And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:23-26)
This passage is loaded with insight on discipleship and we would do well to listen and obey its direction because it is the path of discipleship that Jesus, the Master Rabbi, gave us to follow.
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies…it bears much fruit. Just as the death of Jesus accomplished so much for mankind the death of a disciple produces much fruit for the kingdom. Only by the death of the old man and its carnal nature can the new man in discipleship arise to produce lasting fruit for the kingdom of heaven. This is a simple illustration that Jesus used often in His teaching and it’s important that we realize it is the only way to become fruitful because our fallen body is unproductive and only a new creation can produce the fruit that is required of a disciple. Embrace the death of the old rotten man and let the Holy Spirit develop in you the new man – the disciple that is taking on the character of Jesus by being poor in spirit.
You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. (1 Corinthians 15:36-38, NASB)
When we were living in the flesh (mere physical lives), the sinful passions that were awakened and aroused up by [what] the Law [makes sin] were constantly operating in our natural powers (in our bodily organs, in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh), so that we bore bear fruit for death. But now we are discharged from the Law and have terminated all intercourse with it, having died to what once restrained and held us captive. So now we serve not under [obedience to] the odd code of written regulations, but [under obedience to the promptings] of the Spirit in the newness [of life]. (Romans 7:5-6, Amplified)
He who loves his life will loses it. To love your life is to love the “self” more than to love the Christ who died to redeem you and to give you a much better, more abundant life. Oh how we are fooled into believing that we can have a fulfilling life devoted to the self, and that is what we are conditioned to believe in school, by our friends, and through the advertising media. It is all a lie because true life is found only in discipleship with Jesus. Do not be deceived.
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (John 10:10, Amplified)
He who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. The simple contrast to loving the “self” life is to hate it. There is nothing of eternal value in the life of self. A life lived as His disciple holds eternal value. Sin has made this world corrupt, evil, and contrary to the will and nature of God; it should hold no power over you (Genesis 4:5). We must cut the strings of this world and live in the kingdom – in discipleship. Are you ready to release the grasp you have with sin? Accept the call of discipleship and be free.
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the yes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17, NASB)
If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me. As the sheep follow the Shepherd so the servant follows the Master. Discipleship is simply following Jesus and learning from Him day by day until we are mature. The servant relies upon his master for his daily needs and in the same way we have a dependence upon Him for our growth and development as a disciple.
Where I am, there My servant will be also. Another simple fact of discipleship is they are to be around the Rabbi and we should let nothing get in our way of being with Him. Excluding the Rabbi from your everyday life is not an option. The Rabbi leads, the disciple follows.
If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. The big payout happens when we are in the presence of the Father because He will bestow the honor of His children upon the disciples who live as servants. It is something that holds true eternal value. Let us live the life of discipleship until we hear:
Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. (Matthew 25:21, NKJV)
Start to consider day by day if the activities you participate in are appropriate and that your Rabbi is not excluded from them for any reason.