Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus. Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, 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. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him. Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
As an agrarian community, the crowd listening to Jesus intimately understood the life cycle of wheat. Wheat needs to grow to its full height and develop flowers to allow reproduction to take place and to ensure the plant’s genetic future through the formation of seeds. Once its seeds are produced and matured, the plant begins to wither and die, which allows each seed to fall to the ground and grow out of the soil into a new wheat plant. Now, with this perspective, re-read verse 24, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” Jesus is using a metaphor here, referring to Himself as a grain of wheat. If he dies, His life will produce a harvest of new lives. Jesus is willing to suffer and die for God’s will and to produce a harvest. Even today we are still part of this harvest. In verse 26, Jesus says that we are to follow Him. The Greek word here is akŏlŏuthĕō. It means to accompany down the road, to be the same with Him. When you were little did you ever play follow the leader? The leader would do different actions, like put his hand on his head as he move around the room. As you followed, you would put your hand on your head and walk directly behind the leader. That’s how we should follow Jesus — looking at His example and doing what He did. Read verses 27 – 33 out loud. Notice how Jesus struggled with having to sacrifice His life, but knew He wanted God’s will and to live out God’s purpose for His life. This is how we are to follow Jesus. We are to give our lives and wills over to God. In doing this, we will begin to live out His purpose for our lives and produce a harvest.
Jesus is willing to suffer and die for God’s will and to produce a harvest. Even today we are still part of this harvest.
What in your life are you holding on to that is keeping you from fully following Jesus and living out the purposes that God has created for you? Sit and ask God about it. When Jesus’ soul was in anguish, he submitted to God by saying, “Father, glorify your name.” He was willing to die to Himself so that a new harvest of lives could have eternal life. We all battle at times with holding on to something that we struggle with fully giving over to God. It is often the thing that causes us stress and worry. It may be a difficult relationship, a child you are obsessed over, a shattered dream, finances, loneliness, addiction, anger, exhaustion, or stubbornness. It could be a number of different things. Would you like to respond as Jesus did and give yourself completely over to God…even that one area you struggle with holding on to? If so, tell God about it.
Example: You may want to put your palms up, imagine placing whatever it is that’s holding you back, in the palms of your hands and allowing Jesus to lift it from you. Then, sit quietly and allow Him to reassure you that He is for you and will help you.