About Jesus   Steve Sweetman

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From Saint To Seed

 

I've been recently reminded of something Jesus brought to my attention back in 1971.  Since then, it's never been all that far from the forefront of my thoughts.  Jesus said.  "The hour has come for me to be glorified.    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 12:23-24)

 

This may sound strange to the modern mind, but Jesus considered His death to be a glorious and productive  event.  Isaiah predicted His glorious and productive death.  " He was cut off from the land of the living He was assigned a grave with the wicked After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied ... and will justify many". (Isaiah 53:7-10)  Jesus' death was glorious and productive because he saw the light of life at the end of the tunnel, which was, the justification of many.  Another way to put it is that He "endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him". (Hebrews 12:3)  Jesus' joy is our salvation.  That's why His death was both glorious and productive.

 

Although I've thought much about Jesus' death since 1971, it's not his death that I've been recently reminded of.   Speaking of the last days, Jesus said, "you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death " (Matthew 24:9)  In a vision, the apostle John saw "the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God". (Revelation 6:9)  It's the death of the saints that was impressed on me in the early 1970's, and again has been brought to my attention in recent days.     

 

Jesus said that "if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whosoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whosoever loses his life for me will save it". (Luke 9:23)  The "cross" for Jesus meant His earthly death.   

 

If we are indeed approaching the end of this age, the persecution and death of the saints Jesus predicted in Matthew 24 may be just around the corner.  I don't know how close we are to this corner.  I don't even know if I'll be alive when we come to the corner.  I'd prefer to be raptured away before we round the bend.  Nevertheless, as this world progressively becomes more anti-Christ, we must seriously consider what the cross of Christ means.  The saints under the altar in Revelation 6 understood their cross to mean physical death.  For you and I, at least at this exact moment, it means the denial of self to serve Jesus. 

 

In John 12:24 Jesus said that if a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it will produce many more seeds.  Jesus' death was productive.  The seeds that sprouted from His grave were the first century saints.  Like Jesus, many of them fell into the ground and died,  In turn more seeds sprouted from their graves.  Throughout the centuries, saints have fallen into the ground as seeds.  It's an historical fact.  When saints become seeds; when Christians are martyred for Jesus, revival sprouts forth from their graves.  Right now, as Islam spreads throughout the world, saints are being sown into the ground as seeds in many Islamic nations, producing a crop of Christians in the midst of Muslims.        

Our personal cross may or may not lead us to a martyr's  grave.  Whatever the case, the Biblical mandate remains.  To follow Jesus means to deny self, take up our own personal cross, and serve Jesus and those to whom He places before us at any given time.

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