THE INCREASE OF GOD
"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30
There was a time in the life of our Lord when He had become very popular. In fact, He had become so popular that it was no longer just the Jews who were seeking after Him. Now, some of the Greeks were also inquiring about this man, Jesus of Nazareth. (This account is recorded for us in the gospel of John, chapter twelve.) These Greeks came to Philip, Philip told Andrew, and then they told Jesus.
The Lord's reply to Philip and Andrew is both unexpected and revealing. It seems to me that He should have simply told Philip and Andrew to send those Greek men back to speak with Him. But instead, He makes a statement that opens up to us the eternal purpose of God:
"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him." John 12:23 - 26
Here is Jesus at the peak of His popularity and He is speaking of His death! He is speaking of laying down His life and about He followers losing their lives in this world. Why would He speak about this at a time like this? Because he wanted to let them know how He would be seen, how He would be glorified. The "much fruit" would not come unless He falls into the earth and dies.
Obviously, He is speaking here of His soon to come death and resurrection. But by using the picture of a grain of wheat, He gives us the opportunity to gain deeper insight into the purpose for His death and resurrection. It wasn't just so you and I could be forgiven of our sins and go to heaven. That is a wonderful "by-product" of His purpose. But the main reason is for the increase of God!
How Big is Your Christ?
One Seed went into the ground in order to produce a great harvest of wheat. In other words, God wanted to multiply His Son. But this could only happen if the Son was willing to fall into the ground.
This gives us new insight into the world, "glorify." God is glorified by His Son being multiplied or increased. This is so that the Son can be seen, or made visible. But is it really possible for Christ to get bigger? How can this be?
Christ is increased in two ways:
Distribution of His Life
The Grain of Wheat fell into the ground to bring much fruit. But what happens to wheat once it grows? Of course, it eventually becomes bread and is eaten by many. The one single grain became many grains that became a loaf of bread for many to eat. This is the distribution of Christ. This is the distribution of His life.
"I am the bread of life . . ."
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me." John 6: 35, 57
His death and resurrection made Him distributable. When you came to Him, He placed His very own life inside of you. Now, the Grain of Wheat lives inside of you and you can partake of that Bread everyday!
Before a loaf of bread can be distributed, it must be broken. Our Lord was broken on the cross so that you and I could partake of His life. His life was increased by many new seeds being planted in many people.
The Decrease of Your Life
The second way that He is increased is by you decreasing.
"He must increase, but I must decrease."
This incredible statement was made by John the Baptist. But let me ask you; did he keep his side of the deal? Did he decrease? Yes, I would say that he did a fine job of decreasing. In fact, he disappeared of the face of the earth!
What about Jesus? Did he decrease? Yes, he definitely did decrease. In fact, he also went to the cross and then left the earth.
Why did these men decrease?
So that He could increase.
But who is this "He"?
The "He" is the many grains of wheat all now incorporated into one New Man! The "He" is the corporate Christ. And He must increase but I must decrease. The strongest hindrance to the increase of Christ is your own life! The "I", the "Me", the self must decrease in each one of us in order for the Body of Christ to increase. The corporate Christ cannot increase as long as I insist on living my own, self-centered, independent life.
"He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made full. He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:29, 30
You see, the Bride is the one who increases the Bridegroom. But each individual within the Bride must lay down their lives to see the increase of the one New Man. This New Man is the Head and Body as one, the Bridegroom and Bride as one, the Vine and Branches as one. And the fullness of this increase will be displayed for all to see.