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John 12:2433, 3536, 4448comment (0)

November 28, 2013

By Dale Younce

Related Scripture: John 12:2433, 3536, 4448

Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile

Live Selflessly

John 12:24–33, 35–36, 44–48

Many Bible students conclude that selfishness is the essence of sin. All adults, even believers, are at heart self-centered as a result of the fall. Many believers understand this truth and include the struggle against selfishness as part of their daily Christian walk with the Holy Spirit. Others deal intermittently with the issue. Still others are so captured by the “me first” mentality of society that they do not recognize how much of their worldview is at odds with a life of Christian discipleship. Jesus taught the way of discipleship is costly in that He demands His followers die to self and focus their lives and service on what God wants.

Accept the Principle (24–26)

During Passover week, the last week of the Lord’s earthly life, Jesus was teaching and preparing His disciples to carry on His ministry after He was gone. He emphasized the need to live a God-focused life, not a self-focused one. He did this by using an ordinary agricultural illustration. A seed never produces grain until first it falls into the ground and (to all appearances) dies. Just as a grain of wheat dies in order to produce an abundant harvest, so the death of the Son of God will result in the salvation of many. 

This splendid picture of dying to self instructs those of us who are believers to follow Jesus and accept the principle He lived by: dying to self and living for God.

Many people live for themselves, focusing their attention on money, possessions, pleasure or the approval of others. They fail to realize that the soul is more important than the body. By neglecting their spiritual welfare, they lose their lives.

 On the other hand, there are those who are God-focused who, by trusting Jesus, receive eternal life. To follow Christ means, by the Holy Spirit’s power, to obey Jesus and to grow morally in our resemblance of Him.

Consider the Cost (27–33)

Jesus knew that, for Himself, the principle of dying to self would require His sacrificial death on the cross. Although He was troubled about His approaching death, Jesus knew He had come into time/space history for that very purpose: to die as the payment for human sin.

Christians also, in following Jesus, live with the possibility of martyrdom and many believers in various places around the world have recently laid down their lives for Christ’s sake. 

If we live by the principle Jesus lived by, we need to consider seriously that we may be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice in advancing God’s kingdom. Living a God-focused life, not a self-focused one, does involve a cost.

Realize the Urgency (35–36)

Jesus explained to His men the urgency of trusting Him and following Him while He was still with them. 

No less today we need to be motivated by a sense of urgency concerning the call to trust Jesus and to follow Him in selfless discipleship as we share the Good News of the gospel.

Decide to Follow (44–48)

These verses are a summary of Jesus’ overall message along with His final appeal before His death. He declared that His mission to the world was to provide the way of salvation. 

Thus following Him means trusting Him in a God-focused life.

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