John 12:24,25 - Living for Self or Christ?
John 12:24, 25; Living for Self or Christ?
John 12:24 (KJV) 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.
John 12:25 (KJV) He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he
that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
John 12:24 (CWB) Unless a kernel of wheat is buried and dies,
it produces nothing. It always will be just one kernel of wheat.
But if it dies, it produces other kernels for a great harvest. So
it is with me.
John 12:25 (CWB) If a person lives only for himself, he'll
lose eternal life. But if he hates the selfishness in this world and
lives for others, he'll produce a harvest of good things and receive
Jesus used the illustration of the fallen seed (12:24) to
predict his death and its results; his death would bring salvation to
the world. Jesus' death could easily have been seen as defeat. But
the gospel message claims that his death was necessary and of
eternal benefit to the world (12:24). The gospel calls believers to give
up their lives to God that his kingdom of light and life might take
root in a dark and dying world. Love of life in this world can be a
block to eternal life (12:25). [New Bible Companion]
Here Jesus is pointing to his impending death and resurrection
under the image of a seed that is buried and rises from the ground to
new life. Each of his followers must be willing to follow his
example in giving up the old way of life if he or she is truly to keep
it. [Cambridge Annotated SB]
He who is bent on saving and preserving his physical life here
will lose his "soul," or eternal life. He who is willing to
sacrifice himself in service for God in this world will preserve his
"soul" and enjoy life everlasting in the world to come. Thus "the law
of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation"; "the law of
self-serving is the law of self-destruction" (DA 623, 624). He who is ready
to cast away everything most dear in this life that stands in the
way of his spiritual growth will find at length that he has lost
nothing worth while and that he has gained the true riches (see Phil.
3:8-10). [SDA Commentary]
The grain of wheat must die before it can reproduce itself. So
the individual who would follow Jesus must die to all purposes in
life that are contrary to the will of God. [Passages Of Life SB]
The man whose priorities are right, who makes the things of God
primary, will keep his life eternally. [Believer's SB]
Many a man hugs himself to death, and loses his life by
over-loving it. He that so loves his animal life as to indulge his appetite,
and make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof, shall
thereby shorten his days, shall lose the life he is so fond of, and
another infinitely better. He that is so much in love with the life of
the body, and the ornaments and delights of it, as, for fear of
exposing it or them, to deny Christ, he shall lose it, that is, lose a
real happiness in the other world, while he thinks to secure an
imaginary one in this. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)
Death to self-seeking is the disciple's goal. We seek to kill
all selfish goals and ambitions which dominate life without Christ.
We love Christ rather than selfish ambition. [Disciple SB]
We don't lead, and expect Jesus to follow. We let Jesus go
first, and we follow Him. If you and I keep this order in mind, it will
clear most of our confusion about life. We'll seldom become depressed
or anxious about why God doesn't do things our way. We won't
expect Him to. And we'll seldom wonder why God hasn't blessed our
plans, when we've gone to all the trouble of making them and then
asking Him to bless. As Jesus' servants we'll have sought His will
first--and then done our very best to follow closely where He leads. [The
365-Day Devotional Commentary]
We would see Jesus." . . . It is a blessed thing for a man, when
he has brought all his desires into a focus, so that they all
center on one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart
resembles a mere of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding
miasma and pestilence; but when all his desires are brought into one
channel, his heart becomes like a river of pure water.... Happy is he who
hath one desire, if that desire be set on Christ, though it may not
yet have been realized. If Jesus be a soul's desire, it is a blessed
sign of divine work within.... Is this thy condition, my reader, at
this moment? Hast thou but one desire and that is after Christ? Then
thou are not far from the kingdom of heaven. (From Morning and
Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon) [Inspirational SB]
God's Call to Abraham
Never did a corn of wheat more utterly fall into the ground to
die. It seemed as though he were urgently needed in his country and
among his kindred; but man's thoughts and ways are not God's. The
blessing of Abrams life could only come in the land of promise, and after
he had died to the whole life of nature. To every one who is to be
richly blessed and made a blessing there is the inevitable, "Get thee
out. Be willing to die."...
Beyond the flood of the Euphrates, Terah and the rest served
other gods. Had Abram remained there, he might have touched the
unclean thing; hence God's desire to get him beyond the reach of
infection, that he and his race might remain monotheistic...
"He went out not knowing whither." It was what man calls a
venture; but as he stepped out on what seemed a void, he found it rock
beneath his feet. Day by day a track appeared across the desert, and
all his needs were met till he reached the place of blessing. Death
was the gate of life. Having died to Haran, he began to bring forth
much fruit in every soil of the world. F.B.Meyer [Spirit Filled Life
Life From the Ashes
Forest fires swept through nearly half of Yellowstone National
Park's 2.2 million acres in the summer of 1988. At first, it seemed
life in the park could never be the same. The fire seemed like a
But it wasn't. Foresters pointed out that lodgepole pine trees
had cones on them that would only open under intense heat--almost as
though they were designed to respond to a forest fire. Yellowstone's
dry climate kept dead wood from decaying quickly, so the ashes from
the fire provided nutrients to the ground that could actually mean
better growth for years to come. Bluebirds and woodpeckers would
benefit from open areas the fire had created. Other animals would
flourish with the nearly tenfold increase in plant species that the newly
fortified and uncovered earth could offer.
No one at Yellowstone looks forward to forest fires. But it is
known that fires, however devastating they seem, don't mean the end of
The devastation of death can be sudden and tragic--like the
devastation of a forest fire. But new life can result. Read John 12:20-36 to
discover what Jesus said about death and new growth.
* How might an ecologist's attitude toward forest fires be like
Jesus' attitude toward death?
* What does the Bible passage say to you about death?
* Consider writing on a sheet of paper about an area of your
life in which you need to give something up and then burying the
paper in your backyard. A week later, dig it up and evaluate your
progress in letting go.
* Consider walking through a park or forest to notice examples
in nature of how death gives way to new growth. [Youth SB]
A Time To Die; step 3
A woman came back from a Christian retreat, and a friend asked
what it was like. She answered, "I died!" 'What do you mean?" her
friend responded. "This weekend I discovered that I had spent my whole
life hiding. I had never been honest with anyone--my family, my
friends, myself, or God. The worst part was, I wasn't even in touch with
my own dishonesty and distortions. This past weekend all my lies
died; my old hiding places collapsed. I am so glad I went through this
death experience to become the new person that God is creating. Now I
know what it means to be 'born again.'"
As strange as this sounds to some, this "death experience" is
exactly what happens in the Third Step. This "surrender step" is death.
It is death to our old wills and lives as we turn them over to God.
An ancient saint said, "God has to hollow us out before he can fill
us up with life and love." All our old debris of selfcenteredness,
self-pity and self-control has to die.
As the apostle Paul wrote: "We were therefore buried with Christ
through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from
the dead . . . we too may live a new life" (Romans 6:4). Now that's
a Third Step. For Christians in recovery, what could be truer and
more hopeful? --A. Philip Parham
PRAYER Christ, I give myself to you. Take me as I die to my old
selfish ways and live in you and your love. [Life Recovery Devotional
The grain of wheat that preserves its own life can produce no
fruit. It abides alone. Christ could, if He chose, save Himself from
death. But should He do this, He must abide alone. He could bring no
sons and daughters to God. Only by yielding up His life could He
impart life to humanity. Only by falling into the ground to die could
He become the seed of that vast harvest,--the great multitude that
out of every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, are
redeemed to God.
With this truth Christ connects the lesson of self-sacrifice
that all should learn: "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he
that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."
All who would bring forth fruit as workers together with Christ must
first fall into the ground and die. The life must be cast into the
furrow of the world's need. Self-love, self-interest, must perish. And
the law of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation. The
husbandman preserves his grain by casting it away. So in human life. To
give is to live. The life that will be preserved is the life that is
freely given in service to God and man. Those who for Christ's sake
sacrifice their life in this world will keep it unto life eternal.
The life spent on self is like the grain that is eaten. It
disappears, but there is no increase. A man may gather all he can for self;
he may live and think and plan for self; but his life passes away,
and he has nothing. The law of self-serving is the law of
Every true, self-sacrificing worker for God is willing to spend
and be spent for the sake of others. Christ says, "He that loveth
his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world
shall keep it unto life eternal." By earnest, thoughtful efforts to
help where help is needed, the true Christian shows his love for God
and for his fellow beings. He may lose his life in service; but when
Christ comes to gather His jewels to Himself, he will find it again.
The Youth's Instructor, September 10, 1907 MYP302
With this lesson Christ connects the self-sacrifice that all
should practise. "He that loveth his life shall lose it," he declares;
"and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life
eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there
shall also my servant be; if any man serve me, him will my Father
This is the only honor we should seek. And we should seek it
with a determination and an earnestness proportionate to the value of
the treasure we have in view,--eternal life in the kingdom of God.
Christ claims the complete consecration of man to himself. This is the
condition upon which man is exalted. As he submits his mind, his body, his
soul, to God, so he will be honored. Self-renunciation is the great
law of self-preservation, and self-preservation is the law of
He who lives for self, and devotes his life to self-serving,
will lose his life. He may gather much, but he imparts little. All
such are as the grain that is eaten. Those who think and plan for
self only, who desire everything to minister to their ideas and
advance their interests, pursue a course of selfish idolatry. God says
of them, "Ephraim is joined to idols; let him alone." Those who
love this temporal life so well that they will scheme for themselves,
and work upon worldly plans, will find at last that they are
bankrupt; for they are without the eternal riches. But those who hate this
life, who choose death rather than a life without Christ, win heaven.
Those who devote their lives to God's service, who honor him, and
commit the keeping of their souls to him as unto a faithful Creator,
will bring forth fruit unto eternal life. The Lord will keep that
which is committed to his trust against that day. He will honor the
man who serves him with the whole heart. ST 07-01-9
Luke 9:23 (KJV) And he said to them all, If any man will come
after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and