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A WORD FOR TODAY, March 23, 2023
“Now there were certain Greeks among those who went up to worship at the feast. These, therefore, came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, ‘Sir, we want to see Jesus.’ Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn, Andrew came with Philip, and they told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life. If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there my servant will also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.’” John 12:20-26, WEB
It is bluebonnet season in Texas. Well, it is wildflower season, but the favorite for most wildflower hunters is the bluebonnet. It is the official Texas State flower, and it is delightful to see. The bluebonnet is a lupine in a stunning shade of blue, which is amazingly rare in flowers. Most flowers are red, pink, yellow, white, or purple. Every year there are families who search to find the perfect field of bluebonnets to take pictures of their kids; it is a delightful tradition that makes wonderful memories.
Bluebonnets are fickle. The conditions must be perfect for there to be large numbers of the flowers. Interestingly, the best seasons occur after particularly cold and wet winters; as someone once wrote, “The more miserable the winter, the more beautiful the spring.” The wildflowers are annuals, which mean they go from seed to flower to seed in a year. It is vital that the plants we see in those beautiful blue fields are allowed to mature until the pods have opened and dropped the seed for future growth. Unfortunately, many people get impatient with the fields once the beautiful blue has disappeared. They mow the dying wildflowers too early, destroying the chance for future flowers.
Bluebonnet seeds can go dormant for a number of years and spring to life when you least expect it. I once visited a field that had been underwater for years, but drought made the water level fall. The silty banks had seen wildflowers in the past, and the seeds that have been drowning for so long finally could blossom. The seeds dropped this year may not become bluebonnets until the next miserable winter prepares the seeds for a most beautiful spring. Isn’t it amazing how such beautiful life can come out of death? After all, that’s what happens, isn’t it? The plant dies, drops the seeds which lie lifeless in the ground until they crack open and then the new growth sprouts out of the ground. Death leads to new life; we just have to be patient.
I was once asked, “What physical proof is there that there is life after death?” I hadn’t really thought about this question because I never needed physical proof. I believe in eternal life because I have God’s promises. I rest in the hope of that life because God said it would be so. I do understand how some need to ask these questions. I didn’t know how to answer, but I shared a few stories I had heard about life after death. There are movies that describe the real-life experiences of those who died and came back to life. There are often scientific explanations for these stories, so doubters tend to reject them as proof. We have several stories in the Bible of people who have been resurrected; the scriptures promise that there is life after death, but unbelievers do not put the same credibility to scripture as I do.
As I pondered the question of life after death, trying to find an answer for the question, I recalled the words of Jesus in today’s passage. This isn’t proof for the unbelieving, but it helps us look at the question from a different perspective. We learn from nature that without death there cannot be life. Jesus had to die so that the seeds for eternal life could be planted in us, and now we too must die to our old selves so that we can have that true life. Eternal life is not just a future hope, it is a present reality. We can ponder the questions of the unknown, but as we approach the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus, He teaches us to live our lives in faith, trusting that God’s promises are true even if we do not have physical proof to alleviate our questions.
A WORD FOR TODAY is posted five days a week – Monday through Friday. The devotional on Wednesday takes a look at the scripture from the Revised Common Lectionary for the upcoming Sunday. A WORD FOR TODAY is posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Word-for-Today-Devotional/339428839418276. Like the page to receive the devotion through Facebook. For information and to access our archives, visit http://www.awordfortoday.org