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On The Upper Room Discourse Re-Release For Lent 2024

April 16

23 Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man  to be glorified. 24 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.
John 12:23-24

This time of year spring flowers are blossoming across the Holy Land, dressing  up for Easter. The hillsides of Galilee are a vibrant carpet of color, pink and  white cyclamen, red, white and purple anemones, irises and daisies.  Honeysuckle creeps over the rocky outcroppings. Every lovely flower rises from  a grave where a seed had first been laid to rest.

In today’s text Jesus is drawing upon an illustration from nature, which he offers  us as a mini-parable. Jesus speaks of a profound mystery, and underlines its  significance with the words, “Very truly.” Yes, very truly, here is a miracle that  Jesus does not want us to miss: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth  and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Jesus is  telling us that death is a prelude to blessing. Death is a prelude to harvest.

Without the seed dying to itself, disintegrating and coming apart, there will be  no fruit.    In this, Jesus is describing his own life, which like a seed that dies brings forth  fruit, so Jesus, by his death, will bring forth a harvest. And what is true in Jesus’  life, and true in nature, will also prove true for us — it is in dying to ourselves  that we will blossom. It is in dying to ourselves that we will live fruitful and  rewarding lives.

What might it mean for you to die to yourself?    Can you think of a time in your life when a “death” or “dead end”  brought forth life and fruitfulness?    Seen on a poster: “Just when the caterpillar thought its world had  ended it became a butterfly!”


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