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By Curtis Pugh

Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me,” (John 12:32). I have heard this phrase “lifted up” given the meaning to exalt or glorify as in “I just want to lift up the Lord tonight.” Or, “Let's all lift up the Lord tonight,” in some religious service.

But biblically: and we ought to be biblical in our thoughts and actions: there is no basis for saying that is what the above verse means. Those who heard Jesus make this statement did not understand Him to mean that. “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 12:34). They knew that He meant by being lifted up that He would be nailed to a tree which would be lifted up between Heaven and earth. Jesus spoke of this kind of death when He said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:14-15). Just as looking to the serpent on the pole in the midst of the camp of Israel resulted in life to the one who looked, so when sinners look to Jesus the Christ as their only hope they have eternal life.

“Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things,” (John 8:28). For some that knowledge of the meaning of His death, burial and resurrection will come too late. For others that knowledge will accompany salvation.

But as to the first text quoted at the beginning: it is not our praising or exalting the Lord Jesus that draws all sorts of people to Him. And the word “all” here means “all without distinction” or all kinds of men, not “all without exception” meaning all humanity. Whatever meaning you may put on lifting up the Lord neither one results in all men without exception being drawn to Him since all do not come.

It is not anything that we humans do or say that draws men and women to Christ. Jesus Himself 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,” (John 6:44). It is the Father's work that draws sinners to the Lord Jesus Christ who was lifted up on the tree. To the Jews Peter said, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins,” (Acts 5:30-31).

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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