Bible Study verses: John 12:24-25 (NIV & The Message bible)
New International Version –
 “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.  The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
The MESSAGE –
24-25 “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.
THE SEED PRINCIPLE –
“If you keep the SEED out of the ground, all you have is the SEED. But when that SEED is planted and then it grows…end of story. Bury it and it rises.” [“Are You Dead Yet?” by Michael Walker]
Sounds a lot like RESURRECTION to me!
1 Corinthians 15:36-37 (NIV):
“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed…”
DEATH CAN PRODUCE LIFE!
JESUS knows at this point this is His last week on earth. He knows He is going to be betrayed, beaten, crucified and will die by weeks end.
Since JESUS knows this will be His final week through His preaching, teaching and example, JESUS decides He will take His disciples into some deeper water; make them dive into the deep end of the pool.
JESUS presents not ONE, not TWO, but THREE examples of a Dichotomy for us all as Disciples, followers of Christ Jesus to examine. So lets all ‘jump in the pool.’
So what is a “DICHOTOMY”?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary,  : something with seemingly contradictory qualities; a paradox (synonym) is a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses the truth.
In verses 24-26, Jesus shares three important principles of “dichotomy’s” pertaining to our lives.
John 12:24 (AMP):
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.
THE FIRST DICHOTOMY is introduced to the crowd.
DEATH can produce LIFE!
Jesus is trying to let the listeners know that His time is short; He is not going to be the type of Messiah they were expecting.
In the following verses of John chapter 12, verses 27-34, Jesus speaks of His impending departure and when you drop down to verse 34, the crowd seems obviously confused.
“We have learned from the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; how then can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up on the cross’?”
The DICHOTOMY presented in this verse is the FACT that DEATH CAN PRODUCE LIFE.
JESUS uses the example of a grain of wheat. For it to produce fruit, it has to be put in the ground–then has to DIE in order for it to produce visible fruit.
In context, Jesus is speaking of Himself; how His impending DEATH and subsequent resurrection will be a fruitful event for ALL who will follow Him.
Jesus must DIE giving His life to bring LIFE to us today.
- When a SEED dies, it produces fruit.
- LIFE comes by DEATH.
This principle is true not only in nature but also true spiritually. When you take a moment and meditate on Jesus’ words, it is directed to our spiritual life.
We must DIE in Christ in order for us to become FRUITFUL spiritually.
Certain changes occur when seed is planted underground.
- The HARD dry shell softens.
Romans 6:5-7 (NIV):
If we have been united with Him like this in death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
This is spoken in context of one who has been BAPTIZED in to Christ Jesus.
When we are immersed into Christ, our old body of SIN is crucified and DEATH frees us from SIN.
The apostle Paul struggled with this principle in his life as many do today as well.
Philippians 1:20-25 (NIV):
 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.  Convinced of this, I know I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,…
PAUL was well aware that the end of his physical life was not the end of his existence, He also knew that he was here on earth for a purpose.
Our life isn’t about getting through it as shortly or quickly as possible, it is about savoring every moment along the way, making sure that we maximize our life for Christ.
VERSE 25 is our next Paradox –
“In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is, destroys life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal” (The Message).
We have a tendency to think that if we hold on to something really tight we’ll not lose our grip or… that we will do better by holding on tightly. We do this with our possessions at times, and our relationships. We can hold on so tight…that we smother the other person, even driving them off.
Jesus tells the crowd that whoever loves their life will lose it. Now that sounds a bit awkward at first reading.
This phrase reflects the ‘hard coating of the seed’ and denotes someone who lives only to serve themselves.
Jesus is not telling us not to enjoy life, but He is calling us to a high calling. Think about that for a moment. The one who loves his life is the one who only lives to serve themselves. The presented issues here is…
- WHO IS FIRST IN MY LIFE?
- WHAT IS MY PRIORITY?
Your priorities reveal who you really love. When we live for self, we risk the danger of losing the very thing we are trying to hold on to.
When we LOVE SELF more than we LOVE GOD, we will come up very short in the end.
LOVE is SACRIFICIAL–
Many people look at the word SACRIFICE as being a four-letter word. When you look at the other end of the bible verse (v. 25), you see Jesus speaking of hating (King James Version) their life and how that will gain them life.
When you LOVE God and willing to lose your life, then the things of this world are hated in contrast to the things of God. JESUS doesn’t mean we are to HATE our life, but rather OUR LOVE for God is so great…our LOVE of life pales in comparison!
This VERSE is a play on the Greek term psyche, which refers to the essence of a human’s personality or life force (Matthew 10:39; 16:25). [see FOOTNOTE [i].]
Once someone TRUSTS CHRIST, they are given a NEW Life. And this NEW LIFE is a gift from God for service, not for personal use.
BELIEVERS are STEWARDS of this new life.
We are freed from slavery to sin and to become SERVANTS of God.
“If any person wills to come after Me, let him deny himself [disown himself, forget, lose sight of himself and his own interests, refuse and give up himself] and take up his cross daily and follow Me…” (Luke 9:23 AMP).
PAUL goes even deeper.
“I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20 AMP).
THIS LEADS RIGHT INTO VERSE 26 –
John 12:26 The MESSAGE:
“If any of you wants to serve me. Then you’ll be where I am, ready to serve at a moments notice. The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me.”
Being a SERVANT in this life gives you the highest honor.
The DICHOTOMY is this: When you look around, it seems those who are being served have made it in this world. Who doesn’t want an entourage around them to take care of all their needs. Those are the folks who seem to get the highest honor. In this life that may be true.
But in ETERNITY…
JESUS is telling us the one who will be honored is the one who serves.
Look at Matthew 23:11-12:
 “The greatest among you will be your servant.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbles, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (NIV Bible).
John 12:26 gives us some insight on how we can tell if we LOVE self more than Jesus.
JESUS equates SERVING Him with following Him with our words, and our physical bodies in continuance. Jesus’ words in verse 26 speaks to our ongoing RELATIONSHIP that leads us to follow!
We FOLLOW Jesus by serving Him, and by SERVING…we maintain our relationship with Him.
The issue of SERVING comes down to our commitment, love and priorities. When these line up we are in good shape.
When we live for SELF, we are living with an empty existence which eventually leads you to a dead-end!
THE PARADOXES OF LIFE
JESUS shares the Paradoxes with us, now we have to decide what to do with them.
IGNORE them or EMBRACE them.
In verses 35-36, Jesus is calling the crowd gathered to BELIEVE in Him:
 “You will have the Light only a little while longer. Walk while you have the Light [keep on living by it], so that darkness may not overtake and overcome you. He who walks about in the dark does not know where he goes [he is drifting].
 While you have the Light, BELIEVE in the Light [have faith in it, hold to it, rely on it]. that you may become sons of the Light and be filled with Light…” (AMP).
WILL YOU ANSWER THE CALL?
FOOTNOTES & CREDITS –
Footnote [i]: Bible Hub/Strong’s Concordance #5590, ‘psuche’; psyche.
Commentary: Tony Abram Abundant Life Crusades 11 Jan. 1996 notes on “CORN”
PHOTOS: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations as noted: NIV- New International Version; AMP – Amplified bible; MESSAGE – the Message Bible; KJV – King James Version