If it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:20-50 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; 21 these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 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. 25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. 26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.” Then a voice came out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, “An angel has spoken to Him.” 30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31 Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. 34 The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36 While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”
These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.” 41 These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him. 42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.
44 And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me. 46 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”
In today’s text Jesus says: “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.” Many people live their lives seeking glory. Jesus says: “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” If we seek glory in this life, then our glory dies with us. If instead we live to glorify God, then we have eternal life. If we have focused our lives on the things of the world, material things and the recognition of people, those things may last a while after we are gone, perhaps a few years or at best through another generation. Whether quickly or slowly those things will fade and no longer exist. As Jesus says, when we die, our lives will continue to bear fruit. In Matthew 7:18 Jesus shares a simple truth. He says: “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” That’s the way it works, every seed produces its own kind. An apple seed cannot produce grapes. Neither can bad seed produce what is good. The reproduction continues without change, seed to fruit continuing to produce after its kind. We each should ask ourselves; what kind of seed do we want to be planted when we die? The fruit of the lives we live will continue to bear after its kind long after the material things we left are gone.
In Galatians 5:16-23 we see the things of our lives which we must choose that will determine the fruit that is produced when we are gone. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. The continuing fruit, born of our lives will be after the kind of life we have lived. If we would leave anything for future generations, may it be the fruit of a life well lived.
While natural fruit is born from seed after its own kind. There is hope and a way to change the fruit of our own lives, even if what was sown before was not good. Jesus says: “My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” Jesus came for the purpose of redemption and restoration. The way He lived is the fruit that continues through His death. Through Him, what the psalmist says in Psalm 126:5-6 is true: Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. When we look at the genealogy of Jesus recorded in the Bible, we will see that there was more than a little bad seed. His natural line included those who were born of and participated in all sorts of sin. He came though to redeem and restore. In Him and through Him even what was sown from bad seed can be restored to what God intended. We were created in the image and likeness of God. In today’s text it says: “I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. Through the cross we are not only forgiven of our own sins, but we are also redeemed and restored from all that went before us. We are reborn of the seed of Christ rather than of natural seed.
In today’s text it says: They loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God. That too is a question we each must answer. Whose approval do we live for, man’s or God’s? That too will be part of the fruit of our lives which will continue after we are gone. In today’s text Jesus says: “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” In Matthew 5:14-16 He says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” What He came for, He calls us to continue in.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for the power of the life You lived and the power of the cross; that I am redeemed, forgiven of my sin and I am restored. Regardless of what is behind me, I am new in and through You. Holy Spirit help me to live a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit, with: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. That those would be the seeds I would sow both now and even in my death. Amen.