I’ve never been much of a gardener. I like the idea of gardening, just not the day to day work of weeding, pruning, and watering…
It’s not for a lack of trying. We’ve had several runs at maintaining a garden at the Ryder home over the years, with varying degrees of success. We’ve harvested our fair share of tomatoes, a few peppers, and I remember one very small, shriveled cucumber. We had a crop of pumpkins one year that I was very excited about. But, whether it was the harsh sunshine, lack of consistent watering, the wrong types of soil, critters getting in and eating the harvest, or simply not weeding enough, we’ve never been successful in producing a bounty of nature’s goodness.
But as I said, I love the idea of a garden. It all intrigues me to no end. I cannot get over the fact that someone can put a little pebble of a seed into dirt (of all places!), and with a little water, sun and time, it will produce an abundant crop that can sustain life. It’s simply amazing! There is nothing about that little seed that would say it contains everything necessary to make an abundance of food, but that’s just what it does.
The only problem is, in order to sustain life, that seed has to die.
Once the seed is placed in the ground, it’s never seen again. Now, I know from watching reel-to-reel filmstrips in middle school Science class of time-lapse photography that, when the environment is right, that little seed splits open and things begin to grow out of it. But usually what we know as the seed that we put in the round just becomes an outer husk that is composted around the new plant. The seed, as we knew it, dies… But out of that death, life emerges.
And that’s what Jesus did for us on Easter.
Even before His crucifixion, Jesus used this same metaphor of a seed to describe the process He was about to go through…
John 12:24 “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.”
It’s one of the central paradoxes of Scripture…death brings life.
As Jesus prepared for His death, He knew it would produce abundant life. And as awful as His brutal killing by crucifixion was, because He died, He became the seed that has provide life for all of humanity!
Now, all good metaphors have their limit, and this one is no exception. Because unlike a normal seed, Jesus didn’t stay dead! He is alive! And in overcoming sin and death, He brings life to us all.
Jesus’ death and resurrection have provided the way for each and every person who has ever lived or ever will live to be forgiven of our sin and restored to a right relationship with God. It’s as if we start life all over again, what the Apostle Paul described in 2 Corinthians 5 as, “…a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come!”
As Jesus submitted to His betrayer and His captors, allowing them to nail Him to a cross, life seemed like a pipe dream, almost like shoving an old shriveled seed into the dirt. But on Sunday, new life rose from the grave! Because He died, new life has come!
Let Jesus bring you new life this Easter!