If I Be Lifted Up

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man” (John 12:32-34)?

It was obvious that the Jews did not understand that the Messiah was to be crucified before he could come into his kingdom, nor did they understand who the “Son of man” was. John 3:14 speaks about Moses lifting up the serpent on the pole in the wilderness, and we see a clear comparison between that action and Jesus being lifted up. Those who sinned could come for healing.

Again in John 8:28, Jesus proclaimed to the Jews that he was indeed sent from the Father. He told them they would know him truly after they had lifted him up. Only then would they understand that he was the Messiah, the Son of God. Basically he was saying that after he was crucified and had risen again, he would attract and enlighten both Jews and Gentiles. The term ‘will draw’ is also used in John 6:44. It was to be one of the peculiar characteristics of the Messiah, that unto him should be the gathering of the people, Genesis 49:10. Our Lord also refers to the prophecy in Isaiah 11:10, which particularly belonged to the Gentiles:

Jesus taught that he would incline all kinds of men; or make the way open by the cross, so that all men could come. He was to provide a way which would present a strong motive or inducement, the strongest that can be presented to all men, to come to him. The language used is that of kings, commanders and regiments of colors which are elevated on high places on long poles, so that the people might see the pavilion of their general, and therefore flock to his standard. Jesus pointed the way for all mankind to come to him through the cross.

How would Jesus draw all men to himself?

  • He would die for all (be lifted up on the cross) so he could call men to live for him and for the Father who instituted such a plan (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
  • His crucifixion (lifting up) calls all men to himself to be redeemed (Titus 2:14).
  • Jesus would be lifted up so that all men everywhere would know he was the Christ (John 8:28).
  • Jesus would also show all men that he loves the Father by obeying his command to be lifted up (John 14:31; John 10:17-18).
  • Today, because Jesus was lifted up, he draws all men to follow him (1 Peter 2:18-21).

Beth Johnson

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.

Published in The Old Paths Archive