Unless a Grain of Wheat Falls into the Earth and Dies

(John 12:20-24)

Unless a Grain of Wheat Falls into the Earth and Dies
Unless a Grain of Wheat Falls into the Earth and Dies

Here is an interesting teaching where Jesus speaks in parables about his coming death and resurrection. It is here that He recognises that the purpose of His coming was to die and be raised for the purpose of building the church. He uses the analogy that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it does not bear fruit but remains alone.

The trigger for this discussion is when some Greeks came to his disciples and wanted to see Jesus. And that is a great and wondrous thing for in that day He revealed the blessings that were to come down to us today.

The Greek Visitors

The Greeks were Gentiles. Jesus came principally to bring the message and the gospel of peace to the Jews. However as his fame spread, more and more people heard of him and wanted to see this man who was preaching, teaching and doing many miracles and mighty works.

It was inevitable that at some point the word of him would spread beyond the confines of Jerusalem, Galilee and the surrounding region. And here we see some Greeks desiring to meet Jesus.

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.

21 So these came to Philip, who was from Beth-sa’ida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew went with Philip and they told Jesus.

Andrew and Philip were close disciples of Jesus and both were members of the twelve. When they came to Jesus they would have said something like, “Lord, there are some Greeks here and they would like to see you. What shall we tell them?” Now I’m only guessing what their question was, but common sense suggests it would have been something like that.

But I don’t have to guess Jesus response for it is written. And his response was as interesting as it was strange.

Jesus’ Response

Jesus said the following in response to Andrew and Philip.

23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified.

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

He did say a little more, but I am going to look at that in my next post as there is another valuable lesson in that.

However in the two verses above, instead of saying to Andrew and Philip either to send the Greeks away or to bring them to him, he starts talking about growing wheat.

Now Jesus uses the analogy of wheat in many of his parables and teachings. Wheat always represents something or someone good. In the parable of the weeds among the wheat or the wheat and the tares, we see the wheat represent the people of God and the weeds and tares are those who oppose them.

Jesus talks also about the wheat being ripe for the harvest when he looks and sees many people coming to hear him speak, and he tells the disciples to pray for labourers to go out into the harvest. In essence he is seeking people to serve Him by taking the message of the gospel to the people.

And so here to he is talking about something positive and good when he uses the wheat analogy once again as he considers the request of the Greeks.

Jesus is the Wheat

What we see in this scripture is that Jesus is talking about himself as the grain of wheat. The visit by the Greeks triggers this discussion for they were Gentiles. We know now and it was prophesied that Jesus would be the hope of the Gentiles for through Jesus the Gentiles would receive the ability to come to God.

No longer would the truth of God be limited to the Jews. No longer would it be a matter of law and legal worship.

But when Jesus died and was buried, he would arise again and bear much fruit. Just as a single grain of wheat falls into the ground, is buried and grows up into a stalk of wheat bearing a head with many grains.

Jesus was about to die at the hands of the Jews. But His death would bring the New Covenant into effect. Just as the sacrifice of the lamb brought the Old Covenant into effect and ratified the covenant, so too the sacrifice of the true Lamb of God would bring the New Covenant into effect.

When the New Covenant was brought into play, then the way would be open for the Greeks as well as the Jews to come and stand before God. No longer would there be any intermediary between man and God, but we all would be able to stand before God in Jesus Christ.

And when Jesus died, like the wheat, the church would grow and bear much fruit. This is why it was important that he said unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone. His death would begin the process for the building of the church through the work of the apostles and disciples so that we would worship God through Jesus Christ. And whether Jew or Gentile, we all stand before God on an equal footing.

(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by M M Noergaar)

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