Fruit From The Dead Grain
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, 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).
They hated Him without a cause. The B that dispensed only good, that healed their sick, cured their blind, loosed the tongue of their dumb, raised their dead, blessed their children, and fed their bodies, they nailed to Golgotha’s tree. The Feet that walked only in the path of righteousness, that travelled weary, dusty, sun-scorched miles to bless them, they nailed to Golgotha’s tree. They fulfilled His own prophetic statement, “They pierced My hands and My feet,” (Psalm 22:16).
The Heart that beat only for God, that was ever full of compassion for them; that in every word, every deed, every silence, and every inaction manifested God; the Heart that told out constantly, unremittingly the love of God for His rebellious, wretched creature man; that Heart they would make sure was stilled forever, so, “When they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already… one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water,” (John 19:33-34). The corn of wheat had fallen into the ground and died; what fruit would it now bring forth?
The first three Gospels conclude with a commission to preach the glad tidings that Jesus Christ had died and risen again. Is there no such commission at the close of the Gospel that in its very inception reaches out to all the world, the Gospel that opens with, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name…” (John 1:12), and, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16)? Indeed there is a commission, but it embraces much more than a mere word-of-mouth testimony, much more than just a ministry of baptism, and very much more than even a witness of miracles to a Resurrected Christ, great as are all these. What then is the commission that concludes the Gospel according to John? It is the testimony of the multiplied corn of wheat. Not only is it the telling out of the gospel of the grace of God, but it is the living out of the results of the gospel, the life of the Indwelling Christ.
Read chapter 21, starting at verse 11, “So, when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me More than these? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love thee.” Is not this fruit from the pierced side of the Master--a heart drawn out in affection to Him? “He saith unto him, Feed My lambs.” Here we have the commission of the pierced hand--”What I have done, you do,” “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father,” (14:12).
“He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee.” The pierced side is reproducing itself in Peter. “Feed (shepherd) My sheep.” The pierced hands are reproduced in Peter.
“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him ,the third time, lovest thou Me? And he saith unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee.” The pierced side germinates in Peter an affection that can bear the closest scrutiny of His Lord’s all-seeing eyes, the Lord who again commands “Feed My Sheep.” Peter’s hands are to do, from a heart captivated by Him, the work of His heart.
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdest thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God.” (Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name, (12:27).” “And when He had spoken this, He said unto him, Follow Me.” The pierced feet are to reproduce themselves in Peter, who once walked where he would, but now is to walk in the path of the Lord’s choosing; a path of righteousness that will lead, as did the Lord’s path, to death; but a death that will, as did His death, glorify God.
“Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?” Much gracious work must yet be done within Peter; the newly commissioned shepherd must himself be patiently shepherded by the Chief Shepherd. “Jesus saith unto him, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me.” Peter’s feet are to tread a weary road similar to that which the Master trod; he is to tread it in a righteous life of service in the gospel and in the feeding of the flock of Christ. His is not a commission of prying into the Lord’s plan for John’s life, but of looking diligently after the welfare of all the Lord’s lambs and sheep.
How vastly greater and deeper is this commission than those which conclude the other gospels. Theirs is to tell what He has done. This is to be a reproduction of His heart, His hands, His feet. Is this commission applicable only to Peter? No; no more than are the other commissions limited to the eleven to whom Christ spoke them in Galilee and in Jerusalem; no more than is the Gospel of Luke only for the eyes of Theophilus.
Ours is the commission of the multiplied corn of wheat. Even a poor leprous Gehazi can tell what wonders his master has wrought (2 Kings chapters 5 and 8). Only an Elisha whose eyes have been fixed on his master glorified can by the spirit of that master do greater deeds than he ever had done (2 Kings chapter 2). Our hearts are to beat as Christ’s heart did in love to God and man; our hands are to serve as His hands; our feet are to walk as His feet, and thus the life also of Jesus will be made manifest in our mortal flesh, (2 Cor. 4:10-11).