Losing Lives to Follow Jesus

Week 5 Day 3

John 12:24
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.
This teaching from Jesus in John 12 comes shortly after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on what we now celebrate as Palm Sunday. In the following moments, a group of Greeks asks to see Jesus, and in response to this request He begins to speak more directly to His followers about the approaching time for His death, comparing Himself to a grain of wheat that must die.  

In the preceding verse (John 12:23), Jesus tells His disciples that the time has come for Him to be lifted up and glorified, but what they didn’t expect or fully understand is that His pathway to this glory is through death. Just as a grain of wheat must fall to the ground, die, and be buried in the darkness of the dirt in order to bear much fruit, Jesus says He must do the same.  

It's very understandable how difficult this paradox would have been for His followers to grasp. How could abundant life and fruit could be gained through death? How could losing Christ’s physical presence with them bring any good? The answer highlights both the need for Jesus’ death, and the fruit of His death. He must die so He can bring salvation not just to the Jews, but also to the Greeks and to all who will believe. He must die in order to bear the beautiful fruit of multitudes of generations of adopted sons and daughters, who are grafted into the family of God. Additionally, his death will result in his full glorification as the perfect Sacrifice for sin, the Victor over death, and the Lamb seated at the right hand of the Father.

And then the teaching becomes even more difficult (John 12:25-26). Jesus calls us to also lose our lives. As John Piper says about this passage, “Jesus begins with a truth about Himself – then He makes the truth about Himself a truth about us.”

Jesus says (vs 25 and 26), “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in the world will keep it for eternal life.  If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.  If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.”

Will we follow Him on his path to Calvary?   Will we be willing to lose our life and to serve Him fully?

David Platt says “The key to bearing fruit, the key to experiencing abundant life is dying in specific ways; dying to ourselves and our ways and our preferences, what we want, and being crucified with Christ. That’s Galatians 2:20. It’s the summary of the Christian life.”

Reflection and Prayer

Take some time to praise and thank Jesus that He was willing to be fully obedient in death so that we can know salvation in Him and share in His victory.  

Ask Him to make you fully obedient to die to yourself, to take up your cross and follow Him, and to serve Him with all that you have and are.

Lord Jesus, thank you for dying so that I can know salvation and peace and life. Help me to be willing to die to myself daily and to follow You and serve You fully. Help me to desire You and the abundant life that comes through death over anything the world offers. May You be lifted up and glorified in my life today.

Faith Bible Staff