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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

06 March 2006

The Death of a Seed

Q: John 12:24 says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” What does this mean?

A: Jesus uses this example from agriculture, where the seed “dies” in the ground and then springs up with new life, as an illustration of the Resurrection. In His death and resurrection, Christ became the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)” He brings forth “much fruit” because countless thousands have believed in Him, been baptized, and been saved.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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Blogger solarblogger said...

This is one of those passages that works when we read it about Jesus, (as you did) and falls apart when our first application is to ourselves. Like the grain of wheat, Jesus doesn't fulfill His mission unless he dies. But if it hadn't been for Jesus, death would only be bad for us. We don't bear fruit by dying. (Some martyrs may, but this is by bearing witness, not just by dying itself.)
This is not a passge that says death is a good thing. It is the final enemy that was defeated by Jesus who used His death to defeat our death.

Too many people read this passage and spiritualize it into being about our "dying to self." Which plainly was not the intended reading.

07 March, 2006 22:21  

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