Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dead and Gone? Maybe Not.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies it produces many seeds.
John 12:24

After His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, Jesus made this statement about His impending death. His words confused the crowd who believed the Law declared the Messiah would remain forever. If Jesus was The Anointed One, why did He talk about dying? The miracles they’d witnessed weren’t sufficient evidence to warrant a commitment of their faith to Him. Now the disturbing words He spoke reinforced their unbelief.

That week was unusual. It began and ended with celebrations; one in Jerusalem and one in Heaven. The festivities were interrupted, however, by a series of events so unexpected and horrific that for a time any hope of a return to normalcy was unthinkable.

Death disrupts our lives like nothing else. Its finality unhinges us. For the disciples, Jesus was the go to guy. He always had the right answers and knew what to do. Commissioned by Jesus in Matthew 10:7-8 to raise the dead, among other things, we have no biblical evidence the disciples did this. What do you do when the only one who raises the dead, dies?

To be fair, if the thought of resurrecting Jesus did cross their minds, there were serious obstacles to overcome. First a cadre of armed Roman soldiers guarded the tomb. Their primary objective was to prevent grave tampering. Would they be open to an attempt by the disciples to bring their fallen leader back to life? I doubt it. Before and during His crucifixion, Jesus was brutalized. If they did raise Him could they be sure He’d be healed. Would they want Him to suffer the excruciating pain and agony from the injuries He’d received? To raise the dead was one issue; to restore a person so broken to complete health also may have been a stretch for their faith. Finally the Roman legal system did subscribe to the concept of double jeopardy but only when the accused was acquitted. Jesus was a convict. If He came back He could be subject to a repeat of his trial and crucifixion. Maybe doing nothing was the best option.

Jesus said the death of a seed (singular) can birth more seeds (plural). That being the case, what kind of seeds do we want to produce? Hard times bring out the best and the worst in people and our reaction to them determines our seeds’ character. Difficult situations that drain life out of us are painful and at times protracted over a long period of time. It’s not easy to maintain a good attitude when under pressure but it will make a difference in the long run.

No matter how we experience death in our lifetime we can grab hold onto the hope of a resurrection. Good can come out of bad situations that will benefit us and many others if we believe and act on God’s word. Today just may be our resurrection day!

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonivc/462652631/">ToniVC</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

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