1 Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-49
But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
Psalm 56: 9-14
This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I am not afraid.
What can a mere mortal do to me?
My vows to you I must perform, O God;
I will render thank offerings to you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
and my feet from falling,
so that I may walk before God
in the light of life.
When a great crowd gathered and people from town after town came to him, he said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell on the path and was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered for lack of moisture. Some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. Some fell into good soil, and when it grew, it produced a hundredfold.” As he said this, he called out, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen!”
Then his disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but to others I speak in parables, so that ‘looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand.’
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away. As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. But as for that in the good soil, these are the ones who, when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance.
The scriptures today emphasize the required death in order to live. The first reading describes how a seed must be a bare seed planted in a dishonorable way in order to grow into fruit. So must we, in order to receive God's word into our hearts, must be willing to die in order for it to take root and grow into an imperishable fruit.
When one becomes a Christian, he or she takes up the life of the cross. He accepts suffering in a new way in order to build the kingdom of God. In the same way that the seed dies in order to produce fruit, when we hear the word of God, something in us must die for it to take root in our hearts and manifest in our lives. This death is painful. It may require letting go of something that has been a part of your life for a long time. It could be accepting humiliations and rejections by others, or maybe it means letting go of your reputation and how other regard you. No matter what it is, God requires us to die to whatever is not of Him in order for us to live.
In the midsts of suffering and dying in this life, it can be difficult to understand the love of God. Why does He allow injustices beyond the sinful patterns one must die to in order to draw closer to God? Just as the psalmist declares, though, we know that God is for us and a mere mortal cannot have any real power over us. Jesus died on a cross and rose again from the dead to save us from hell. He alone is the reason we disregard the pain, trials, and deaths in this life. Without the love of God, we would not be condemned to a life of suffering but an eternity of suffering, pain, and hopelessness.
Today, no matter what you may be experiencing, offer it to God. Ask Jesus for His word to take even deeper root in your heart and help you to strive for the kingdom of God with even greater patience and endurance.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I thank you for dying on the cross to save me from death. As I journey on in this life and experience pain and enter into seasons of death, help me to offer them to you and allow your word to take root in my heart. Grant me patience and endurance. Amen.