Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
“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. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
Here is how this conversation essentially goes. The people ask, “We would like to see Jesus.” Jesus answers them, “The hour has come for me to be glorified.”
“Great!” The people say. “We want you to be glorified and we want to be glorified with you.” Jesus says, “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. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me…”
In 13 verses a form of the word glorify or be glorified is used 6 times. In Greek it is the word doxazó (dox-ad’-zo) and it is used just as we use it, to honor or hold in high esteem someone or something that is worthy of such. The people say in essence, “We want to see your glory!” and Jesus says, “Now is my time to be glorified.” But what the two have in mind couldn’t be more different.
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.
What are seeds? Seeds are the origin of everything we see. Every tree, plant, blade of grass or human being began as a seed that died. Seeds don’t just die they decay. They form a micro compost within in which the life of a plant can be nurtured, and this death, this decay happens completely out of sight. The process of going from seed to sprout happens under the ground – seeds disappear for a time and it is assumed that what little life existed has come to a forgettable end.
You see, we want Jesus, the Good Seed to remain intact. We want to treasure The Seed in our hearts and encourage others to invite The Seed in to their own hearts as well. We put The Seed on our walls, coffee tables and even adorn It on our jewlry. We fight to keep The Seed in our schools and display The Seed prominently on the lawn of our courthouses. We talk about keeping The Seed central in our relationships and always putting the Seed first in all that we do. We build beautiful churches for The Seed to live in and those structures tend to carry the very presences of The Seed in our eyes.
Our default is to put The Seed in the place of prominence because we believe that from that seat, from that place of power The Seed will be able to affect change. We want The Seed to be glorified like a king but Jesus tells us he must be glorified like a plant. And what an image for creation – through the destruction brought through the tree of the knowledge of good and evil an invitation is given to replant.
Honestly, I don’t think we were really even meant to see Jesus in this world. I think if we see him it’s like what he said above, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.” I think Jesus always intended to decay into the ground and spring up a plant that produced seed upon seed upon seed. Look at a forrest. Where did it start? What tree can we point to as the grandmother of them all (maybe the Redwoods being the exception :))? We can’t, yet all we see are trees producing more dying seeds.
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.”
So many points I want to make but here’s the last one. Are you searching for Jesus, for his voice, for his leading? Understand that he has been metabolized into your life. The very presence of the Holy Spirit has been dissolved into the cocktail of your life and into the atmosphere around you. The good news of Jesus is as Paul writes,
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Christ is not only in your life as we would expect The Good Seed to be. Christ is also between your life, between your life and the struggle, between your life and the life of those you’re in conflict with and between your life and your healing inner landscape. Christ is between your life and his calling on your life, holding all together and more importantly drawing it all together.
Therefore, let us sow generously knowing that in our lives Jesus is reaping a harvest.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.