth He was the firstfruit of a glorious harvest of countless others who would be raised to newness of life.  “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

This great harvest of souls is also possible because Christ-followers radically obey Jesus when He commanded, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).  Jesus died to His own wishes and submitted to the will of His Father.  So we are called to do the same.  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24).

Daily we are faced with the challenge of dying to our own ambitions, amusements and agendas in order to live for righteousness.  Unless the kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains only a single seed.  If there is to be any widespread revival that results in great numbers of people coming into the Kingdom of God, it will be as believers take up the “exchanged life” described by the Apostle Paul:  “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

The battle that rages in each of our souls looks like this:

“I’m just too busy to set aside the time to draw near to God in prayer.”  Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies…

“My time is precious to me. I will not give up any of it to seriously seek God in His Word.”  Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies…

“This secret sin is just too hard to shake; it’s just the way I am.”  Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies…

“Witnessing?  Forget it. I will not risk humiliation over Jesus.”  Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies…

“Tithing?  That’s impossible.  I need every cent for my needs and wants.”  Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies…

“Fasting?  You’ve got to be kidding!  I can’t miss a meal.”  Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies…

“Sorry, I can’t take on that new ministry.  I need more time for myself and my family.”  Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies…

“I’m afraid if I really get serious about Jesus I won’t be accepted by my friends.”  Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies…

In 1956 Jim Elliot and four other courageous souls heard the call of God to take the Gospel into a dangerous region of Ecuador.  Just two days after arriving all five men were dead, having been savagely killed by the Ecuadorian Indians they had gone to reach for Christ.  Elliot and his colleagues left behind five young widows and nine fatherless children.  The blood of these five martyrs became the fuel for the fires of spiritual awakening that broke out in the region.  God used their witness, and the witness of their wives who remained in Ecuador to reach the people who had murdered their husbands.

Some would say it was a waste.  Jim Elliott would disagree.  In a journal entry six years before his death Jim Elliot wrote:  “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Jesus always speaks truth.  “Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter

Comments are closed.

  • Bio & Introduction

    Dr. Michael Dean has been the senior pastor at Travis Avenue Baptist Church since 1991, having also served churches elsewhere in Texas and New Mexico. He and his wife Nan are blessed with two married children and two grandchildren. With a keen sense of calling to shepherd the flock of God entrusted to his care, Michael longs to see people become passionate followers of Jesus Christ. His hobbies include long-distance running, golf and hunting.

  • Links