John 12:32 MEANING

John 12:32
(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 1 Peter 3:19.)

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.

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.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.

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