Jesus responds to their request by saying that it was now time for Him to be glorified. They did not understand that He was referring to His death and resurrection. The grain of wheat that had to die was Jesus. Once a seed has sufficient moisture and temperature, it will split and a new plant starts to grow. The new plant takes everything from the seed to accomplish its growth. In other words, the seed gives itself up (dies) for the new plant. With proper care, the new plant will produce much fruit of its own kind. Jesus knew from before the foundation of the world, that His mission would be to give Himself up for us. When Jesus freely gives Himself up and is buried, the germination process has begun. Now all who accept Him are new creatures. Formed completely out of His body from His own nature. Now that the process of growth has started, we must continue that process by caring for the new creature. We do that by studying Scripture, meditating on His Word and communicating with God through the Holy Spirit. If we follow the example of Jesus, we become bond slaves to Him and servants to our fellow man. We keep this up until our physical body is used up or until Jesus returns, whichever comes first.
17 If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new! –2 Cor. 15:17 (NCV)
Then when Jesus returns, the transformation will be complete! We will have new bodies because our fleshly bodies cannot stand in the glory of God.
The disciples are concerned about the physical welfare of Jesus, but He explains that He is nourished by doing God’s work here on earth. He uses the idea of food to segue into planting and harvesting. But again, He is not talking about natural or physical food. He is using the sowing and reaping in the natural to demonstrate how God wants us to do His work here on earth. Studies have shown that it takes between 7 and 8 times of hearing the Gospel for a person to accept Jesus as their Savior. So, as we go, we plant seeds into individuals and others reap the harvest. It is a joyful moment when we get to harvest where others have come before us and planted the seeds. We must be faithful in doing God’s work even though we may not see the result of the seeds we plant. We can be encouraged by what Jesus said here and what we find in Isaiah:
2 Before we came to you, we suffered in Philippi. People there insulted us, as you know, and many people were against us. But our God helped us to be brave and to tell you his Good News. 3 Our appeal does not come from lies or wrong reasons, nor were we trying to trick you. 4 But we speak the Good News because God tested us and trusted us to do it. When we speak, we are not trying to please people, but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know that we never tried to influence you by saying nice things about you. We were not trying to get your money; we had no selfishness to hide from you. God knows that this is true. 6 We were not looking for human praise, from you or anyone else, 7 even though as apostles of Christ we could have used our authority over you.–1 Thessalonians 2:2-7 (NCV)
We don’t need smoke and mirrors, cards up our sleeves or any other sort of deceptive illusions or devices. We just need to spread the simple truth of the Good News that Jesus came in the flesh and died for our sins. When we feel the urge of God’s Spirit telling us to speak to someone He has put in our path, we can be sure that the soil has been tilled and the heart is ready to receive the Word. Just speak the Truth in Love and the rest is up to God. The answer won’t always be “Yes”, but just remember it is Jesus they are rejecting, not you. God gives us this assurance in His Word.
10 Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return without watering the ground.
They cause the plants to sprout and grow, making seeds for the farmer and bread for the people.11 The same thing is true of the words I speak.They will not return to me empty.They make the things happen that I want to happen, and they succeed in doing what I send them to do.Isaiah 55:10,11 (NCV)
If we do our part, God will certainly not fail in doing His part. We must not quit just because people don’t like what we say. As long as we speak the truth in love from a pure heart, we are doing what God has asked us to do.