“Finally!” we hear ourselves say when the seeds sprout. It brings pleasure to child and adult alike to see the signs of new life. From something weak, insignificant and self-evidently dead, comes new life. It’s simply amazing!
Jesus was a dab hand at using everyday things to communicate complex truths. That’s what made his teaching so memorable.
Shortly after riding into Jerusalem with lots of festivalgoers, Jesus spoke in ominous terms about the week ahead. There would be a whirlwind of activity, so they’d need to be clear about what would happen to him.
Jesus said his imminent death would be like a seed being planted in the ground: ‘the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, 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 12v23-24). Many dismissed Jesus as being unimportant and said that he was wildly misguided. The plot to eliminate him proved that he was powerless: like everybody else he would end up dead and buried, just a footnote on a page of history. But Jesus said that his body would be like planting a seed. In time it would spring to life! The natural world has an in-built visual aid in the form of seeds that point us to this truth.
Jesus’ death and resurrection are the core truths for his followers. Jesus’ resurrection sets the future for his people: they will receive a new body fit for heaven and so live with the risen Christ. This is the basis of comfort for all pain and loss experienced. It also means that the wisest investment of our time and effort is to follow in his footsteps and serve him: ‘Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me’ (John 12v25-26).
The hour of his death would prove to be the hour of his glory. It was the hour that changed the world. For this reason the day of rest is on Sundays – each one is a mini-Easter as it marks the day of resurrection. Join us this Easter to discover more about this great hope made sure by Jesus, who alone has defeated the power of sin and death.