How can suffering and death bring life and freedom?
Jesus used the illustration of the “grain of wheat” to show how God brings life from death and good fruit through patience and suffering. Seeds by themselves are worthless and lifeless. Only when the seed is destroyed by burying it in the ground, can it rise to new life and bear fruit.
What is the analogy which Jesus alludes to in the image of the grain of wheat that must first die in order to rise to new life and bear good fruit? Is this simply a veiled reference to his own impending death on the cross and to his resurrection?
Or does Jesus have another kind of “death and rebirth” in mind for his disciples as well?
Jesus, no doubt, had both meanings in mind. Jesus’ obedience and death on the cross obtain for us freedom and new life in the Holy Spirit. His cross frees us from the tyranny of sin and death and shows us the way of perfect love and readiness to lay down our lives in sacrificial service for the good of others.
One of the ways God uses pain is to wake us up and bring up to himself. Our tendency in times of trial may be to run away from God, become angry with God, or idolize worldly comfort. Charles Spurgeon said it well when he encouraged us to look to God in our pain. He is attributed with saying, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” We need to realize that God is in control over all our circumstances . . . and he is good. We need to open our eyes in our pain and see that our circumstances are taking us right to God.