Summary: In this message, part 13 in series Love Never Dies, Dave examines Jesus' comparison of a grain of wheat dying in order to become a stalk to the necessity of the human self dying in order to learn to fully love.
Love Never Dies, prt. 13
Wildwind Community Church
July 4, 2010
This series we have been in for the past few months is called Love Never Dies. We started it on Easter Sunday – now that seems like forever ago, doesn’t it?! That day we covered the death and resurrection of Jesus. Then we went back to John chapter 1 and started working through a chapter a week. I’ve discovered something in this huge undertaking, which is that what I’m doing is impossible. There’s just too much in most chapters to give it any kind of adequate coverage – even to give you a reasonable overview. So I have instead focused on part of each chapter – maybe half of it, or a quarter of it, or one scene in the chapter, or even just a few verses. And I’m going to build today’s sermon around just two words. Let me read the text for you.
John 12:20-25 (MSG)
20 There were some Greeks in town who had come up to worship at the Feast.
21 They approached Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee: "Sir, we want to see Jesus. Can you help us?"
22 Philip went and told Andrew. Andrew and Philip together told Jesus.
23 Jesus answered, "Time's up. The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24 "Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.
25 In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal.
You know what two words I’ve picked today that I want us to focus on? Reckless love. That is your calling and mine.
My friends, this world – and perhaps especially the religious world – is on a mission to draw borders and boundaries around love. I have a hypothetical question for you. Have you ever experienced what you recognized was unconditional love? Have you ever had someone say I love you, or show you they loved you, and you just knew that what they were really saying was “I love you infinity. I love you with my whole mind and heart and soul and strength. I am committed to you. I love you with my life, and no matter what you say, no matter what you do, no matter how far you may roam, no matter how long I might have to wait for you to love me in return, no matter how much pain loving you might cause me, I love you. I love you with a love that is beyond measure. Love that is irrational, unreasonable, and inextinguishable. I love you to the moon and back, against all odds, for reasons not always fully known to me, beyond the reach of words to describe it, and beyond the short length of my own life and yours." Have you experienced that kind of love? Has someone assured you that they love you so deeply that you are completely safe, completely beyond all possibility of the loss of their love, completely secure, endlessly valued, treasured, esteemed, and desired, and sought after and fawned over and protected. Do you know what it is like to be the apple of somebody’s eye? I try not to tell them this too much, but the reality is that there are three teenage girls in this world who own me. I don’t know any other way to say it. They own me. They are the apple of my eye – the center of my world. I have said before and I’ll say it again – my love for them is not heroic, in fact it’s just the opposite. We think of heroism and we think of great effort. But I love my girls without the slightest effort at all. Even on my worst day, in the lowest times of my life, I love them easily. Even when I am irritable, I nearly always find myself prone to still respond to them gently. They occupy a place in my life that no one else even comes close to – parents, that’s how we love our kids, isn’t it?
My friend, that is how God loves you. The fact is that you are the apple of someone’s eye. You are the object of fanatical devotion and endless fascination. You bring joy to the heart of God that you can only understand by reflecting on the joy that your kids bring to your heart. It’s extremely difficult for us to get our arms around. Even as I easily recognize this love I have for my own children, I have to remind myself that this is the same love my parents have for me. That’s hard to understand. And it’s hard to understand with God.