Weekly Devotion – John 12:32
Published 5:49 pm Sunday, October 10, 2021
By Mike Caton
John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
When we think about lifting someone up we think about exalting them, we might say we are giving them a boost. And honestly, we all need that boost, that encouragement, that honor from time to time. But Jesus has something far different in mind, his being lifted up will be anything but honorable. Jesus is talking about the manner in which he will die, this lifting up he references, will be on a cross. The cross was the cruelest, most painful, demoralizing and public death the Romans could come up with. The idea was to both maximize the suffering of the one being put to death and to assure the public the same would happen to them, if they crossed the Romans.
But rather than repel people, rather than putting them off, Jesus said he would draw all people to himself by his death. What would there be about a crucified man that would attract anyone, much less the whole world? In Jesus’ case, there are several oddities about his crucifixion. First, Jesus was an innocent man; and everyone knew it from the Jews who plotted his death, to Pilate who gave the order, to the soldier who carried it out. And the death Jesus died was sacrificial, he died not for his own sin, but for the sin of everyone else. In his death, he paid our debt, the debt we could not pay. And the death Jesus died on the cross was only temporary, when they placed him in the borrowed grave, he arose on the third day. Jesus defeated death, and sin, and Satan.
And Jesus did that for you and me and everyone else in the world. There have been many great teachers throughout history. There have been many great leaders. There have been many men who have done great things, who have loved people, who have started movements, who have changed history. But none of them have ever died for you, never paid that ultimate death. And in that, Jesus is drawing us to himself. The only real question left is, how will we respond, you and me? Will we choose to draw closer to Jesus?
Father, help me get closer every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works part time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email firstname.lastname@example.org.