planting seeds by hand November 9 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Mark 15:42-47; Matthew 27:57-61; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42; Matthew 27:62-66; Mark 16:1-8; Matthew 28:1-10; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18

A Planted Seed

This is harvest time in the northern hemisphere, yet how would we have a harvest unless we first planted seeds? When we put seeds in the ground, we expect or at least hope for some fruit, flower, or plant to start sprouting within days or weeks. Does the seed have life within it? It does not appear there is any life within it; it is hidden at best. It is a great mystery that unless a seed dies it cannot produce life. When the shell of the seed softens in the ground, somehow it germinates, puts forth roots, and then sprouts forth out of the ground. After that it produces a harvest of fruit, and with it many more seeds. Jesus said,

The hour has come for the Son of Man [a reference to himself] to be glorified. 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 12:23-24, NIV).

Jesus Christ died on the cross. In his burial he was like a planted seed. What glory is there in that? None. However, when a seed sprouts we can see its glory. Jesus died and was buried. No one thought of him as a seed which would sprout. Something or someone who is dead is totally without life...and Jesus was dead. This was a time of great hopelessness amongst his followers and close friends. People who are dead for days do not come back to life.

If Jesus was dead, how could he be glorified? The answer is that Jesus is raised to life! Jesus predicted his resurrection. When challenged by the Jewish religious leaders to prove his authority, Jesus answered them,

“Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

Thinking he was talking about the newly rebuilt and expanded Jewish temple,

The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body (John 2:19-21, NIV).


“Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21, NIV).

Both Jesus’ disciples and his enemies knew what he said (Matthew 27:63-64).

Jesus died on the Preparation Day, i.e., the day before the Sabbath. He died on Friday and was hurriedly buried in a nearby garden tomb. The Jews rested on the Sabbath, a Saturday. Sunday morning Jesus arose like a seed which sprouts. If Jesus died on Friday and then three days later came back to life, how can Jesus have arisen on Sunday? The answer is found in how the Jewish people count their days. They count any part of a day as a day, so Jesus died and was buried in a tomb before sunset on Friday (day 1), laid in the tomb on Saturday (day 2), and was raised to life on Sunday at sunrise (day 3). The Son arose at sunrise.

In today's Bible reading, Jesus is buried in a new tomb by Joseph of Arimathea, aided by Nicodemus (a converted Pharisee who had previously visited Jesus at night to ask more about him; see John 3). On the Sabbath (Saturday) they rest in obedience to God's commands. On the first day of the week (Sunday), the women who have always attended to the Lord's needs and those of the disciples, leave before dawn to anoint his body with perfumes and spices. The stone in front of the tomb, however, is very heavy. They wonder how the stone can be rolled away from the tomb so they can perform the ritual, but to their great surprise the stone is already rolled away! What happened? There was an earthquake and an angel rolled back the stone, but they didn't know about it. Their immediate thought is that someone has stolen the body. In fear, they run to tell Peter and the other disciples. John and Peter run back to check out their wild story, and discover what they claimed is true. But they do not find Jesus.

The chronology of the resurrection events are not quite clear, but apparently Mary Magdalene follows Peter and John back to the tomb and meets Jesus. Other women follow Mary and see the Lord. They fall down and worship him. Jesus is alive! Afterward, the women return to tell the disciples they have seen the Lord. What a glorious day! (for a more complete chronology of events regarding the resurrection, read Tim Chaffey's article, Christ's Resurrection - Four Accounts, One Reality)

Lessons to Live By

    Like a planted seed, Jesus wants us to die to our old way of life in this world and live a new life by the power of God's Holy Spirit. We bring him glory by producing spiritual fruit, and sharing our seed (the message of Christ) with others (John 12:24-25; Romans 6:4; Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:11).

Focus Verse

Romans 6:4 (NIV) “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Watch a dramatized version of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Christ

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A Look Ahead: Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. He brings his disciples and all of us From Despair to Peace. Have we lost hope? This Bible study will give us courage to believe.

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