Suffering in the Life of a Believer

– Part 2

In the previous chapter, we saw that in John 12:24 Jesus taught His disciples about spiritual fruit bearing using a grain of wheat as a metaphor. He said that unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and “dies”, it will remain only a single grain of wheat, bearing no fruit at all. But if it dies, it will bear a harvest of much fruit. As this metaphor applied to Jesus’ life, we know that the fruit born as a result His death referred to the many who would receive the forgiveness of their sins, reconciliation to God, and eternal life through His sacrifice at Calvary.

 

This much of His teaching is easy for us to accept, because we are the beneficiaries of His suffering and sacrifice. However after Jesus gave this teaching, He revealed in John 12:26 that all of us who serve Him must follow Him, and He also said that where He was, His servants also would be.

 

With these words, Jesus taught that spiritual fruit will be born in our lives just as it was in His life. This is to say that we will bear fruit as we follow Jesus in His death, which is a death to our own will and what we want for ourselves in this life and the obedient acceptance of God’s will and the life and place of service that He has ordained for us.

 

As God our Father determines for each of us, we will “follow” Jesus, and we will “be where He was”, in that we also will experience our own

“Gethsemanes” in some measure, however small when compared to His suffering in the Garden as He agonized over His Father’s will for His life. Our “Gethsemanes” will be the times when we are faced with suffering in our lives. In these times we also, just as Jesus did, will bring our prayers to our sovereign God, knowing that all things are possible for Him and knowing that He could spare us from these painful things. And in these times we also will be called upon to submit to the will of God for our lives, just as Jesus was.

 

And as God our Father determines for each of us, we will “follow” Jesus, and we will “be where He was”, in that we also will experience our own “Calvaries” in some measure, however small when compared to the suffering that He endured at Calvary. Our “Calvaries” will be the “deaths” that we experience through the losses and sufferings that our Father allows to affect our lives, according to His sovereign will and plan for each of us.

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