He said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (v. 24). This was the Lord’s attitude toward such a human welcome. This was His reaction toward the glory of human honor. What is the way for a grain of wheat to multiply? It is not by being welcomed or honored, but by falling into the ground to die. This is absolutely contrary to the human concept. Nevertheless, we must remember that this is the only way to bring the church into being and to increase it in life.
If you read church history, you will see that whenever the church had an increase it was not the result of a golden opportunity but of persecution. The time for the church to increase is during persecution, not during a warm welcome. When the enemy puts the church into death, that is the time for the church to be increased. The more persecution and opposition there are, the more increase the church will have. The persecution at the hands of the Roman Empire did not frustrate the growth of the church during the first two centuries, but rather helped it to grow. What then did damage the church? The welcome of the Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire turned its persecution into welcome, the church life was ruined. Do not be excited by man’s welcome. Man’s welcome will always ruin and corrupt us. Praise the Lord that man’s persecution and opposition are the golden opportunity for the increase of Christ. He is a grain of wheat, and there is no other way for that grain of wheat to increase except for it to fall into the ground and die. This is the way to have the multiplication of life.