John12:32-33 Jesus said, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.
From time to time, I read articles from other pastors who state that Christ’s death was actually accidental and not what He wanted or intended. Jesus was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He got caught up in the middle of a nasty religious and political rivalry in which He became the unlucky scapegoat. Personally, I find that kind of interpretation to be false and very misleading, especially when I read passages from the Gospels.
For instance, in today’s passage, Jesus communicates a prophecy about His death. When He states that people will be drawn to Him when He is lifted up, some of His listeners must have thought that this would happen if He was exalted to the Kingship of Judea. What Christ was really saying, however, was that when He was nailed to the Cross and hoisted up before His friends and enemies, all sorts of people would be drawn to Him.
This prophecy has been fulfilled for almost two thousand years. Every day, thousands of people on this planet are drawn nearer to Christ through the power of His sacrificial Cross. His death enables them to be delivered from their sins. His sacrifice saves them from condemnation. His cross restores them to God’s forgiveness and love.
Today, in our communities and across the world, people are going to be drawn to Jesus and their lives will be changed forever. This is the real mission of the Church on Earth. Its task is to help humanity turn from sin, cleave to Christ’s Cross, and be reconnected to God. We may have countless ministries and missions, projects and programs to undertake, accomplish, and complete, but the One, True, and Living Purpose of Christ’s Church is to encourage, augment, and support His work of saving souls in every generation, nation, and situation.
Question for personal reflection
What does Christ’s Cross mean to me? Has it become the channel of my soul’s salvation?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, without You we would be separated from God forever. Without Your Cross, we would be cast away eternally. Without Your sacrifice, we would be set apart from God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love. Thank You for taking on the Cross so that our sins could be taken off us. We will always be indebted to You, our Lord, Savior, and King. In your Holy Name, we gratefully pray. Amen.
John Stuart is currently the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions or make comments about today’s message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.