Introduction: In John 12:23 Jesus announced a transition
from His active ministry to the time of His trial and death.
In this context Jesus compared Himself (John 12:24) to a
grain of wheat that dies and as a result “bears much fruit.”
Jesus is talking about His coming death. Does this idea of
dying apply to us? After all, Jesus was literally speaking
of His coming death and our faith is not focused on our
death, but rather on how we live our life. How should we
understand the idea of dying like a seed? Let’s dive into
our study of the Bible and learn more!

I. Jesus, Wheat, and Hate

A. Read John 12:17-19. What is the assessment of the
Jewish religious leaders about their conflict with
Jesus over the spiritual leadership of the nation?
(They believe they have lost. “The world has gone
after Him.”)

B. Read John 12:9-11. What is the answer of the
Jewish leadership to the popularity of Jesus?
(They are not only going to kill Jesus, but they
are going to kill Lazarus because he is living
proof of Jesus’ ability to raise the dead to

C. Read John 12:20-21. Why is this requested
appointment with Jesus important in the context of
Jesus’ popularity? (It shows that Jesus’
reputation has now spread beyond the Jewish nation
to the Gentile world.)

D. Read John 12:23. What is Jesus’ answer to the
Greeks who wanted to see Him and learn more about
Him? (He seems to be saying that His personal
ministry time is over. He is entering the time of
the end of His life on earth.)

1. What do you think about this timing? As Jesus’
popularity is peaking, He is going to die?

E. Read John 12:24. Who is Jesus talking about? (He
is not referring to us, but rather to Himself. In
the cycle of life He is approaching the time of
His death.)

1. Jesus’ reference to “remains alone” is hard to
square with His current situation. Jesus is
incredible popular, so much so that the Jewish
leaders think that He has won. What does Jesus
mean by this? (He is saying that His ministry
will explode in popularity when He is gone.)

a. Is that because of His death? (The reason
is not simply His death, but rather His
perfect life followed by His death on our
behalf. This is a much greater and more
complex question than mere self

b. Should we look at Jesus’ statement from a
very simple point of view? (Jesus is
saying something that each of His
listeners knows to be true. Wheat has to
die to reproduce. Jesus is making a
parallel to Himself.)

F. Read John 12:25. Is Jesus still speaking about
Himself? (No. He says “whoever,” this refers to

1. Should we understand this to mean that we must
hate life? I certainly do not hate my life.
And, I know of no one who is a serious
Christian who hates life. Do you hate your

a. If you answered that you hate your life,
is that because of your activities to
share the gospel? (That seems virtually
impossible to me.)

G. Read Luke 14:26 and John 19:27. Jesus tells us not
only to hate our own life, but to also hate our
own family. Then we see later that Jesus asks John
to take care of His mother just before He died.
Did Jesus hate his mother? (Clearly not. He was
looking out for her best interests. He shows love
to His mother.)

1. So, what is Jesus asking us to do when He
refers to us hating our life and our families?
What is Jesus asking us to do to die like Him?

II. The Context for Hate

A. We need to explore the story that Jesus told just
before He calls on us to hate our lives and our
families. Read Luke 14:16-20. Are all of these
activities honorable? (Yes. These people show

1. Do you see any problem with those excuses?
(The invitees prefer their own work over the
company of the man who invited them to eat.)

2. I want us to peek at Matthew 22:2-3. What is
Jesus really talking about? (Salvation! Thus,
this directly speaks to the “hate” issue and
following Jesus.)

B. Read Luke 14:21-22. Why are these citizens willing
to come? (They were willing to put the invitation
ahead of whatever they were doing!)

1. Are you surprised?

C. Read Luke 14:23. What motivated these people to
come to the banquet? (They were compelled!)

1. What kind of people are these? (Highway and
hedge people. Are they the productive citizens
in that society? Likely, Jesus is talking
about Gentiles.)

D. Read Luke 14:24. How would you summarize this
story in terms of the qualifications of those who
attended the great man’s banquet?

E. Now read the follow-up verses: Luke 14:25-26. What
does this suggest that hating family and our own
life mean? (Notice that those who rejected the
invitation did so because they preferred a member
of the family or what was currently of primary
interest in their life. When Jesus uses the term
“hate” He is not talking about dislike or disgust,
He is talking about making a choice.)

F. Read Luke 14:27-28. Note that Jesus had not yet
been crucified, and Jesus’ disciples did not
understand that would happen. How do you think
they understood the idea of bearing your own
cross? (It was part of the punishment and shame of
someone that Rome thought should die. Later, the
disciples understood exactly what Jesus meant.)

1. How should we understand these two verses?
(Before we decide to be a Christian, we need
to accept that it will require a sacrifice
through the choices we make in life and those
choices might mean that we are mocked for
making them.)

III. Walking in the Right Way

A. Read Philippians 2:1-2. What kind of sacrifice is
written about here? (Being in accord with the
group of believers.)

B. Read Philippians 2:3. What is “selfish ambition?”
(One commentator says, “empty conceit.” It means
creating a dispute just to promote your vanity.)

1. I’ve been in plenty of church related
meetings. I didn’t count everyone else as
being more significant than me because I
thought some of the people had stupid or
selfish ideas. Was I wrong? (The “interests of
others,” would reasonably include the entire
church. Looking out for their interests would
require rejecting dumb or selfish ideas.)

a. Why am I an appropriate judge?

C. Read Philippians 2:4. Is it proper to look out for
our own interests? (Yes. But, at the same time we
should look out for the interests of others.)

D. Read Philippians 2:5-7. This tells us that Jesus
is our example. Put yourself in Jesus’ place and
tell me all the reasons you can think of that He
should not come to earth to face a painful and
humiliating death?

E. Read Philippians 2:9-11. Is God’s goal for us that
we should choose the path of sacrifice? (Sacrifice
is paired with exaltation. It is not God’s goal
for us to be harmed and humiliated. His goal is
that we should be lifted up.)

1. So why are we told to take into consideration
in our choice to follow God that we should
expect to sacrifice? (This is a “reality
check.” There is a controversy going on
between Jesus and Satan. This is a war, and
during a war soldiers sacrifice. The war is
not the goal, the war is necessary to reach
peace and prosperity.)

F. Let’s skip down and read Philippians 2:13-15. What
is the near term goal of working for God? (That we
will be examples of what it means to serve God.)

1. If the idea is that we will suffer, why is
“lights” a good way to describe us? (Others
will look at our lives as a good thing. They
will, perhaps down deep, admire what we are

G. Friend, choosing to follow Jesus makes demands
upon us. The first and primary demand is that we
choose Jesus over our self. Are you willing to do
that? Why not ask the Holy Spirit to help you make
and stand by that choice?

IV. Next week: Christ in the Crucible.

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.