John 12:24 Meaning of Unless a Seed Falls to the Ground and Dies

John 12:24
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

Explanation and Commentary of John 12:24

One of the key realities of the Kingdom of God is that life springs from death. Jesus is speaking enigmatically in response to learning of the request of a certain company of Greek seekers. The time for meeting people and talk has come to an end. Jesus is saying that the hour has come for him to be glorified, to die like a kernel of wheat.

What follows these verses is the instruction that Jesus expects his disciples to live and die in the same way. God made us and called us to bear fruit, but as long as we hold on to the world and our old ways, it is impossible. Ironically, by loving and holding on to our life in this world, we lose it for the next, which is an infinitely greater loss.

Lay down your life at the feet of Jesus. Die with him in order to live in him. In this way, you will bear fruit, perhaps a hundredfold (Mt 13:1-20). If you are not willing to die both figuratively and even physically for the sake of Christ, you will not see the Kingdom of God.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of John 12:24

#1 “Very truly I tell you,”
This is Jesus’s rhetorical way of emphasizing that what follows is a key declaration. Whenever Jesus speaks, his followers ought to be all ears. When he begins, “Very truly I tell you,” there must be an immediate response of obedience.

#2 “unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.”
There is no one saved who isn’t being called forth into transformation. God’s plan for his children is that they would conform to the image of the Matchless One, his Son, Jesus Christ. Christ is speaking of both himself and his followers. As it pertains to Christ, what he is in his human form is as this kernel of wheat. In order to bear fruit and “produce many seeds,” he must cease to be a kernel of wheat, but morph into what that seed is destined to become. In the case of wheat, it is a plant with many seeds. In the case of Christ, it is a glorified Christ and his body the Church, animated by his Holy Spirit sent by Jesus from his place at the right hand of the Father, to continue his ministry of preaching Good News to the world.

#3 “But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
Christ produced millions of seeds by his death, which enabled sinners to come to God in repentance. His followers should also consider that they are seeds that must die in order to become what they too are destined for. They must lose their life in following Jesus for his sake (Jn 11:25). Whatever you are to become in Christ can only come about if whatever you are is allowed to die (Gal 2:20).

Bible Study on John 12:24

Expert Overview of John Ch. 1-12

Biblical Translations of John 12:24

NIV
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

NLT
“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”

ESV
“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.”

KJV
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”

NKJV
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”

John 12:24 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 17 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.