And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32
Both promise and mandate flow from our scripture today. This powerful verse roots itself in the Old Testament and branches forth toward eternity. ‘Lifted up from the earth,’ was a phrase used by the Hebrew people to speak of dying. While Christ chose this particular phrase to foretell his own manner of death on the cross, it also served to remind the people of the serpent Moses lifted in the desert to deliver the people from death. Scripture always beautifully weaves truths with both complexity and clarity. The purposes of God are unchanging: eternal life for all who will see and believe.
As a promise, this verse gives eternal purpose to our lives. The will of the Father powered all of Christ’s actions; it is to be our driving force as well. Christ came to earth with the purpose of providing abundant life to dying souls. Accomplishing his purpose required Him to die upon the cross. Our role is different—we are to live fully in the abundance provided by Christ’s obedience unto death. God wills that those see and believe in the One lifted from the earth will die to the world so that other dying souls will see and believe. It is a promise with a perpetuating purpose!
This is not a milquetoast promise either. The word ‘draw’ actually means drag! When we allow the life of Christ to rise up in our daily lives, Jesus promises to drag those around us toward Himself. Our hearts thrill to that promise when we consider those we love--our children, our friends who do not know Christ as Lord. Yet the Father feels that way about every soul. ALL those who are lost and hurting need to see who Jesus is—and we are God’s chosen vessel for revealing His glory. Therein is our mandate: lift Jesus up above the earthly concerns you face. Keep Him lifted above everything else in your life that His life will flow in you and through you!
The Romans used the horror of crucifixion to fix eyes on the results of resisting the laws of the land. It was a tool of intimidation to keep people in line. The love of the Father floods out the evil tactics of the Romans. God desires for eyes to fix upon the power of sacrificial love and obedience to the Father revealed in Christ upon the cross. Lifting up Christ in the details of our days means we allow the life of Christ to flow through us—the life that loved and obeyed the Father at all costs. That life draws—drags—souls to the Giver of life! There is promise with power to grab hold of!