And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. — John 12:20-25
At this moment, Jesus had just made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey, something prophesied 500 years earlier by the Prophet Zechariah. Large crowds Jewish people in the city for the Passover Week had just cheered Jesus’ entrance, celebrating the arrival of the prophesied Messiah. Amidst the commotion, a group of “Greeks” (a term for non-Israelite Jews or Gentiles) wanted to meet Jesus. When the Disciples informed the Lord, His response taught a profound lesson about His mission and the life of every Christian believer who ever lived.
“Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.”
Many of the people who were following Jesus expected Him to establish an earthly Kingdom for the Jews. This was the moment many had been waiting for. Jesus had performed many miracles, He had taught with the wisdom of the prophets. But the pinnacle would be taking back Jerusalem, which at that time was under Roman occupation and retuning it back to the Jewish people who had lived there for centuries. This would be glory! But when Jesus spoke of being glorified, He was not referring being an earthly ruler. This is an important lesson. How do you view Jesus? Do you have your own image of who He should be? Or do you go by the Scriptures? The Old Testament prophets, specifically Isaiah spoke of the Messiah as a “suffering servant”:
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD [A Messianic Title] revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. — Isaiah 53:1-5.
Does this sound like the introduction for a conquering hero? Hardly. By studying Scripture, those who were expecting the earthly conqueror could have known that the Messiah was first coming to serve humanity. Jesus was not wealthy and politically powerful. He was not physically fighting and conquering people and winning over millions fans. The Bible says that He was “despised and rejected” and “acquainted with grief.” In terms of His popularity the passage states: “we esteemed him not.” Never let Earthly desires and perspective cloud your spiritual vision. If you want to know Jesus and what He intends to in your life, it starts by reading the Bible with faith and humility so that your own image of Jesus fades and God’s revealed truth fills your mind. So why did Jesus have to come in this humble, rejected fashion? Was God doing this to make a point? Was it just to teach the world a lesson about making assumptions and thinking that life is all about wealth and power? No. It was to do much greater work: to save the souls of all humanity.
” Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
Jesus uses a simple metaphor to make a very profound point. When the “corn of wheat” or a kernel of grain falls to the ground and withers, the seed is released which brings forth new plants and fruits. This is what Jesus had to as well. This was the ultimate mission of the “Servant” was. Isaiah 53 continues in detailing this: ” But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).
Jesus had to die because in His death He took the punishment for our sins. It allowed the wrath of God that every person deserves and has hanging over them for their sinning, to fall on Jesus in our place. With every wound He received on the cross, He was bearing the guilt, shame and sin of all of humanity. And in His death we can be “healed” from the death sentence of Hell all people receive as sinners who are clearly guilty in the eyes of a just and Holy God. In His death, we literally obtained a way to eternal life. And the fruit is shown in the people coming to seek Him. Who wanted to know the way to salvation. Who wanted to know the way to Heaven. The explosion of the Christian faith throughout the world following the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus are the amazing fruits of His death.
“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.”
And here is the challenge for the reader or listener. Are you in love with your life on Earth? Are you clinging to living life your way, continuing in sinful behavior and following your own personal desires over pursuing God and His righteousness? If so, then Jesus gives a strong warning: you will lose your life. Many people claim to “follow Jesus” or that “I’m not religious but I follow the teachings of Jesus” but being a true follower of Christ takes more than that. We are to “hate” our lives. What does this mean? It means realizing that we are sinners who have repeatedly and willfully violated God’s laws and as a result stand guilty before Him. And all sinners are destined for eternal damnation. Thus being willing to give up our personal agendas to put faith in Jesus and let His desires take over our lives. To let what pleases God become what pleases us. It means choosing a life of Biblical purity over casual sinning. Galatians 5 says: “ And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” We do not have to literally die. We have to crucify our former sinful past that only seeks worldly pleasure.
This what Jesus commanded to strangers who desired to see Him and His glory. And He asks the same of you. Not only will faith in Jesus give eternal life, it gives the new believer a chance to help save the souls of others because now that person can go into the world and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what the early church did, heading into many nations to preach to the world and this is how the Christian faith, which started with just a handful of men and women, soon reached through so many nations that even leaders in the Roman Empire said they “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6). Living a life for Jesus is the “death” that we must all be willing to endure. This is how Jesus is glorified. And the seeds of the Gospel we can then share with others can bring in much more fruit to the Kingdom of Heaven. So beloved, are you ready?