The Hardest Seeds to Sow
Tuesday April 12, 2022
Created by Ethan Roberts
John 12: 20–36 (NIV)
20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”
35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
The cross is drawing near, and Death now casts a long shadow over our Lenten journey. We may know how the story ends, but it does not make these crucial days any easier. The world is full of angst and without hope. We must face those two words that we humans hate the most: the end.
We all know that death and endings are a part of life. In a way, they give it a purpose. If we just went on living forever, there would be no drive to accomplish the purposes to which God has called us. Death gives us drive. It is the competitor we feel we must beat.
Jesus redefines what our perspective of death should be in these verses. Drawing on the beauty of what I imagine as a golden wheat field, he reminds us that it is the seeds that fall to the ground and die that end up bringing life. The world has for so long told us to run away from death, but Jesus makes us pause and question: is that a cause which we should be dedicating a large portion of our lives?
While we all know that we will eventually physically die, there are probably things in our life that we have kept on life-support for far too long. Maybe it is a job, hobby, or relationship that no longer nourishes our soul. We keep it alive not because it serves a purpose, but rather as a point of pride, to say “look how long I have made this last.” All the while, God is saying that it is time to let the seeds fall so that God can re-sow our fields.
I invite you to take a moment to think about death today. Not in a macabre way, but in a way that ponders its mystery. How have you avoided it? Why does it make you afraid? What will God do when you let things die as they should, rather than holding on to them?
God of Resurrection, remind us that new life presumes a kind of death and inspire us to face that death with honesty. Amen.