Short Meds in ‘Living the Life’: 7. Died!
Jn 12:24 “unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
I find there are certain parts of scripture that, at first sight, I don’t like. So this is Jesus speaking about himself – and us! We have been thinking throughout this week about human wisdom, human strength, and human energy, all of which are vital for living our daily lives but all of which can be a stumbling block that prevents the Holy Spirit having His way and achieving the will of God through us. Yes, Jesus said this about himself, but the more you read your New Testament the more you realise it also applies to us.
When it comes to this verse, I can understand Jesus applied it to himself, having to die on the Cross to achieve redemption for us, but when it comes to us, that doesn’t seem so comfortable – at first sight at least. It’s like Lk 9:24 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me,” but then I realised something: for Jesus taking up his cross meant going towards Calvary, for us it is walking after Calvary – we HAVE died when we came to Christ.
Romans 6 speaks of this. For us, taking up our cross is a reminder of what has already happened and that we are both dead in Christ and are being raised again in Christ. I don’t have to look forward to the seed of my life falling into the ground and dying, it already has. It did on the day I laid down my life, gave it to Him and was born again. Yes, I do need reminding of that, that I have died and in him I am dead, and so it is his life flowing in me, raising me up and making me what I am today.
THIS is what makes us so radically different from people around the world in other religions. I don’t have to strive to reach God, appease God or get God on my side, I don’t have to offer sacrifices to Him to please Him, I don’t have to worship Him to placate Him. I’ve died! As Paul wrote, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17)
While we still have our own self-centred life with its propensity towards godlessness (combined otherwise known as Sin) then we will never have the power of God flowing through us in the measure He wants. Peter declared, “I will lay down my life for you,” (Jn13:37) but he was only able to do that after he had ‘died’ in failure and Jesus raised him up by his acceptance of him after the resurrection. Peter was never the same again and when we came to Christ and he accepted us, we too were never the same again. We had let go and died to the old life and we have received both forgiveness and his Spirit and so in both mind and spirit we were utterly dead to the past and alive to God’s new life for me. I just need reminding of that daily as I count myself “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 6:11) Hallelujah!