Dying in order to live

Posted by admin on 1 April 2018 in Corinthians, John, Resurrection |

John 12:24 - 25

Happy Easter!

In John 11:25, Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

In John 11:43, when Jesus called, ‘Lazarus, come out!’, the four-day-long dead man came out alive.

Jesus Himself rose from the dead in 3 days after the crucifixion. What does the Resurrection mean to us?

See 1 Corinthians 15:22.

22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

At the last trumpet, the dead will be raised and we will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:52).

And our new body will be imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:42 – 44).


They will rise either to live or to be condemned

See John 5:28 – 29.

28 ‘Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.


The way of eternal life

In John 12:24 - 25, Jesus taught us the paradox of the way of eternal life.

24 Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

In v24, we are compared to a grain of wheat.

A grain of wheat contains three layers: bran, endosperm, and germ.

  • The bran is the fibre-rich outer layer that protects the grain.
  • The endosperm is the middle layer that provides energy for the germ.
  • The germ is the nutrient-rich inner part that is the embryo of the grain.

Water breaks down the bran. Then, water breaks down the endosperm to be consumed by the germ to sprout.

The germ continues to grow using water, light, and nutrient in the soil.

When Jesus said, “a grain of wheat … dies”, I think it refers to the breaking down of the bran & the endosperm in the soil & water of the ground.

Without being sown in the ground of a proper environment (e.g., water and soil), the outer layers of the grain will not break down (die), and the grain remains only a single seed.

V24 is followed by v25.

V24 V25
“unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies” “Anyone who loves their life”
“it remains only a single seed.” “will lose it”
“But if it dies” “while anyone who hates their life in this world”
“it produces many seeds” “will keep it for eternal life”


Let us study the meaning of “loves his own life” and “hates his own life” in v25.

“loves his own life”

  • may be expressed as “lives just for himself”, or “keeps hanging onto his own life” [1].
  • the egoism that clings to the outward life of appearance, and lives for that, loses its true life which is conditional on surrender to God. [6]
  • “does its unseemly desires, gratifies it where he ought not”. So, it will destroy you since it leads away from the path leading to virtue [3].
  • If people decide that their lives are more important than God’s will, then they will forfeit the type of life God wants to give them—a life of relationship with Him now and in eternity [4].

“hates his own life”

  • may be expressed as “rather lives for others”, or “lets go of his own life” [1].
  • self-giving servitude. self-sacrifice [5]
  • the spirit of sacrifice which does not cleave to its life of self, nay, which hates it in its old form in this old world, i.e., joyfully sacrifices it, the sooner the better, and even hates it, if it be about to become a hindrance—regains it unto a higher, eternal life. [6]
  • means “hate” when the issue is between Christ and the dearest things of life as happens when the choice is between martyrdom and apostasy [2].
  • “does not yield to it when it commands what is pernicious”. And Jesus did not say, “he who does not yield to it,” but, “he who hates it”; for as we cannot endure even to hear the voice of those we hate, nor to look upon them with pleasure, so from the soul also we must turn away with vehemence, when it commands things contrary to what is pleasing to God [3].
  • Jesus asks people to forfeit their usual wants and desires for the sake of God’s will [4].


List of similar verses

Matthew 16:25 (NIV (Anglicised, 2011))

25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

Matthew 10:37–39 (NIV (Anglicised, 2011))

37 ‘Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

Luke 9:23 (NIV (Anglicised, 2011))

23 Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Luke 9:24 (NIV (Anglicised, 2011))

24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.

Luke 14:26 (NIV (Anglicised, 2011))

26 ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

Mark 8:35 (NIV (Anglicised, 2011))

35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.



[1] Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on the Gospel of John (p. 406). New York: United Bible Societies.

[2] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Jn 12:25). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.

[3] John Chrysostom. (1889). Homilies of St. John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople, on the Gospel of St. John. In P. Schaff (Ed.), G. T. Stupart (Trans.), Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Gospel of St. John and Epistle to the Hebrews (Vol. 14, p. 248). New York: Christian Literature Company.

[4] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Jn 12:25). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[5] Borchert, G. L. (2002). John 12–21 (Vol. 25B, p. 52). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[6] Lange, J. P., & Schaff, P. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: John (p. 384). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.


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