“Mommy, look! I got a sweet!” My daughter’s excitement and voice escalated a full octave with the last syllable.
I smiled as she toddled over to me that Sunday morning, grin and palm wide open, displaying her prize. Then she clutched her cherished piece of candy and ran off to play as I continued chatting with friends outside after our morning church service.
Several moments later she was back, but this time empty-handed.
“Where’s your sweet?” I asked, presuming she had eaten it without asking for permission.
“I planted it!” she replied, swinging her little four-year-old arms with delight.
“I planted it over there,” she answered, pointing to a patch of soil in the church garden. “That way it will grow into a whole tree of sweets!”
A surprised laugh escaped from my lips.
Had she really forfeited immediate enjoyment in favor of delayed gratification? Had she really given up something that she adored in hopes that she’d have a greater prize later on?
That Sunday morning at church, my four-year-old gave up something good, expecting an even greater benefit. She sacrificed something she loved, in anticipation of a future reward.
As we find ourselves in the middle of another Easter week, I can’t help but think about how God the Father did a similar thing for us.
The King of glory sacrificed what He loved most — His one and only Son — and laid him deep in a dark, dank tomb, alone.
In John chapter 12, just after the account of the first Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode on a donkey, we read Jesus’ own explanation of why he must die:
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24).
Jesus was the single seed planted in the soil of the tomb.
God gave the seed life, and now it has sprouted into an abundant harvest, ripe and reaping glory with every stem.
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus’ glory rose up from the tomb, a green shoot of hope.
He died so that we might live.
Jesus was buried so that new life would spring up from the ground and cover the earth with His glory, fields of flowers rich with the aroma of Christ.