disintegration = harvest | John 12.23-24
And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:23-24 | ESV
Jesus immediately sees that much more is happening here than an awkward interview with some outsider Greeks. Looking through all of them he says, “It has come. It’s time. The full display of God’s wondrous beauty in and through the Son of Man. Mark this down and underline it – twice: If a grain of wheat doesn’t leave it’s safe place and hit the dirt, die and disintegrate, it doesn’t accomplish a thing. Ah, but if it does disintegrate, it brings on a bumper crop. MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
How much of what is said here and in what follows was said to Philip and Andrew (and any of the other disciples present) and how much was for the Greeks tagging along behind them, is a good question.
But the fact is it is written down here for us.
I like Edersheim ‘s comment here:
“On a thousand hills was the glorious harvest to tremble in the golden sunlight; but the corn of wheat falling into the ground, must, as it falls, die, burst its envelope, and so spring into a very manifoldness of life. Otherwise would it have remained alone.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was more pointed:
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
I like that a lot less. In fact, I really don’t care for it at all.
What a sobering contrast to Jesus’ word “I have come that you might have life and have it to the full”!
We are all about preserving, maximizing ourselves.
Saving our dignity.
Saving face – literally.
Keeping our reputation.
Recouping our investments.
Securing our property.
Maintaining our rights.
It’s quite the unpleasant shock to receive such a sobering splash of cold water to our collective faces. He that saves his life will lose it, he that loses it, saves, finds, discovers it.
Here the saving that comes from losing is magnified exponentially. By yielding to the disintegration of what we naturally would protect, promote and preserve, it’s not just our life that we truly find – but life for multitudes we can’t even imagine.
Our entire culture is geared towards the preservation of our health, our wealth, our way of life, our pleasure, our _____________. How hard we work to keep the “envelope” of our life and all we hold dear from its “bursting.”
But if we would truly see life – for ourselves and for untold numbers of others, burst it must.
When have you experienced “life” in the midst of “death,” “gain” through “loss”? What loss have you experienced most recently? What are you being challenged to lose and lay down willingly?
Abba, your kingdom equations so often don’t add up for me! Open my eyes to see larger, my ears to hear deeper, and my heart to trust your math when all the calculations seem way off to me. Give me the faith to entrust the envelope of my life into your hands, to be burst as and when you would, that there may be life. Through Jesus.