Joh 12:23 Jesus answers them. This is what he says, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
Joh 12:24 I honestly tell you, unless a kernel of wheat after falling to the ground — dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Joh 12:25 The one who highly regards his soul destroys it, and the one who hates his soul in this world will preserve it for permanent life.
Joh 12:26 If anyone manages for me, he has to follow me. Where I am, there my manager also will be. If anyone manages for me, the Father will honor him.
Philip had been paid a huge complement by the Greeks, who had desired an audience with Jesus. They called him ‘Lord’ (12:21). I’m thinking that Philip’s ego was being stroked there. This made Jesus’ comments here so appropriate. To highly regard one’s soul is to let superfluous acclaim go to your head, and become prideful. That will wind up destroying your soul. But to hate your soul is to remain humble no matter what others think of you. Such an attitude will wind up preserving your soul for the future permanent life.
You might notice that I did not translate ψυχή (soul) as “life” in verse 25. To do so would be to lose the distinction between it and ζωή which appears in the same verse, and is the more normally translated “life.” I also translated διακονέω as “manage” rather than the usual “serve.” John had been using the term to indicate the process of managing. If Jesus had meant to emphasize mere serving, he would have probably used δουλεύω instead (Matthew 6:24; Luke 15:29). Also, if Jesus is addressing the issue of Philip’s pride, a better word to indicate the pride of someone who “ministers” for Jesus is διακονέω.
Lord, keep us from falling for the trap of getting prideful about serving you.