Unless a Grain of Wheat Falls

wheatWho doesn’t love the spring? The winter in my old Kentucky home has been especially harsh this year. It makes the coming of spring even more exciting than usual. The arrival of the first robins, while the weather is still inhospitable, is a sure harbinger of spring. The Jonquils and Crocus pushing through the cold sod bring joy to the bleak winter landscape.  The buds swelling on trees and the song of birds that stayed around and survived the winter echo the joy.

Chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, colored eggs and Easter baskets fill the aisles of the stores. The children become hyper as they anticipate what’s coming. But, the artificial grass and glitter, the sugary candy, and the Easter Bunny can easily obscure the true message of Easter.

Even as we caution children about missing the true meaning of Easter, we need to be vigilant ourselves. The commercialization blitz can turn adult heads as well. We look for “an Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it”. Display windows, newspapers, and television ads hype new Easter clothing, special meals, bigger and better Easter Baskets for the kids and more. Special music at church, spring flowers in the sanctuary, and perhaps even a special Easter treat at church can draw our attention away from the devastating impact of sin. There is sobering reality of the words of Jesus in John 12:23-24 (NKJ)“But Jesus answered them saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone, but if it dies it produces much grain.”

The analogy Jesus used here is of a physical law.  However, it also referred to the most important law – the spiritual law.  In reality, this is an instance of the great ‘law of life’, which God has given to the physical and the spiritual worlds alike.  A grain of wheat, though containing in itself the germ of life, remains alone, unless it falls into the ground and dies. Then, in its own death, it gives life. The life germ in the seed bursts forth-giving life to blade, stalks, and ear that produces many grains. Its death was necessary for the release of the inner life power, which the husk held captive. Jesus was surely speaking first and foremost of Himself. He is the grain of wheat. He died for our sins in order to release inner spiritual life now and physical resurrection later.

Certainly, we celebrate the resurrection! The bursting forth of new life in the Easter season is phenomenal. But God forbid that we should race to the glory and the beauty of the resurrection and gloss over the horrible suffering and excruciating pain of the crucifixion. Our redemption cost God His only begotten son. Because Jesus bore our sins on the cross, the Father had to turn His back on Jesus as He died and ‘fell into the ground’. In this Easter season, as we celebrate the explosion of new life and the resurrection; let us be ever mindful that our hope of new life came at a great price. Our eternal life must be anchored in Jesus’ humiliation, sacrifice, agonizing death, and burial. All these events must be understood before the Easter celebration begins.

~ Brother Roy

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