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. John 12:23-26
This short parable from Jesus is about the cost of salvation and followship. What did it cost God to rescue humanity from the power, penalty, and problem of sin? EVERYTHING! He sacrificed Himself by stepping out of heaven and into flesh in the person of Jesus Christ to die on the cross to provide forgiveness and life for humanity. Philippians 2 tells us that God emptied Himself by taking on the form of a man, humbling Himself by becoming obedient to death on a cross… Simply stated, our life required His death.
As a result of His gracious act of mercy, the cross now requires something of each of us – EVERYTHING! Just as Christ died to sin to give us life, now we must die to self and to the ambitions of this world to lay hold of Him by faith. His death provides life eternal, but our faith response requires our surrender to His death. Galatians 2:20 explains that when I by faith embrace the grace of God unto salvation that a wonderful and miraculous miracle takes place – “I become crucified with Christ…” In Luke 9:23-26, Jesus said that if a person would desire to follow Him, he must deny himself and take up his cross… He then concludes, what does it profit a man to gain the world but forfeit his soul. Meaning, my faith in His death requires my surrender.
In John 12, Jesus simply says, “True life can only come through death – so let me show you the way!” Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life – no person can come into a relationship with God except through Him.