John 12:32
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth.—The pronoun is strongly emphatic. “And I,” in opposition to the prince of this world; the conqueror in opposition to the vanquished foe. The conditional form, “If I be lifted up,” answers to the “troubled soul” of John 12:27. He knows that it will be so, but He leaves the future to declare its own truths. Comp. the phrases, “If it be possible,” “If this may not pass away from Me” (Matthew 26:39; Matthew 26:42), and Note on John 14:3. The words “lifted up” have occurred before in John 3:14; John 8:28; but the context here shows that they include the thought of the ascension into heaven. It is from the heavenly throne that the Messiah will rule over His spiritual kingdom.

Will draw all men unto me.—Better, . . . unto Myself. The words “all men” are not to be limited by interpretations which refer them to nations, or to elect persons within nations; but are to be taken in all the fulness of their width as meaning simply what they say—“all.” The drawing unto Himself is the assertion of His reign over the world, from which the prince of evil shall be cast out. He will Himself be the centre of the new kingdom, from which none shall be shut out. These Greeks who are drawn to Him now are the first-fruits of the harvest of which the whole world is the field, and of which the last day is to be the great ingathering. The word “draw” occurs once in the New Testament, besides this passage, in a moral sense (John 6:44; comp. Note on it there). It is accomplished in the work of the Holy Spirit, whose mission to the Church was dependent on the ascension of our Lord (John 7:39; John 16:7); and the promise is fulfilled even in the case of those who resist the Holy Spirit’s influence. They are drawn by the moral power of the life and death and resurrection of Christ brought home to them by the Holy Ghost; but no moral power can compel a will which is free. (Comp. Note on John 6:37.) The whole mission-work of the Church and every effort which Christianity brings to bear upon the evil of the world implies this moral drawing; and implies, too, the power of man to reject it. But we may not say this moral power is not leading men to Christ, where we can least trace it, and we may not say that there is any limit where its influence ends. (Comp. Note on 1Peter 3:19.)

John

THE UNIVERSAL MAGNET

John 12:32
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‘Never man spake like this Man,’ said the wondering Temple officials who were sent to apprehend Jesus. There are many aspects of our Lord’s teaching in which it strikes one as unique; but perhaps none is more singular than the boundless boldness of His assertions of His importance to the world. Just think of such sayings as these: ‘I am the Light of the world’; ‘I am the Bread of Life’; ‘I am the Door’; ‘A greater than Solomon is here’; ‘In this place is One greater than the Temple.’ We do not usually attach much importance to men’s estimate of themselves; and gigantic claims such as these are generally met by incredulity or scorn. But the strange thing about Christ’s loftiest assertions of His world-wide worth and personal sinlessness is that they provoke no contradiction, and that the world takes Him at His own valuation. So profound is the impression that He has made, that men assent when He says, ‘I am meek and lowly in heart,’ and do not answer as they would to anybody else, ‘If you were, you would never have said so.’

Now there is no more startling utterance of this extraordinary self-consciousness of Jesus Christ than the words that I have used for my text. They go deep down into the secret of His power. They open a glimpse into His inmost thoughts about Himself which He very seldom shows us. And they come to each of us with a very touching and strong personal appeal as to what we are doing with, and how we individually are responding to, that universal appeal on which He says that He is exercising.

I. So I wish to dwell on these words now, and ask you first to notice here our Lord’s forecasting of the Cross.

A handful of Greeks had come up to Jerusalem to the Passover, and they desired to see Jesus, perhaps only because they had heard about Him, and to gratify some fleeting curiosity; perhaps for some deeper and more sacred reason. But in that tiny incident our Lord sees the first green blade coming up above the ground which was the prophet of an abundant harvest; the first drop of a great abundance of rain. He recognises that He is beginning to pass out from Israel into the world. But the thought of His world-wide influence thus indicated and prophesied immediately brings along with it the thought of what must be gone through before that influence can be established. And he discerns that, like the corn of wheat that falls into the ground, the condition of fruitfulness for Him is death.

Now we are to remember that our Lord here is within a few hours of Gethsemane, and a few days of the Cross, and that events had so unfolded themselves that it needed no prophet to see that there could only be one end to the duel which he had deliberately brought about between Himself and the rulers of Israel. So that I build nothing upon the anticipation of the Cross, which comes out at this stage in our Lord’s history, for any man in His position might have seen, as clearly as He did, that His path was blocked, and that very near at hand, by the grim instrument of death. But then remember that this same expression of my text occurs at a very much earlier period of our Lord’s career, and that if we accept this Gospel of John, at the very beginning of it He said, ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up’; and that that was no mere passing thought is obvious from the fact that midway in His career, if we accept the testimony of the same Gospel, He used the same expression to cavilling opponents when He said: ‘When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I am He.’ And so at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of His career the same idea is cast into the same words, a witness of the hold that it had upon Him, and the continual presence of it to His consciousness.

I do not need to refer here to other illustrations and proofs of the same thing, only I desire to say, as plainly and strongly as I can, that modern ideas that Jesus Christ only recognised the necessity of His death at a late stage of His work, and that like other reformers, He began with buoyant hope, and thought that He had but to speak and the world would hear, and, like other reformers, was disenchanted by degrees, are, in my poor judgment, utterly baseless, and bluntly contradicted by the Gospel narratives. And so, dear brethren, this is the image that rises before us, and that ought to appeal to us all very plainly; a Christ who, from the first moment of His consciousness of Messiahship-and how early that consciousness was I am not here to inquire-was conscious likewise of the death that was to close it. ‘He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister,’ and likewise for this end, ‘to give His life a ransom for the many.’ That gracious, gentle life, full of all charities, and long-suffering, and sweet goodness, and patience, was not the life of a Man whose heart was at leisure from all anxiety about Himself, but the life of a Man before whom there stood, ever grim and distinct away on the horizon, the Cross and Himself upon it. You all remember a well-known picture that suggests the ‘Shadow of Death,’ the shadow of the Cross falling, unseen by Him, but seen with open eyes of horror by His mother. But the reality is a far more pathetic one than that; it is this, that He came on purpose to die.

But now there is another point suggested by these remarkable words, and that is that our Lord regarded the Cross of shame as exaltation or ‘lifting up.’ I do not believe that the use of this remarkable phrase in our text finds its explanation in the few inches of elevation above the surface of the ground to which the crucified victims were usually raised. That is there, of course, but there is something far deeper and more wonderful than that in the background, and it is this in part, that that Cross, to Christ’s eyes, bore a double aspect. So far as the inflicters or the externals of it were concerned, it was ignominy, shame, agony, the very lowest point of humiliation. But there was another side to it. What in one aspect is the nadir, the lowest point beneath men’s feet, is in another aspect the zenith, the very highest point in the bending heaven above us. So throughout this Gospel, and very emphatically in the text, we find that we have the complement of the Pauline view of the Cross, which is, that it was shame and agony. For our Lord says, ‘Now the hour is come when the Son of Man shall be glorified.’ Whether it is glory or shame depends on what it was that bound Him there. The reason for His enduring it makes it the very climax and flaming summit of His flaming love. And, therefore, He is lifted up not merely because the Cross is elevated above the ground on the little elevation of Calvary, but that Cross is His throne, because there, in highest and sovereign fashion, are set forth His glories, the glories of His love, and of the ‘grace and truth’ of which He was ‘full.’

So let us not forget this double aspect, and whilst we bow before Him who ‘endured the Cross, despising the shame,’ let us also try to understand and to feel what He means when, in the vision of it, He said, ‘the hour is come that the Son of Man shall be glorified.’ It was meant for mockery, but mockery veiled unsuspected truth when they twined round His pale brows the crown of thorns, thereby setting forth unconsciously the everlasting truth that sovereignty is won by suffering; and placed in His unresisting hand the sceptre of reed, thereby setting forth the deep truth of His kingdom, that dominion is exercised in gentleness. Mightier than all rods of iron, or sharp swords which conquerors wield, and more lustrous and splendid than tiaras of gold glistening with diamonds, are the sceptre of reed in the hands, and the crown of thorns on the head, of the exalted, because crucified, Man of Sorrows.

But there is still another aspect of Christ’s vision of His Cross, for the ‘lifting up’ on it necessarily draws after it the lifting up to the dominion of the heavens. And so the Apostle, using a word kindred with that of my text, but intensifying it by addition, says, ‘He became obedient even unto the death of the Cross, wherefore God also hath highly lifted Him up.’

So here we have Christ’s own conception of His death, that it was inevitable, that it was exaltation even in the act of dying, and that it drew after it, of inevitable necessity, dominion exercised from the heavens over all the earth. He was lifted up on Calvary, and because He was lifted up He has carried our manhood into the place of glory, and sitteth at the right hand of the Majesty on high. So much for the first point to which I would desire to turn your attention.

II. Now we have here our Lord disclosing the secret of His attractive power.

‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.’ That ‘if’ expresses no doubt, it only sets forth the condition. The Christ lifted up on the Cross is the Christ that draws men. Now I would have you notice the fact that our Lord thus unveils, as it were, where His power to influence individuals and humanity chiefly resides. He speaks about His death in altogether a different fashion from that of other men, for He does not merely say, ‘If I be lifted up from the earth, this story of the Cross will draw men,’ but He says, ‘I will’ do it; and thus contemplates, as I shall have to say in a moment, continuous personal influence all through the ages.

Now that is not how other people have to speak about their deaths, for all other men who have influenced the world for good or for evil, thinkers and benefactors, and reformers, social and religious, all of them come under the one law that their death is no part of their activity, but terminates their work, and that thereafter, with few exceptions, and for brief periods, their influence is a diminishing quantity. So one Apostle had to say, ‘To abide in the flesh is more needful for you,’ and another had to say, ‘I will endeavour that after my decease ye may keep in mind the things that I have told you’; and all thinkers and teachers and helpers glide away further and further, and are wrapped about with thicker and thicker mists of oblivion, and their influence becomes less and less.

The best that history can say about any of them is, ‘This man, having served his generation by the will of God, fell on sleep.’ But that other Man who was lifted on the Cross saw no corruption, and the death which puts a period to all other men’s work was planted right in the centre of His, and was itself part of that work, and was followed by a new form of it which is to endure for ever.

The Cross is the magnet of Christianity. Jesus Christ draws men, but it is by His Cross mainly, and that He felt this profoundly is plain enough, not only from such utterances as this of my text, but, to go no further, from the fact that He has asked us to remember only one thing about Him, and has established that ordinance of the Communion or the Lord’s Supper, which is to remind us always, and to bear witness to the world, of where is the centre of His work, and the fact which He most desires that men should keep in mind, not the graciousness of His words, not their wisdom, not the good deeds that He did, but ‘This is My body broken for you . . . this cup is the New Testament in My blood.’ A religion which has for its chief rite the symbol of a death, must enshrine that death in the very heart of the forces to which it trusts to renew the world, and to bless individual souls.

If, then, that is true, if Jesus Christ was not all wrong when He spoke as He did in my text, then the question arises, what is it about His death that makes it the magnet that will draw all men? Men are drawn by cords of love. They may be driven by other means, but they are drawn only by love. And what is it that makes Christ’s death the highest and noblest and most wonderful and transcendent manifestation of love that the world has ever seen, or ever can see? No doubt you will think me very narrow and old-fashioned when I answer the question, with the profoundest conviction of my own mind, and, I hope, the trust of my own heart. The one thing that entitles men to interpret Christ’s death as the supreme manifestation of love is that it was a death voluntarily undertaken for a world’s sins.

If you do not believe that, will you tell me what claim on your heart Christ has because He died? Has Socrates any claim on your heart? And are there not hundreds and thousands of martyrs who have just as much right to be regarded with reverence and affection as this Galilean carpenter’s Son has, unless, when He died, He died as the Sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, and for yours and mine? I know all the pathetic beauty of the story. I know how many men’s hearts are moved in some degree by the life and death of our Lord, who yet would hesitate to adopt the full-toned utterance which I have now been giving. But I would beseech you, dear friends, to lay this question seriously to heart, whether there is any legitimate reason for the reverence, the love, the worship, which the world is giving to this Galilean young man, if you strike out the thought that it was because He loved the world that He chose to die to loose it from the bands of its sin. It may be, it is, a most pathetic and lovely story, but it has not power to draw all men, unless it deals with that which all men need, and unless it is the self-surrender of the Son of God for the whole world.

III. And now, lastly, we have here our Lord anticipating continuous and universal influence.

I have already drawn attention to the peculiar fullness of the form of expression in my text, which, fairly interpreted, does certainly imply that our Lord at that supreme moment looked forward, as I have already said, to His death, not as putting a period to His work, but as being the transition from one form of influence operating upon a very narrow circle, to another form of influence which would one day flood the world. I do not need to dwell upon that thought, beyond seeking to emphasise this truth, that one ought to feel that Jesus Christ has a living connection now with each of us. It is not merely that the story of the Cross is left to work its results, but, as I for my part believe, that the dear Lord, who, before He became Man, was the Light of the World, and enlightened every man that came into it, after His death is yet more the Light of the World, and is exercising influence all over the earth, not only by conscience and the light that is within us, nor only through the effects of the record of His past, but by the continuous operations of His Spirit. I do not dwell upon that thought further than to say that I beseech you to think of Jesus Christ, not as One who died for our sins only, but as one who lives to-day, and to-day, in no rhetorical exaggeration but in simple and profound truth, is ready to help and to bless and to be with every one of us. ‘It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.’

But, beyond that, mark His confidence of universal influence: ‘I will draw all men.’ I need not dwell upon the distinct adaptation of Christian truth, and of that sacrifice on the Cross, to the needs of all men. It is the universal remedy, for it goes direct to the universal epidemic. The thing that men and women want most, the thing that you want most, is that your relation with God shall be set right, and that you shall be delivered from the guilt of past sin, from the exposure to its power in the present and in the future. Whatever diversities of climate, civilisation, culture, character the world holds, every man is like every other man in this, that he has ‘sinned and come short of the glory of God.’ And it is because Christ’s Cross goes direct to deal with that condition of things that the preaching of it is a gospel, not for this phase of society or that type of men or the other stage of culture, but that it is meant for, and is able to deliver and to bless, every man.

So, brethren, a universal attraction is raying out from Christ’s Cross, and from Himself to each of us. But that universal attraction can be resisted. If a man plants his feet firmly and wide apart, and holds on with both hands to some staple or holdfast, then the drawing cannot draw. There is the attraction, but he is not attracted. You demagnetise Christianity, as all history shows, if you strike out the death on the Cross for a world’s sin. What is left is not a magnet, but a bit of scrap iron. And you can take yourself away from the influence of the attraction if you will, some of us by active resistance, some of us by mere negligence, as a cord cast over some slippery body with the purpose of drawing it, may slip off, and the thing lie there unmoved.

And so I come to you now, dear friends, with the plain question, What are you doing in response to Christ’s drawing of you? He has died for you on the Cross; does that not draw? He lives to bless you; does that not draw? He loves you with love changeless as a God, with love warm and emotional as a man; does that not draw? He speaks to you, I venture to say, through my poor words, and says, ‘Come unto Me, and I will give you rest’; does that not draw? We are all in the bog. He stands on firm ground, and puts out a hand. If you like to clutch it, by the pledge of the nail-prints on the palm, He will lift you from ‘the horrible pit and the miry clay, and set your feet upon a rock.’ God grant that all of us may say, ‘Draw us, and we will run after Thee’!12:27-33 The sin of our souls was the troubled of Christ's soul, when he undertook to redeem and save us, and to make his soul an offering for our sin. Christ was willing to suffer, yet prayed to be saved from suffering. Prayer against trouble may well agree with patience under it, and submission to the will of God in it. Our Lord Jesus undertook to satisfy God's injured honour, and he did it by humbling himself. The voice of the Father from heaven, which had declared him to be his beloved Son, at his baptism, and when he was transfigured, was heard proclaiming that He had both glorified his name, and would glorify it. Christ, reconciling the world to God by the merit of his death, broke the power of death, and cast out Satan as a destroyer. Christ, bringing the world to God by the doctrine of his cross, broke the power of sin, and cast out Satan as a deceiver. The soul that was at a distance from Christ, is brought to love him and trust him. Jesus was now going to heaven, and he would draw men's hearts to him thither. There is power in the death of Christ to draw souls to him. We have heard from the gospel that which exalts free grace, and we have heard also that which enjoins duty; we must from the heart embrace both, and not separate them.Be lifted up - See John 3:14; John 8:28.

Will draw - John 6:44. The same word is used in both places.

All men - I will incline all kinds of men; or will make the way open by the cross, so that all men may come. I will provide a way which shall present a strong motive or inducement - the strongest that can be presented to all men to come to me.

32. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me—The "I" here is emphatic—I, taking the place of the world's ejected prince. "If lifted up," means not only after that I have been lifted up, but, through the virtue of that uplifting. And truly, the death of the Cross, in all its significance, revealed in the light, and borne in upon the heart, by the power of the Holy Ghost, possesses an attraction over the wide world—to civilized and savage, learned and illiterate, alike—which breaks down all opposition, assimilates all to itself, and forms out of the most heterogeneous and discordant materials a kingdom of surpassing glory, whose uniting principle is adoring subjection "to Him that loved them." "Will draw all men 'UNTO ME,'" says He. What lips could venture to utter such a word but His, which "dropt as an honeycomb," whose manner of speaking was evermore in the same spirit of conscious equality with the Father?Ver. 32,33. However this term of lifting up Christ is taken in some other scriptures, it is by the evangelist himself in this text expounded concerning his death, so as there is no room for any other interpretation of it in this text. The word that is used, is hardly to be found in any place (except where in Scripture it relates to Christ) signifying to die, or put to death; but is very proper, both to express the kind of his death, which was a lifting up upon the cross, from the earth into the air; and to let us know that his death was a lifting up of his name: as it was the lowest degree of his humiliation, so it was nearest to his exaltation. It was his highest act of obedience to the will of his Father, that for which his Father highly exalted him, giving him a name which is above every name, Philippians 2:9; and also that which made his name famous over all the world, by the preaching of the gospel; for as the apostles, so all the ministers of the gospel since their times, preach a Christ crucified. Saith our Saviour, If, or although, I be put to death by the hands of the Jews, lifted up upon the cross between heaven and earth, yet this shall not hinder my Father’s glorifying of himself in and by me; for instead of obscuring or hindering my Father’s glory, by this I shall further promote it. For by the preaching of my cross, and publication of my gospel to all nations, and by the efficacious concurrence of my Holy Spirit, together with the preaching of the gospel, I shall draw (though not all, and every man, yet) multitudes of men and women after me, so as they shall embrace and believe in me, having died and risen up again from the dead, and being by my apostles, and other ministers of the gospel, held forth as the object of people’s faith, to be by them laid hold upon in order to their eternal life and salvation. He used the term of lifting up, (saith the evangelist), to signify the particular death he should die, by being crucified; in which death the bodies of the crucified abode not upon the earth, as when they were at any time stoned, or strangled, or beheaded, &c., but were lifted up from the earth to be nailed to the cross, and hung in the air until they died. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,.... The death of Christ is here signified by his being "lifted up from the earth", in allusion to the lifting up of the brazen serpent on the pole; and shows, that his death would not be natural, but violent, and would be public, and not private; and fitly expresses his mediation between God, and men, being lifted up between the heavens and the earth; and points out the death of the cross, as is intimated in the next verse: and the "if" here does not suppose that his death, and the manner of it, were uncertain, for it was determined by God, agreed to by himself, predicted in the Scriptures, signified by types, and foretold by himself, and was necessary for the salvation of his people; but it designs the time of his drawing persons to himself, which is afterwards expressed, and may be rendered, "when I am lifted up", as it is by the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions: now when this will be, Christ says,

I will draw all men to me; which is not to be understood of the concourse of people about him, when on the cross, some for him, and others against him, some to bewail him, and others to reproach him; but rather of the gathering of the elect to him, and in him, as their head and representative, when he was crucified for them; or of the collection of them, through the ministry of the apostles, and of their being brought to believe on him for eternal life and salvation: and this drawing of them to him, in consequence of his death, supposes distance from him, want of power, and will, to came to him, and the efficacious grace of God to bring them, though without any force and compulsion; and this is to be understood not of every individual of human nature; for all are not drawn to Christ, or enabled to come to him, and believe in him. There were many of the Jews who would not, and did not come to him for life; and who instead of being drawn to him in this sense, when lifted up on the cross, vilified and reproached him; moreover, in the preceding verse, "a world" is spoken of, whose judgment, or condemnation, was now come; and besides, there was at this time a multitude of souls in hell, who could not, nor never will be, drawn to Christ; and a greater number still there will be at the last day, who, instead of drawing to him in this gracious way and manner, will be bid to depart from him, as having been workers of iniquity. Christ died indeed for all men who are drawn unto him; but this is not true of all men, that are, were, or shall be in the world. Add to this, that the word "men" is not in the text, it is only "all": Beza's most ancient copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version read "all things"; and by "all" are meant, all the elect of God, all the children of God, "that were scattered abroad"; the Persic version reads, "I will draw my friends to me"; it designs some of all sorts of men, of every state, condition, age, sex, and nation, Gentiles as well as Jews, and especially the former; which agrees with the ancient prophecy, Genesis 49:10, and with the context, and the occasion of the words, which was the desire of the Greeks, that were come to the feast, to see Jesus; and which was a specimen of the large numbers of them, that should be drawn to Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel, after his death: the Jews say, that in the time to come, or in the days of the Messiah, all the proselytes shall be "drawn", shall freely become proselytes (e). The allusion here, is to the setting up of a standard or ensign, to gather persons together. Christ's cross is the standard, his love is the banner, and he himself is the ensign, which draw souls to himself, and engage them to enlist themselves under him, and become his volunteers in the day his power; see Isaiah 11:10.

(e) T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 24. 1. & Gloss. in ib.

And I, if I be {e} lifted up from the earth, will draw {f} all men unto me.

(e) Christ used a word which has a double meaning, for it signifies either to lift up or to get out of the way: for he intended them to think of his death, but the Jews seemed to take it another way.

(f) Chrysostom and Theophylact say that this word all refers to all nations: that is, not only to the Jews.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 12:32-33. And I shall establish my own dominion in room of the devil’s rule.

κἀγώ] with victorious emphasis, in opposition to the devil.

ἐὰν ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τ. γῆς] so that I shall be no more upon the earth. Comp. on ὑψόω ἐκ, Psalm 9:14. Probably Jesus (differently in John 3:14) used the verb רום (comp. Syr.): אם הרמתי מן הארץ. This exaltation from earth into heaven to the Father (John 7:33; Acts 2:33; Acts 6:31) was to be brought about by the death of the cross; and this manner of His death, Jesus, in the opinion of John, indicated (John 18:32, John 21:19) by the word ὑψωθῶ (comp. John 3:14, John 8:28). According to John, it is then the designation of the return from earth to heaven, which Jesus gives by ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τ. γ., not merely a representation of His death, so far as the latter exalts him to the Father, but an announcement of the manner of the death (comp. John 18:32, John 21:19), through which He will end His earthly life, because He was to die exalted on the cross. But this interpretation of John’s does not justify us in straightway understanding ὑψ. ἐκ τ. γ. of the crucifixion (so the Fathers, and most older commentators, including Kling, Frommann, Hengstenberg), which is forbidden by ἐκ τῆς γῆς, nor in finding therein[115] a “sermo anceps” (Beza and several others, including Luthardt, Ebrard, Godet, comp. Engelhardt), since by the very force of ἐκ τ. γ. the double sense is excluded. It belongs to the freedom of mystic exposition linking itself to a single word (comp. John 9:7), as it was sufficiently suggested, especially here, by the recollection of the ὑψωθῆναι already employed in John 3:14, and is therewith just as justifiable in itself in the sense of its time as it is wanting in authority for the historical understanding. To this mystical interpretation is opposed, indeed, the expression ἐκ τῆς γῆς (comp. Isaiah 53:8); but John was sufficiently faithful in his account not to omit this ἐκ τ. γῆς for the sake of his interpretation of ὑψωθῶ, and simply adhered to this ὑψ., and disregarded the context.[116]

On ἐάν, comp. on John 14:3.

πάντας ἑλκ. πρὸς ἐμαυτ.] all, i.e. not merely adherents of all nations, or all elected ones and the like, but all men, so that thus none remain belonging to the ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου. But to the latter, to the devil, stands opposed, not the mere πρὸς ἐμέ, but to myself, to my own community. Comp. John 14:3; ἐμαυτόν never stands for the simple ἐμέ, not even in John 14:21 (against Tholuck). The ἑλκύειν takes place by means of the Holy Spirit, who, given by the exalted Lord (John 7:39, John 16:7), and representing Himself (John 14:18-19), wins men for Christ in virtue of faith, and, by means of internal moral compulsion, places them in the fellowship of love, of obedience, and of the true and everlasting ζωή with Him. Comp. John 6:44, where this is said of the Father. The fulfilment of this promise is world-historical, and continually in process of realization (Romans 10:18), until finally the great goal will be reached, when all will be drawn to the Son, and form one flock under one shepherd (John 10:16). In this sense πάντας is to be left without any arbitrary limitation (Luthardt’s limitation is baseless: all, namely, those whom He draws to Himself). For the manner in which Paul recognised the way and manner of the last consummation of the promise thus made, see Romans 11:25-26.

[115] “His suspension on the cross appears to Him the magnificently ironical emblem of His elevation on the throne,” Godet. An ironical touch would here be very strange.

[116] Scholten sets aside the whole comment as an interpolation.John 12:32. ὑψωθῶ ἐκ τῆς γῆς is explained as indicating or hinting, σημαίνων, “by what death He was to die,” i.e., that He was to be raised on the cross. Cf. John 3:14. It was the cross which was to become His throne and by which He was to draw men to Him as His subjects. In ὑψωθῶ therefore, although the direct reference is to His elevation on the cross, there is a sub-suggestion of being elevated to a throne. “σημαίνειν notat aliquid futurum vaticinando cum ambiguitate quadam atque obscuritate innuere.” Kypke. So Plutarch says of the Oracle, οὔτε λέγει οὔτε κρύπτει ἀλλὰ σημαίνει.32. And I] ‘I’ is very emphatic in opposition to ‘the ruler of this world.’ The glorified Christ will rule men’s hearts in place of the devil.

be lifted up] Raised up to heaven by means of the Cross: we need not, as in John 3:14 and John 8:28, confine the meaning to the Crucifixion, although the lifting up on the Cross may be specially indicated. The words ‘from the earth’ (literally, out of the earth) seem to point to the Ascension; yet the Cross itself, apparently so repulsive, has through Christ’s Death become an attraction; and this may be the meaning here. For the hypothetical form ‘if I be lifted up,’ comp. ‘if I go,’ John 14:3. In both cases Christ is concerned not with the time of the act, but with the consequences of it; hence He does not say ‘when,’ but ‘if.’

will draw] There are two Greek words for ‘draw’ in the N.T., one of which necessarily implies violence, the other does not: it is the latter that is used here and in John 6:44; the former is used Acts 14:19; Acts 17:6. Man’s will is free; he can refuse to be drawn: and there is no violence; the attraction is moral. We see from John 6:44 that before the ‘lifting up’ it is the Father who draws men to the Son.

all men] Not only the Jews represented by the Twelve, but the Gentiles represented by these Greeks.

unto me] Better, unto Myself, up from the earth.John 12:32. Κἀγώ) and I, I truly. The antithesis is, the prince of this world.—ὑψυθῶ, I shall have been lifted up) See John 12:33, and ch. John 3:14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.”—ἐκ τῆς γῆς) from the earth. Comp. Acts 8:33, “His life is taken from the earth.” In the very cross there was already something that tended towards glory.—πάντας, all) even the Gentiles, John 12:20 [the Greeks, for instance, who applied to Philip, wishing to see Jesus], Satan shall not be able to retain them; and himself shall give way. Here the answer is given to the request mentioned at John 12:21, “We would see Jesus.”—ἑλκύσω, I will draw) from earth, upwards. By this word a power is indicated in opposition to the prince of the world, who shall no longer detain his captives.Verses 32, 33. - And I, if I be lifted out of (or, from) the earth, will draw all (men) to myself. Now this he spake, signifying by what death he was about to die. Ὑψωθῶ has been by Meyer, as well as many of the Fathers, referred to the Lord's resurrection and ascension. The ἐκ τῆς γῆς would certainly be in favor of it, and be a possible rendering if we hold (with Westcott and others) that resurrection and uplifting from the earth involve and presuppose a previous death, or that John always speaks of Christ's death as itself a glorious thing, as itself the commencement of the supreme glory of the Son of man. On the other hand - though this idea is reiterated by the opponents of the Fourth Gospel - there is nothing in the New Testament which makes the cross of Christ in itself a symbol of the exaltation of Jesus. Moreover, the next verse compels a closer reference to "the way in which he was about to die" - a mode of departure admirably expressed by the term "uplifting." The language of Jesus to Nicodemus, in which the same word occurs in describing the lifting up of the Son of man after the fashion in which the serpent was uplifted in the wilderness, confirms this interpretation of the evangelist, which we have no claim to traverse (cf. also John 18:32; John 21:19). Christ declared that the attraction of the cross would be mightier than all the fascination of the prince of this world. The word ἐλκύσω, "I will draw," is applied elsewhere (John 6:44) to the Father's work of grace, which preveniently prepares men to come to Christ. In these words we learn that the attraction of the cross of Christ will prove to be the mightiest and most sovereign motive ever brought to bear on the human will, and, when wielded by the Holy Spirit as a revelation of the matchless love of God, will involve the most sweeping judicial sentence that can be pronounced upon the world and its prince. In John 16:11 the belief or the conviction that the prince of this world has been already condemned (κέκριται) is one of the great results of the mission of the Comforter. Be lifted up (ὑψωθῶ)

See on John 3:14. The primary reference is to the cross, but there is included a reference to the resurrection and ascension. Bengel says: "In the very cross there was already something tending towards glory." Wyc., enhanced.

From the earth (ἐκ τῆς γῆς)

Literally, out of the earth.

Will draw (ἑλκύσω)

See on John 6:44.

All men (πάντας)

Some high authorities read πάντα, all things.

Unto Me (πρὸς ἐμαυτόν)

Rev., rightly, unto myself: in contrast with the prince of this world.

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