In John’s Gospel, Jesus identifies five undeniable marks of being His disciple. In the last post, we considered the first mark:
1. A disciple abides in the Word of Christ
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples”
(John 8:31 ESV)
Now we turn our attention to the second mark (character quality) of a disciple.
2. A disciple surrenders to Christ
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. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. 27 “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”
(John 12:23-28 ESV)
Two observations are important as you examine the context of this passage:
• The Glory of God
• The Gentile Inclusion
First, notice that this passage is bookended by the Glory of God (vs. 23, 28). Jesus will glorify the Father in His person and in His work.
Second, it is important to see how Jesus responds to the Greeks (God fearers) who are seeking an interview with Him. Based upon what Jesus said, I believe He met with them.
Jesus spoke about “a grain of wheat.” These Greeks would be familiar with this illustration because it was used in Greek mythology to refer to “new life.”
It is in this context that Jesus refers to His resurrection and shares a timeless principle that is found throughout the pages of Scripture.
“You must first die in order to really live.”
Like a seed, we must be planted and die, so that the life of Christ might “spring forth” in and through my life.
John the Baptizer said it well in John 3, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
Paul also said it well in Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV)
A disciple is one who says “not I but Christ.” That involves surrender, suffering, and self-denial.