Jesus likens his ministry and the Christian life to the process of a grain dying in the ground so that it might sprout and produce fruit.
Jesus says that unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. On one level this saying describes Jesus' ministry. Jesus performs many miracles for people, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and even raising the dead. Often, however, people misunderstand or are offended by these miracles. Since he heals on the Sabbath, some think he is a lawbreaker. Since the miracles make him popular, some think he will create a political movement that will prompt the Romans to take violent action against the Jewish people. At the end of his ministry, Jesus is like the grain of wheat: he is very much alone and misunderstood, even though he is physically surrounded by people. His ministry will bear fruit through his death and resurrection, which will provide a new basis for faith. On another level, this saying describes Christian life. Through faith, people die to an old life and enter a new life of service to God. It is in service to God that life comes to its fruition.
24Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org
10 February 2011