Today's Foundations Devotional: One grain of wheat bears much fruit
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each
one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are
Christ’s at His coming.
(1 Corinthians 15:22-23)
There is yet one further prophetic revelation concerning Christ’s resurrection contained in this Old Testament ordinance of the first- fruits. Jesus spoke prophetically of His own impending death and burial, and He compared this to a grain of wheat being buried in the earth. He said:
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain (John 12:24).
By this Jesus taught that the fruit of His ministry of reconciliation between God and man could come only as a result of His own atoning death and resurrection. If He were to stop short of death on the cross, no fruit could come forth out of His ministry. Only through His death, burial and resurrection could there come forth the fruit of a great harvest of sinners justified and reconciled to God. This truth He presented to His disciples in the picture of a grain of wheat being buried in the earth, germinating and springing up again as a fruitful stalk out of the earth.
In nature, although a single grain of wheat is buried in the earth, the stalk which springs up out of it never bears merely one single grain but a whole head or cluster of grains upon the one stalk. As Jesus indicated in the parable of the sower, the ratio of increase out of the single grain may be thirtyfold or sixtyfold or a hundredfold.
This truth of natural law applies also in the spiritual counterpart of Christ’s resurrection. Jesus was buried alone, but He did not rise alone. This fact, which has received surprisingly little attention from the majority of Bible commentators, is clearly stated in Matthew 27:50-53. These verses record the death of Jesus upon the cross and various events which followed His death and resurrection.
Jesus, when He had cried out again with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
Though these events are here presented in close succession one after the other, it is clear that the total period of time which they covered extended over three days. The death of Jesus on the cross took place on the eve of the Sabbath, but His resurrection took place early in the morning of the first day of the new week. In connection with this, Matthew states:
The graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection... appeared to many (Matt. 27:52-53).
At what precise moment the graves were opened we do not know; but we do know that it was only after the resurrection of Christ Himself that these resurrected saints arose and came out of their graves.
In this way the Old Testament type of the firstfruits was perfectly fulfilled by the resurrection of Christ. Christ was buried alone – a single grain of wheat that fell into the ground. But when He arose again from the dead, He was no longer alone – no longer one single grain. Instead, there was a handful – a sheaf of the firstfruits – brought forth together with Him out of the dead and waved in triumph before God as a token of the defeat of death and hell and Satan, and as an assurance that all believers who had been buried would also in their due season be resurrected.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the masterful accuracy with which Your
Word was fulfilled in the time of Jesus, whereby we may also look
forward with precise accuracy to the moment You will return for the
second time. I look forward to that, Lord. Amen.