“Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.” NRSV
Here, Jesus uses one of the basic principles of plant biology to make one of the most important statements of faith. For a seed to become the plant it is intended to be it must first “die.” Of course, it is not “death”, but a transformation. The aril or protective covering of the seed is dissolved by the moisture in the soil. This releases the “new life” contained in the seed allowing the seed to bear its intended fruit.
We come into the world as “faith seeds.” Buried beneath the layer upon layer of lived experience is our true, intended purpose that God placed in each of us, our “faith seed.” When we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and pass through the waters of baptism, our seeds of faith are planted into the spiritual garden Jesus cultivated by his life and teachings. These acts release and wash away those layers of experience that prevented our faith seeds from being planted and taking root. Like the bean seed planted in your garden, with the layers removed, you are free to start living the fruit bearing life of faith you were intended to live.
This is what makes Jesus’ warning here so important, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain.” Too many of us want to be counted among the faithful without ever allowing ourselves to be planted in God’s spiritual garden and experience the necessary transformation. That might help explain the lack of fruit the church is producing in the world today.
Be a blessing to someone today!