We often use the expression “he or she cracks me up” when someone has the ability to make us laugh. Boisterous laughing is sometimes referred to as “side splitting” laughter. Jesus is in the side splitting, crack me up business as well but it is no laughing matter. Find out how Jesus wants to “crack us up.” Please read more.
Figuratively speaking, Jesus truly does want to crack us up. To make this point, we will look at three verses, John 12:24-25-26. Each of these verses make a distinct point. I want to look at them independently and collectively as a whole. Together these verses create in us both fear and hope.
John 12:24 states, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” This verse makes it quite clear that Jesus wants to break us open, so that we can grow. This one short statement encapsulates the conversion process that we as Christians must undergo.
Let’s take a look at how this process works in nature. When a dry seed comes in contact with the moisture in the soil, the seed absorbs the water through its hard outer coat. As it continues to absorb more water, enzymes within the seed are activated and become its source for growth. As the seed expands, eventually the seed coat cracks open. The embryo consists of a small shoot and a small root. The root is the first to emerge from the cracked seed. Once it has anchored the plant in the ground, the shoot begins to emerge. With proper nourishment and with time, that seed will one day produce abundant fruit.
This is the same process Jesus is calling us to undergo. As the seeds of Adam and Eve, we were born with a hardened shell that was resistant to God. We call this original sin. God graciously watered us with the life-giving water of Jesus Christ. In John 4:14 we read, “the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Therefore, if we allow the life-giving water of Jesus to penetrate our hardened shell, He can energize our soul and we can sprout roots grounded in Him. It is only when we are grounded in Him, that we can bear fruit for His Kingdom. This first of three verses gives us hope.
In the second verse, John 12:25 it states, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” This is the verse that strikes fear in our hearts. A seed has to die so that a plant can come to life. As Christians, we must constantly be growing in our conversion, which paradoxically means that we must be in a constant state of dying to ourselves. God is continually pointing out things in my life that I must die to. It is difficult to give up my sinful ways. It is difficult to die to the things I like. What is He calling you to die to? Are you willing to do it?
Finally, in John 12:26 it states, “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.” This one final verse brings together both fear and hope. Fear in that to follow Christ means that we must be crucified with Him (Galatians 2:19). Crucifixion is a slow and extremely painful way to die. Giving up those things in life that pull us away from God is a lifelong painful process. But Jesus assures us that the Father will be pleased by our efforts when we walk in His footsteps.
Jesus repeatedly made it clear that we must take up our cross. Dying to self is a fundamental prerequisite for being Christian. In Luke 14:27 Jesus explicitly states, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Our human condition wants to pursue sinful ways and selfish pleasures. Now as Christians we must passionately live as Christ lived. God gave free will to Adam and Eve and they turned from God. As their offspring and seed, will we continue in their rebellion, or will we allow Jesus to “crack us up” so that we can bear abundant fruit. The choice is ours to make.
Heavenly Father, help me to never forget that it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Lord, I invite you to crack me up. Amen!
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