“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” John 12:32
Jesus used this phrase a few times, not only to tell of his death but also of the manner in which he would die. When speaking to Nicodemus he said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (3:14). Then also, when speaking in the temple, he said to them all, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he…” (8:28).
Jesus may have been born for the purpose of restoring the House of Israel, but his death was for the purpose of redeeming every person upon the earth. John confirms this in his first letter, when he writes, ‘He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world’ (2:2). Everything changed at the cross and more eyes were opened to the truth of who Jesus was.
- The thief could see it – “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
- The centurion could see it – “Truly this was the Son of God!”
- The crowd could see it – ‘when they saw what had taken place, [they] returned home beating their breasts.’
The cross remains the place where lives are changed because it is the only doorway to redemption and salvation. It is Jesus who stands between us and God; He is our mediator and it is only through him that we have access to the Father – there is no other acceptable way. God draws people by way of the cross so that we can lay down our sin and lay down our old life and way of living. ‘He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves…’ (2Cor5:15).
He died that he might draw us to himself and now we must live in a way that draws others to Him also.