John 12:24, “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.”
Nothing can be more confusing to us than Jesus speaking in riddles and parables. Yet the confusion ceases when one considers the riddle in light of Jesus’ purpose of His earthly ministry. That Gentiles sought Jesus comes as a surprise to the readers, especially to those who were formerly and presently Jews. Jesus, knowing He is King of all nations, knew that it was the time for Him to be glorified with these Gentiles seeking Him out (v. 23). Glorified in what way? In His death.
The grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die in order to bear much fruit. Jesus is not speaking of mere wheat here; He is speaking of the purpose for which He came to earth. Jesus must die and fall into the ground in order for His work to bear fruit. We would not worship Jesus if He had not died and risen for us. Jesus was no ordinary man who died under unfortunate circumstances; He was God who became a man in order to die for us in our sins.
Jesus knew of the Jews’ plot to kill Him, which is why He began walking among the Gentiles (John 11:45-57). Thus, after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He began speaking of the necessity of His death in riddles (cp. 12:27-36). Indeed, Jesus’ death bore abundant fruit! In His death He conquered death. In His death He saved us from the death we deserve—damnation to Hell. In His resurrection, He gives us eternal life.