March 23, 2015

John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

My interest in this verse is with the term “all people.” The literal wording in the Greek I looked up is “all” without any qualifier.  “I will draw all to myself.” Does all mean every? Universalists believe this, that all people and perhaps all things will be drawn to Christ as a result of his being lifted up. This is a warm and delightful thought, that the cross of Christ brings all people and all things back into its original relationship to God. It does render our human decisions as superfluous and makes several of the other passages in the bible hard to understand- those commanding a decision to choose God or follow Christ. Perhaps it is better to understand the all as all sorts, all categories, all nationalities. This seems to fit the mission of the early church to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). It would also fit the reality that the church faced persecution, that the story of Christ faced rejection, and that evil did not disappear from the world. It also fits the reality that there are those who are drawn to Jesus today from all continents and all classes and all races. I think the point is that we can’t tell who Christ will draw to himself now that he has been lifted up. It could be anyone at any time. It could even be us! And so we live with a sense of wonder, wondering and wonderful. Are you being drawn to the uplifted Jesus this week?

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