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Our suffering produces a great harvest...

Text: John 12: 20-36

Text verse: John 12:24

Here we are dealing with Jesus’ thoughts shortly before his death. Jesus knows that He must die, but He decides to focus on the glorification that lies ahead (also see v. 23). Moreover, He describes His death in a special way. He uses the image of a seed falling onto the ground and dying before it can grow.

We see in Jesus something of the importance of what Paul also teaches in Philippians when he says: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4: 8-9).

The condition for the peace promised in this last sentence, is that we must direct our minds to all these virtues of God.

We often do the exact opposite and then we wonder why we become anxious and discouraged. We focus on all the bad happening around us. We fill our minds with negative news reports and are influenced by the negativity of people around us. The result is that our words, deeds and thoughts are negative. We will not experience peace.

Jesus did not see all this as negative. He looked beyond death to the glorification that lay ahead. He clings to the outcome that will come from the Father.

Let’s look at what we need to focus on in difficult circumstances.

1. Trust God (vs. 24)

Just as a grain of wheat must first die to yield a great harvest, so too it often happens in our lives. Bad things happen so there can be a big harvest. We must trust our Father, because we know that the harvest is determined by Him (also see Acts 17:26; 1 Cor. 15:38).

There is no better proof of God’s disposition than in Jesus. His death leads to a glorious harvest. He dies so we can live. More so, the Father will also use the suffering in our lives to yield a rich harvest in his kingdom. For believers, no hardship is in vain. Suffering shapes us and leads us to spiritual maturity (also see James 1: 4).

2. Glorify the Father (vs. 28)

Jesus does not want to pray that the Father will save Him from that difficult hour, because He knows that it is precisely for that hour that He came. Therefore, He prays that the Father be glorified.

In the same way, we must be willing to give our lives in the service of Christ because we love Him above ourselves. After all, we are here on earth to glorify Him through our lives. Just as He loved us above Himself and was willing to die for us, so His love must motivate us. His glorious love should motivate us to be willing to glorify Him in our lives despite difficult circumstances.

3. Focus on the end point (vs. 26)

Like Jesus, we need to focus on the end point. Hear the beautiful promise that Jesus makes here: He says that if we serve Him, the Father will honour us. We will receive the glorious grace of being children of God. We will receive the honour of being in His presence forever. This is the most glorious prize we can receive.

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