Gospel Words: Christ the Corn of Wheat

John 12:24  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 6
A very characteristic truth in the Gospel of John is the Son of God come, the Word become flesh, Who is life eternal and gives it to the believer. But nowhere have we a fuller witness to the efficacy of His death. His work is for us as necessary and as blessed in itself and in its effect as His person: God's glory is concerned most nearly in both (chaps. 1:29; 3:14, 15; 6:51-58; 8:28; 10:9-11, 15-18; 11:51, 52; 12:32).
At this point of the Gospel testimony is rendered to Him in three aspects: first, as marked out Son of God in power by resurrection, in chap. 11; secondly, as Messiah, King of Israel, David's Son and David's Lord, in chap. 12:12-16; and lastly, as Son of man with rights over all flesh, yet (as we see in our text) about to die to have others sharing His blessedness and glory. Let us consider this last particular a little more fully.
The Son of God was in the world which He had made; yet the world, boasting of its knowledge, knew Him not, the highest, best, most momentous of all knowledge. He came to His own things, for He was also Messiah, “the born King of the Jews “; yet His own people, if not so ignorant, were more guilty still than the world, and received Him not. Hence, when certain Greeks, of those coming up to worship at the feast of Passover, made known through disciples their desire to see Jesus, He answered, saying, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say to you, Except the corn of wheat falling into the earth die, itself abideth alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.” The entire vista of His humiliation unto death and of its blessed result opens before Him and receives suited expression in these wondrous words.
Have you then heard Him in faith? Are you not nearly and deeply concerned? The rejection of the Son, Who is also Messiah, leads in marvelous grace to the fulfillment and disclosure of God's counsels. The Jews and the world at large were verily evil, openly proved enemies. His speaking to them as He did left them without excuse for their sin; His working among them as none other had done made other sin as nothing in comparison: for, as things were, they had both seen and hated both Him and His Father. Did the Jews by hand of lawless Gentiles crucify and slay the Lord of glory? It was by the grace of God He tasted death for every one. The greatest wrong of man confronted the love of God; which triumphed over sin and Satan in effecting redemption by His blood. Then, in being raised from the dead, He only and now is the Second man and Last Adam, by Whom all that believe are justified. Thereon, when the Jews refused the gospel of Him dead and risen, the word of salvation was sent to the nations or Gentiles. It is here for you now. He came to do God's will in His death as the perfect offering and sacrifice, which sums up yet surpasses all others. And again it is God's will that the glad tidings of remission of sins and life eternal should come to you. “Hear, and your soul shall live.” Did not God say, even of old looking onward to Him, “Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters”? Be reconciled to God.
Where man saw in the cross shame, and the deepest shame, the Savior saw glory. If this was moral glory, heavenly glory is its answer: “Wherefore also God highly exalted Him.” “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.” So we read in Psa. 8. If the rejected Messiah of Psa. 2; 8 go down into death (compare Heb. 1; 2), He is the Son of man also crowned with glory and honor on high, though now we see not yet all things subjected to Him. But we by faith see Him in heaven, the pledge that they shall be. This will be when at His coming He raises those that are His to reign with Him, as 1 Cor. 15 declares. And it agrees with what He Himself here says, “Except the corn of wheat falling into the earth die, itself abideth alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.” That the victims of sin might be delivered, sin itself judged, Satan vanquished for eternity, God Himself glorified in man, and His love free to bless perfectly, He, the true grain of wheat, fell into the earth and died. Without that atoning death the glory had been His alone. But now what abundant “fruit"! They that are His are cleansed whiter than snow by His blood; they live of His life; they are children of God, and shall never perish. They are sealed by the Spirit. Through Christ they have the entry by one Spirit unto the Father; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.
The Greeks, like all Gentiles indeed, were apart from Christ, having no hope, and godless in the world; and it would soon be proved that the Jews, notwithstanding their great privileges, were no better but guiltier and therefore worse: all alike children of wrath. Neither living grace nor almighty power in Jesus could meet the desperate need. Nothing short of atoning death could avail. Without death He abode alone; but dying He bears much fruit in resurrection. And how scripture teems with testimony to this truth! Oh, is it not a great thing to be part of His “much fruit”? How blind, wretched, and sinful, to despise Him Who alone makes it good? What must it be to wake up to the awful evil of unbelief, when it is irretrievable?