Military Devotion – He Dies to Produce a Harvest – May 24, 2024

On this Memorial Day weekend, let’s look at some words from Jesus from John 12:23,24. Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Jesus spoke these words just a couple of days before he would be betrayed by a friend, abandoned by all of his friends, and be taken to the cross and suffer and die. And he was using that picture of a kernel of seed, which in your hand remains just that—a seed. But when it is planted in the ground, and the dirt covers it and the sun and the rain do their work, something amazing and miraculous happens. That seed dies, and in its place, a plant grows and produces fruit. And Jesus was talking about himself and what would happen to him. He would be that seed that would fall to the ground and die. But because Jesus died, he produced many seeds. He’s talking about you and me and all of those who by faith believe in Jesus. We are that harvest that happened because Jesus died on the cross.

Whenever that message of Jesus is proclaimed, it is like seed that is scattered by a farmer in his field. The seed is scattered, it is planted in people’s hearts, and the Holy Spirit causes it to grow. And that seed of faith grows in our hearts and fruit is produced: those good things that Jesus calls us to do in our lives. We thank him for that. It all happened because a seed fell to the ground and died—Jesus, our Savior.

But we know that he didn’t stay dead. At the beginning of those verses in John 12, Jesus said, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” He was looking past his crucifixion. He was looking ahead to Easter Sunday morning, when he would not stay a dead seed in the ground but would rise back to life—not just in his spirit, but with his body and soul reunited. Jesus came out of his grave alive.

If you visit a cemetery this weekend, remember this: This will not end in death. I know that your loved ones lost to death and battle buddies lost in combat are buried in cemeteries. But this is not the end for them. And this will not be the end for you.

On this Memorial Day, we can be sad. And we can shed tears. That’s okay to do those things. It’s okay to feel that way. But we know that we have a sure and certain hope. When the hour came for Jesus to be glorified, it was with his death and burial, but more importantly, his resurrection from the dead.

On the Last Day, Jesus will stand on this earth, and a cemetery would be a pretty cool place to be. All of the bodies will come out of their graves, and they will stand and live. And for those who, by faith, believe and trust that Jesus died for them will stand to live with him, and with us, forever in heaven.

Jesus has promised it. Believe it.

Almighty and eternal God, ruler of individuals and of nations, I bring my thanks to you this Memorial Day for all the blessings that you have given our nation. Prosperity has reigned in our country. Our enemies have not been able to subdue us because you have graciously held your protecting hand over us. Help me to know and to acknowledge that freedom, prosperity, and other blessings come from you, and make me thankful.

Merciful Father, forgive our personal sins and our national sins for Jesus’ sake. Enlighten us by your Word. Make us upright citizens of our dear country and worthy members of the community in which we live. Move us to bow under authority, first under yours, and then under the authority of our government.

Give us and all the countries of the world a lasting peace, and teach us to live together as befits your children. As my memories go back to those who have died to preserve our liberties, make me grateful and humble. Give me the determination to do all in my power to safeguard our freedom. Make me diligent in prayer for my country. Guide and lead those in authority with your sure counsel, and give power to all Christian witness that not only the Christians of today but also many others may be brought to eternal life through you for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Written and recorded by Rev. Paul Horn, WELS National Civilian Chaplain to the Military, San Diego, California.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.

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