December 26, 2009

Accepting Death

John 12:20-26

“Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.”
John 12:24


We all have fears. The number one fear of many people seems to be speaking in public—even more than the fear of death! Comedian Jerry Seinfeld once quipped that if we were given the choice, we would rather be lying in the casket than giving the eulogy.

In reality, though, death is what terrifies us most. But Jesus reminds us that if our lives are knit with his, death becomes the way he brings us closer to himself. In John 12, Jesus offers a simple parable to illustrate that God uses death to transform us further into the life of God.

As crowds gathered around him, Jesus tried to convince a group of Greeks who seemed attracted to his teachings. His main point was that we have to be willing to die to ourselves (give up our own priorities) to follow Jesus and help spread the growth of God’s kingdom.

Unless people die to their need to control others, to follow their own desires, or even to please others at their own expense, they will never experience the love they desperately seek. Death, in this sense, will bring a bumper crop of God’s love, grace, mercy, and blessing into this world.

Unless we die to ourselves, we remain unchanged, unable to truly live, and unknown to the greatest Person we could ever meet.

Are you ready to die, in order that you may live?

Dear Jesus, help me understand that in order to truly live in you, I must die to myself. Help me to step out in commitment to you, knowing that you loved me first. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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