“Before we arrive at the glory of Easter Sunday, we must first pass through the shame and scandal of Good Friday.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – April 1, 2021
Truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces much fruit. John 12:24 (CSB)
As we inch ever closer to the glory of Easter Sunday, we must keep before us the unshakable belief that Christianity is a profoundly hopeful religion. As followers of the risen Lord, we believe in redemption, healing, and restoration. Though our journey to this point has been long, and we have been invited to deal with the sin and brokenness in our hearts and lives, the final destination is one in which our labors find their rest and fulfillment in the joy of our Lord.
And yet, true and glorious as this may be, before we arrive at the glory of Easter Sunday, we must first pass through the shame and scandal of Good Friday.
Holy Week reminds us that the Christian vision of growth is notably different than the cultural visions of “progress” that swirl about us. The hope and joy of Christianity is not a blind belief in human advancement, moving evermore from strength to strength. No, as we are reminded this week, until we are able to let go of that vision of growth, you and I will never actually grow!
We long for the remedy – healing, renewal, and life after death – and yet still struggle to accept that it requires of us a death. According to our Lord, our longing to bear much fruit must be preceded by falling into the earth and dying. In order to bear much fruit, you must first die. The cross must come before the empty tomb.
It is entirely possible to live your entire life oriented only to your self – your own animalistic desires, your quest for comfort, affluence, and ease. We can be captivated by the beauty of creation or lost in the eyes of a lover, yet still fail to be transformed! All the beauty and wonder in the world can remain a singular form of self-fulfillment, rather than orienting us up in worship and out in service. Rather that bearing much fruit, we remain a single grain.
Remember that you have been given the capacity and potential by God to be something other than a single grain. You were made to bear fruit, to grow and multiply and fill the earth with the creative beauty of our Lord. Through the power of the Spirit at work within you, show forth the life of God today as you live in fruitful and generative relationship with God and neighbor.
Father, help us to bear fruit for the good of our neighbor and for your glory, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Resist the urge to rush to Easter Sunday, and walk with the Lord this week through the shame of the cross, believing it is the path that leads to life.
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