John 12:32
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.
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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.

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.

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.

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?I-- will draw all men unto me - After I shall have died and risen again, by the preaching of my word and the influence of my Spirit, I shall attract and illuminate both Jews and Gentiles. It was one of the peculiar characteristics of the Messiah, that unto him should the gathering of the people be, Genesis 49:10. And probably our Lord refers to the prophecy, Isaiah 11:10, which peculiarly belonged to the Gentiles: "There shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an Ensign of the people, to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious." There is an allusion here to the ensigns or colors of commanders of regiments, elevated on high places, on long poles, that the people might see where the pavilion of their general was, and so flock to his standard.

Instead of παντας, the Codex Bezae, another, several versions, and many of the fathers, read παντα, all men, or all things: so the Anglo-Saxon, I will draw all things to myself. But παντα may be here the accusative singular, and signify all men.

The ancients fabled that Jupiter had a chain of gold, which he could at any time let down from heaven, and by it draw the earth and all its inhabitants to himself. See a fine passage to this effect in Homer, Iliad viii. ver. 18-27.

Ειδ' αγε, πειρησασθε θεοι, ἱνα ειδετε παντες,

Σειρην χρυσειην εξ ουρανοθεν κρεμασαντες·

Παντες δ' εξαπτεσθε θεοι, πασαι τε θεαιναι. κ. τ. λ.

"Now prove me: let ye down the golden chain

From heaven, and pull at its inferior links,

Both goddesses and gods: but me your king,

Supreme in wisdom, ye shall never draw

To earth from heaven, strive with me as ye may.

But I, if willing to exert my power,

The earth itself, itself the sea, and you,

Will lift with ease together, and will wind

continued...

12:32 Lifted up from the earth - This is a Hebraism which signifies dying. Death in general is all that is usually imported. But our Lord made use of this phrase, rather than others that were equivalent, because it so well suited the particular manner of his death. I will draw all men - Gentiles as well as Jews. And those who follow my drawings, Satan shall not be able to keep. 12:32 If I shall be lifted up from the earth. Lifted up: (1) to the cross; (2) from the grave; (3) to heaven and the eternal throne.
John 12:31
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