"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." John 12:24
One day some Greeks came to Philip with the noble
request, "Sir, we would see Jesus!" But why did they want to see Him?
Perhaps they wanted to take Him back to Athens as a popular new
philosopher. Or perhaps they wanted to save Him from crucifixion and
death, which now seemed inevitable.
Jesus answered with one of the great laws of
harvest: a kernel of grain must fall into the ground and die if it is
to become productive. If He were to save Himself from death, He would
abide alone. He would enjoy the glories of heaven by Himself; there
would be no saved sinners there to share His glory. But if He died, He
would provide a way of salvation by which many would enjoy eternal
life. It was imperative for Him that He die a sacrificial death rather
than live a comfortable life.
T. C. Ragland once said, "Of all plans of
ensuring success, the most certain is Christ's own, becoming a grain of
wheat, falling into the ground and dying. If we refuse to become grains
of wheat... if we will neither sacrifice prospects, nor risk character,
and property and health; nor, when we are called, relinquish home, and
break family ties, for Christ's sake; then we shall abide alone. But if
we wish to be fruitful, we must follow our Blessed Lord Himself, by
becoming a corn of wheat, and dying, then we shall bring forth much
Years ago I read of a group of missionaries in
Africa who had labored tirelessly for years without seeing any lasting
fruit for Cod. In desperation, they finally announced a conference
where they would get before God in prayer and fasting. In the
discussion that followed, one of the missionaries said, "I don't think
we'll ever see blessing until a corn of wheat falls into the ground and
dies." Shortly afterward, that same missionary took sick and died. Then
the harvest began - the blessing which he had predicted.
Samuel Zwemer wrote:
There is no gain but by a loss,
You cannot save but by a cross;
The corn of wheat to multiply
Must fall into the ground and die.
Wherever you ripe fields behold,
Waving to God their sheaves of gold,
Be sure some corn of wheat has died,
Some soul there has been crucified-
Someone has wrestled, wept and prayed,
And fought hell's legions undismayed.