Two Who Brought Others

MEMORY SELECTION: “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” —John 12:25

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 1:40-46; 12:20-26

THE selection of the twelve apostles, as well as of all the followers of Jesus, was and still is God’s work. The role of Jesus was to act as God’s representative. In John 17:6 Jesus said, “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gayest me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gayest them me; and they have kept Thy Word.” And again, in John 6:44 Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” But even after being called of God, it was necessary for the disciples, as well as the subsequent followers of the Master, to lay their lives down in sacrifice, as did the Master himself. It was by these experiences that the Apostle Paul states: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Heb. 5:8,9) Jesus, speaking to his disciples, said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”—Matt. 16:24

The close relationship that Jesus was to have with his footstep followers is indicated in many places in the Scriptures. For example, in Hebrews 2:10 we read: “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things [God], in bringing many sons unto glory [the footstep followers of Jesus], to make the Captain of their salvation [Jesus] perfect through suffering.” In another figure the Apostle Paul illustrates the closeness of Christ and his footstep followers: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.”—I Cor. 12:12

This relationship was foreshadowed in the types of the Old Testament. In the 16th chapter of Leviticus is given an account of the Day of Atonement. The Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 13:10-13, shows that the Atonement Day was a type of the Gospel Age. In the type a bullock was the first offering, and its blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat, as a satisfaction, or an atonement, for the sins of Aaron and his house. The second sacrifice of the day was the Lord’s goat, and its blood was also sprinkled on the mercy seat, as a satisfaction, or atonement, for the sins of the nation of Israel. The antitypical significance of these sacrifices is that the bullock represented Jesus and that the merit of his sacrifice—the ransom price—was first applied on behalf of the antitype of Aaron and his house, namely, the church. The Lord’s goat, we have learned, represented the justified, spirit-begotten church of the Gospel Age. As in the type, the sacrifice of the church does not add to the merit of our Lord’s sacrifice but is simply counted in as part of his figurative body. The atoning merit of their sacrifice is really our Lord’s merit, returned a second time to the mercy seat.

In our study the Lord is showing the same lesson under a different figure. In John 12:24-26 Jesus said: “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. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me.” In this text Jesus is saying that just as it was necessary for the kernel of wheat to be sown in the ground in order for it to bring forth a head of many grains, so it is necessary for him to die in order to provide the merit to justify the church during the Gospel Age, thus enabling them to have a relationship with God and develop fruitage unto eternal life.

In our text Jesus also voiced the principle prevailing during the Gospel Age. He said that he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. By this he meant that both he and his footstep followers must consecrate their lives even unto death to serve the Heavenly Father; and, if faithful in this, they will gain the crowning life, or the divine nature. On the other hand, he that loveth his life shall lose it. By this our Lord meant that those who were not willing to make the necessary sacrifice would find that they had lost the opportunity for eternal life and a share with Jesus in the kingdom work.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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