I assure you : Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop (John 12:24).
The other night, I was reading John 12:24 to my son. I was struck by the context. A few verses earlier, some Greeks come to Jesus’s disciples and say, “We want to see Jesus” (John 12:21). When the disciples tell Jesus that some Greeks want to see Him, He answers by comparing Himself to a dying seed that produces a large crop.
I’m guessing the Greeks wanted to see Jesus physically, maybe shake hands, etc. Jesus had something else in mind, a spiritual seeing. It’s like He was saying, “If you really want to see me and know who I am, consider a seed. The seed is buried and its hull degrades. Its form as a seed is destroyed. But shoots emerge and grow, fed by the dying seed. After awhile, a full plant or tree grows, laden with fruit. This is who I am. This is what it means to see me. Seeing me physically isn’t seeing me at all.”
To see Jesus is to see the One who flowers and produces fruit because He sows Himself. This isn’t just an agrarian metaphor for the event of the cross. It is a parable about how divinity functions at all times. Unless we have seen *this* Jesus, we haven’t seen Him as He desires.
As if to punctuate this, the next things Jesus says is, “The one who loves his soul will lose it, and the one who hates his soul in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. Where I am, there My servant also will be” (John 12:25-26).
Our soul is our self-life, the seed we have, so to speak. If we love it and hold onto it, our soul will be as useless as an unplanted seed; it will produce nothing. If we give our self life to be planted with Jesus, it will sprout, flower, and produce spiritual fruit by His life.
As Jesus says, we must follow if we are His. And if we are His we will be where He is: falling to the ground, dying, producing a crop. This is the Christian life. The cost is significant. This is why a couple parables involve someone selling everything they have. But as these parables also show, the kingdom is worth infinitely more than our cost. I pray the Lord would draw our hearts to plant all so that we can harvest much more than all.