Psalm 72:16; John 12:23-26 – The Seed Must Die; The Grain Must Grow

52 Weeks at the Table – Week 21

This last psalm in the cycle of David begins with a petition for God to endow His Son, the King, with His own righteousness, so that the Son might defend the afflicted and crush the oppressor. Even so, Jesus begins His ministry by declaring that Isaiah’s prophetic recounting of God’s promise has come to pass: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed …” (Luke 4:18). David speaks of this King’s longevity and realm extending beyond measurable time and space. He predicts the gifts of lesser, obeisant kings – not unlike those of visiting magi from the east. Then, in verse 16, his petition seems to suddenly turn to an ordinary plea for agrarian blessing:
“Let grain abound throughout the land;
on the tops of the hills may it sway.
Let its fruit flourish like Lebanon;
let it thrive like the grass of the field.”

Perhaps it is. Yet it is also a metaphor Jesus uses (Mark 4:26-29) to describe the Kingdom of God: grain which grows seemingly “all by itself,” though the man who scattered the seed knows not how. And while sometimes He uses the metaphor of harvest to describe His return, in this instance it seems to indicate the collecting of fruit to be used for productive purposes. He repeats it, perhaps only hours after entering Jerusalem to a royal reception (John 12:23-26), saying that the seed must die in order to bear fruit and produce more seeds. Paul the apostle echoes the simile again and again (1 Corinthians 3:6; 9:11; 15:36-38), urging followers to live and grow and flourish in Christ – to God’s glory.

A Prayer Over the Bread

God of creation and Giver of life, You cause the grain and the fruit to grow, though we know not how. You designed them for food to nourish the bodies You gave man. You gave man the intelligence to create bread and wine from them. Then gave Your Son, Jesus, whose body and blood we remember through them. May this grain abound throughout the land. May our souls be sustained, growing and thriving through the grace of this bread and this cup; through the grace of Jesus, the Christ. Amen.

A Prayer Over the Cup

Holy and merciful God, You have endowed Your Son with Your righteousness to defeat the oppressor and defend us, the afflicted and poor. Through His body and blood we are delivered. As your Seed, He died and was buried to take up life again and share it with us. So also we die to self and live in Him that this seed, this Word of God, might grow and find root among many, many others. May this fruit flourish and thrive like the grass of the field. Amen.

3 thoughts on “Psalm 72:16; John 12:23-26 – The Seed Must Die; The Grain Must Grow

  1. I like how you point out the “collecting of fruit to be used for productive purposes.”

    Paul does use that metaphor often, encouraging followers to grow in Christ…and even telling the churches in Galatia specifically what type of fruit they should be producing…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc…

    Good post, Keith!

  2. Keith, it is a good post, like most things you write I agree. We do have a very few things we do not understand the same way. I fully expect when you and I step off that cloud together and see three glorious figures coming to welcome the new arrivals, someone will say, “who are they”? You will say “that is God” and I will say “which one” 🙂

  3. I love the prayer.
    We as believers need to do what we can to make a difference to those who are suffering right now. So many poor and hurting around us. I pray every day that the fruit in my life will be that of the Holy Spirit and that the world may see and believe.

    Thank you for this wonderful post and your blog. Your blog has been such a source of strength and encouragement to me and my faith.

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