“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” John 12:23-25
Yesterday we discussed the uncomfortable truth that the only way to real fruit in our lives is through death to self and covered dying to our plans and our property. Today I want to look at dying to our power and our popularity.
When Jesus tells His disciples that they will all forsake Him, Peter insists that he is willing to die even if the others fall away. Jesus then informs Peter that he will actually fall farther than all the others by denying Him three times before the cock crows.
After the resurrection, we can only imagine how ready they were to prove their faithfulness, but Jesus doesn’t allow them to minister until they’ve received power to be witnesses. The word witness in Greek is “martyras,” which is where we get our word martyr from, and it means to give witness by life or death. It was only after they received the Holy Spirit that they would have the power to stay loyal to Jesus even to the point of death. We’re not all called to be martyrs, but we are all called to die to our own ability to live the Christian life and embrace the power of the Holy Spirit.
The last important thing for us to die to is our desire to be liked. When the crowds following John the Baptist started to diminish, his disciples became concerned and brought this to his attention. His response: “I am the friend of the Bridegroom and my delight is to hear His voice. He must increase and I must decrease.” (John 3:29-30)
The best man is not trying to get the bride to like him. He’s been chosen by the groom and his desire is to serve him well. He wants the bride to love the bridegroom and recognizes that it doesn’t matter if the bride isn’t drawn to the best man – she’s not marrying him!
To be inordinately caught up with people liking us is to be flirting with the bride of Christ which is a serious betrayal of the Bridegroom. 2Corinthians 4:5 says, “We do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” We’re trying to make Jesus famous, not ourselves. Any other attitude will hinder fruitfulness.