The Awe of Spring
As the winter’s frosty hands begin to loosen their grip, spring bounces forth with its magnificent array of colors sparkling in the bright sun. The ground transitions from brown to green eventually filling with blooms of clover, dandelions, and an endless array of wildflowers. Trees begin to show forth their beauty filling their limbs again with the leaves which shall provide shade once the full heat arrives. Even the earth itself seems more alive and well. On the horizon, gardeners can be seen working the soil, building raised beds, preparing their seedlings, and at the right time placing their plants in the ground tending them in hopes of a bountiful harvest. Animals cry out happily as they no longer deal with the bitter cold, but begin to feel warmth in their bones yet again.
Such is the splendid picture we see in creation as the seasons change from one to another. Here is the perplexity, the end of winter when everything lies dead does not look as though life shall burst forth. Crusty dead ground does not give the appearance of the vibrantly budding plants that shall appear in only a short time. Neither does the seed sown by a hopeful hand look anything like the tomato seedling which emerges into a full vine popping with bright cherry tomatoes. The acorn looks nothing like the towering oak which reaches to the heavens perhaps lasting hundreds of years if not longer. So also, Scripture itself draws from this metaphor painting pictures of God’s work in this world.
Seeds in Scripture
Over the biblical account, the concepts of sowing, harvesting, and seeds can be found on multiple occasions. There is the parable of the sower by Christ where the seed of God’s Word falls on various types of ground producing widely distinctive results (Luke 8:4-15) In the Old Testament, God even gives specific directions to the Israelites as to the practices they were to be faithful to maintain (Deuteronomy 22:9). Yet, perhaps one of the most fascinating uses of “seed” in the Bible is found in reference to the Kingdom of God:
“And he said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’”
There is a specific emphasis Christ places on the distinction between the seed and the great mustard plant. A mustard seed is around one or two millimeters in size, painfully small, one of those aggravatingly small seeds for a gardener’s stubby hands. Amazingly, however, this little seed becomes a very large plant. So it precisely is with the Kingdom of God. No one would have looked at the little band of men Jesus called to Himself thinking this small group known as “Christians” would eventually spread across the globe. It is a progressive reality that happens over time, just as with the growth of a seed into a mighty plant powerful to produce. Yet, there is another seed metaphor that is simply breathtaking in the pages of Scripture.
1 Corinthians 15 records the Apostle Paul speaking of the resurrection of our bodies to their glorified state for all eternity. He ties this intimately to the essential source of hope for believers, the resurrection of Christ Himself. The statement he makes is that if Christ is not raised from the dead and we only have hope in this life we are to be entirely pitied (1 Corinthians 15:19). Yet, as we celebrate here around the time of Easter and every Lord’s Day, Christ triumphantly rose from the dead as the first fruits of the glorious resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:20). Now, Paul drives home the application:
“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.” -1 Corinthians 15:42
The seed sown into the earth does not look like the beautiful plant which shall arise. Neither does the body of the believer placed in the grave appear as though it shall one day be risen to life everlasting when all things are made new. There shall be an eternal body for the risen Lord Jesus Christ is the guarantee of our future life! We shall arise to a life more glorious than anything we could ever imagine. It shall be more beautiful than the most dashing Spring morning. That great day will arise with more light than the sun coming up in the dawn. None of this is accomplished by what may appear to happen in our own eyes, but rather solely by the power of God.
This Easter, may we give glory to God for the seeds He has sown. Not alone the created beauty of the springtime blossoming in all its grandeur, but the beautiful seed of His glorious Kingdom. Let us praise Christ the King who rose as the first fruits bearing forth the bright promise to us through His Gospel. By His grace, let us adore Him, worship Him, and live our lives for the praise of His name. The small seed of today may seem like nothing, but let us remember when grown by God Himself it can blossom into a mighty tree bearing fruit for all eternity!