June 27, 2017

Multiplication in God’s Garden

John 12:20-26

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.

—  John 12:24

Plants and bushes multiply in a variety of amazing ways. Raspberry bushes send out runners from their roots and start new shoots. So my raspberry patch is ever expanding, and I am able to cut away plants easily for friends and family to start their own patches. Planting eight cloves of garlic before winter produces eight new garlic plants, and each plant produces seven or eight cloves of garlic the next summer—a good increase.

Jesus, an astute observer of life in God’s garden, chooses wheat as an example of amazing multiplication. As he said, one kernel “produces many seeds.” Today we know that one seed of wheat planted in the ground yields 20-25 kernels of new wheat. Further, Jesus was making a more profound point. Just as a wheat seed “falls to the ground and dies” and then “produces many seeds,” his own death and resurrection produce new life in a multitude of followers.

I have a stalk of wheat from the bouquet displayed on my father’s casket 12 years ago. I keep that stalk of wheat to remind myself of Jesus’ powerful promise. We can trust in his sure promise of multiplication and eternal life as we follow him in dying to ourselves and serving others out of the abundance of our new life in him.

Father, thank you for sending your one and only Son to die, rise, and multiply his life in all who follow him. Inspire and ­strengthen me to lay down my life and serve others. Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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