Crosses             LBG                  HateLove

Devotional - week of April 21, 2002


DEATH FIRST!

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.  John 12:24

Jesus spoke these words just after Andrew and Philip told Him that Greeks were present and desired to see Him.

But why such a response? Why did Jesus not immediately invite them to be with Him that He might teach them?

Jesus reacted as He did because He knew that the gospel would spread to the uttermost part of the earth and that many in and beyond the Jewish world would receive Him and enter into fullness of life.

He knew also that before the blessings would flow to both the Jewish and Gentile worlds He would die and be raised from the dead. He knew the Father would send the Holy Spirit.

On this occasion Jesus used a grain of wheat to illustrate the necessity of His death. Hidden beneath the hard shell within each grain there is life that can multiply into many grains of wheat. Death releases the hidden life.

However, the grain of wheat must be placed in the earth where the hard shell deteriorates and releases the inner life that produces the many more grains of wheat.

As Jesus illustrated the necessity of His own death, He surely spoke another message. His followers may become producers of much fruit through experiencing death. 

In Galatians 5:24 the Apostle Paul wrote that when we gave ourselves to Jesus, we crucified our flesh. Yet, we must experience the crucifixion of our flesh by obeying the five commands of Romans 6:11-13.

As we continually experience the crucifixion of our flesh, the indwelling Holy Spirit is free to both fill us and flow from us as life-giving water. Through us God produces much fruit.

Bearing fruit for the blessing of others and for the glory of God is a matter of “Death First.”