John 12:24

John 12:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you
This is a certain truth in nature, Christ was about to assert; and what he signifies by it would be a certain fact, and which he mentions, that his death might not be a stumbling block to his disciples, or any objection to his glorification; but was rather to be considered as a means of it, and necessary in order to it:

except a corn of wheat fall into the ground;
or is sown in the earth; for sowing with the Jews is expressed by the falling of the seed into the earth; (See Gill on Matthew 13:4); and is a very fit phrase to set forth the death of Christ by, who fell a sacrifice to justice by the hands of men:

and die;
or is corrupted, and putrefies; and which is done in three days time in moist land, but is longer in dry ground ere it perishes {z}: and a corn of wheat is almost the only seed, that being cast into the earth, does die; and therefore is very aptly used by Christ:

it abideth alone;
a mere single corn as it is:

but if it die;
if it wastes, consumes, and rots, as it does, being cast into the earth, in the time before mentioned:

it bringeth forth much fruit;
it shoots out, and rises above ground, and appears in blade, and stalk, and ear, and produces many corns or grains of wheat; all which our Lord intends should be accommodated to himself, and to his death, and the fruits of it. He compares himself to a corn of wheat; to wheat, for the choiceness and excellency of it above all other grain, he being the chiefest among ten thousand, angels or men; and for the purity and cleanness of it, he being, even in his human nature, pure, and free from sin; and for its fruitfulness, he being fruitful in himself, and the cause of all fruitfulness in his people; and for its usefulness for food, he being the bread of life, and the finest of the wheat: and whereas the wheat must be threshed, and ground, and sifted, and kneaded, and baked, before it is fit for food; all this may express the sufferings and death of Christ, in order to be proper food for the faith of his people: and Christ here compares himself to a single corn of wheat, because he was of little account among men, and but little or nothing was expected by them from him; and chiefly because he was alone in the salvation of his people. The death of Christ is signified by the falling of the corn of wheat into the ground, and dying, and shows that Christ's death was not accidental, but designed; it was determined in the counsels and purposes of God, and intended for his glory and the redemption of men; even as wheat falls out of the hands of the sower, not casually, but on purpose, that it may die and spring up again, and produce an increase: and also, that the death of Christ was voluntary, both on his Father's part, and on his own; and was real, and not in appearance only, and yet was but for a short time; as the corn of wheat that dies, soon revives again, and is quickly above ground, so Christ, though he really died, did not long continue under the power of death, but rose again the third day, and now lives for ever. Moreover, Christ intimates by this simile, that if he had not died, he should have been alone; not without his Father, and the blessed Spirit; nor without the holy and elect angels, but without any of the sons of men, who all fell and died in Adam; and had not Christ died, none of them would have lived; none of them could have been justified; nor could their sins have been expiated; nor would any of them have been regenerated: Christ must have been without them in heaven; wherefore he chose rather to die for them, that they might be for ever with him, than be alone in the human nature. And he further observes hereby, that his death would be productive of much fruit; which may be understood both of a large harvest of souls, that should be saved, among Jews, and Gentiles, and especially the latter; and of the blessings of grace, as redemption, justification, peace, pardon, and eternal life, that should follow upon it.


FOOTNOTES:

F26 Rabbenu Samson & Bartenora in Misn. Celaim, c. 2. sect. 3.
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