From Dark Death to Living Light

October 10, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Posted in John | 1 Comment
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Jesus, having learned of a contingent of gentiles who wanted an audience with Him as He made His way to Jerusalem with His followers and those waving palm branches, began to explain that His death would be the necessary fulfillment of all that He came to do.

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

A kernel of wheat – a seed – must be buried away, in the dark, alone, in order to fulfill its purpose, and in its “death” it brings forth not only new life, but “much fruit.” This is a key New Testament theme, present in the Old Testament, but now revealed in a greater light. In order to bring forth fruit to the glory of God, followers of Jesus must die to self, both at the moment of salvation, and in ongoing service throughout our lives.

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

John 12:25

It’s not that we hate life itself; it’s that we hate the life that our flesh considers “ours.” We receive a new kind of life – eternal life, “God life” – that is directed unto the service and glorification of God, and the service of others, not self-service. This way, people will recognize God’s greatness and goodness in deeds that He inspires and empowers us to do. This hearkens all the way back to John 3.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

John 3:19-21, emphasis added

It also foreshadows Ephesians 2’s great statement spelling out the distinction between working BECAUSE OF salvation, rather than working FOR salvation.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

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.

John 12:27

This sounds similar to the prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane: “If it be possible let this cup pass from Me, but nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.”

Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

John 12:28 (emphasis added)

“Father, glorify Thy name.” This should be our prayer in even our most extreme trials.

God had already gloried His own name through Christ, primarily through His miracles, and, secondarily, through Christ’s perfect obedience and consistent attribution of His own actions and words as being the same as God’s actions and words. “I will glorify it again” points directly to the Cross.

The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.

John 12:29-30

The people did not have ears to hear God’s voice. It sounded like thunder, reminiscent of God’s revelation at Mt. Sinai:

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

Exodus 20:18-19

This was also a fulfillment of several prophecies throughout Isaiah about God increasing the inability of people who would reject His servant to hear or understand His Words and His teachings, which prompted the Holy Spirit to cause John to close out Chapter 12 with a theological treatise on the cause of the people’s unbelieving response to three-plus years of Jesus’s hands-on in-person ministry, miracles, and manifestation among them:

But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:

John 12:37, emphasis added

Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.

John 12:44, emphasis added

I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

John 12:46, emphasis added

Fresh, Frail, or Fruitful?

July 27, 2012 at 9:28 am | Posted in Ecclesiastes | 5 Comments
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Many Christians struggle with dissatisfaction – a lack of contentment. In some of the more Charismatic denominations this dissatisfaction manifests itself in the never-ending quest for “fresh anointings.” For others, it expresses itself in a desire for a new job, a new home, a new hobby, a new spouse, a new preacher, or a new church.

Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the desire: this is also vanity and vexation of spirit.

Ecclesiastes 6:9

Part of the problem is a lack of faithfulness. Most Christians dabble around the edges of faithfulness and never fully commit themselves to the Lord. If you are experiencing dissatisfaction, get involved in serving God on a higher, more challenging, more committed level. Take away some of your focus on work, fun, entertainment, food, clothes – and put that focus on God instead. He will not only increase your faithfulness as you start to serve – He will make your service and involvement more exciting and more satisfying. And beware of using the excuse that you are “too busy” to serve God more.

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Matthew 4:18

Do you think the Disciples and the Apostles weren’t busy before they met Jesus? That they had nothing “better” to do? Peter and Andrew, Philip, James, and John were all fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Matthew was a tax collector. Simon was a zealot and a rebel. Thomas was a servant. Judas was a bookkeeper or an accountant. Paul was a tent-maker. And of course, Jesus Himself, before He began His public ministry, was a carpenter. But they found far greater contentment in following the Lord.

Contentment is not just stewing in your own juices: “Well, this is all there is – nothing out there will make me happy, so I might as well get used to it.” No, contentment is not resigned acceptance. Contentment is carrying within you all the things you need to be satisfied. If something external comes along that adds to your happiness, great, but do not become dependent on it. If you have Jesus and the true peace that He brings already inside you, then you can be content even if you are like a seed planted in darkness, all alone. Because, even though seeds are tiny, they have tremendous power contained within them. It’s only after a seed has been growing into a plant for a while that it becomes beautiful and starts impacting the environment around it. Seeds turn into plants or trees that become beautiful and fruitful. If you are a Christian, you are like a seed planted by God. You must stay faithful and content long enough to grow. Then God will show you the beauty in your life and make you fruitful, which is even better.

That which hath been is named already, and it is known that it is man: neither may he contend with him that is mightier than he.

Ecclesiastes 6:10

It’s no use arguing with God. The world places so much emphasis on propagating the idea that unless you are “creating a stir” to the point where you are consistently noticed by others for something provocative, then you are not really important. But causing a stir in this present vain world does not necessarily translate to anything of consequence in eternity.


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