What does John 12:32 mean?
ESV: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
NIV: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.'
NASB: And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself.'
CSB: As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself."
NLT: And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.'
KJV: And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
NKJV: And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
Verse Commentary:
The expression "lifted up" is a metaphor for crucifixion—a fate Jesus will be experiencing very soon (John 12:23–24). This is something Christ alluded to when speaking with Nicodemus (John 3:14). There, Jesus referenced an incident from Numbers 21:4–9. The people of Israel were suffering from a self-inflicted plague, and could only be saved by looking to a bronze serpent held up on a pole. That moment foreshadowed the concept of salvation by grace through faith, with the eventual Messiah as the one "lifted up" for others to look to and be saved.

This act of being "lifted up" will "draw all men to [Christ]." The context of this "drawing" is the conversation Jesus is having with a crowd in Jerusalem (John 12:20–22). The people had mixed reactions to an overt voice from heaven (John 12:28–29). Jesus pointed out that such events were meant for their own good (John 12:30), as signs to point them to the truth (John 20:30–31). The message of the gospel, focused on Christ's death and resurrection, is one that "calls" to all people (John 6:35; 40). Unfortunately, not all will respond (John 6:44).

The aftermath of Jesus' death proves the literal truth of the words "all men." He will be executed under a placard sarcastically proclaiming Him as king in multiple languages (John 19:20). His death will shake the worldview of a pagan soldier (Mark 15:39), witnessed by both followers and enemies (Mark 15:29–32; John 19:25). He will die in between thieves (Matthew 27:38), only one of whom will believe (Luke 22:39–43). His body will be attended to by both loyal disciples and secret followers—those of both low and high class (Matthew 27:57–61). Women will be the first to learn of His resurrection (Mark 16:1–6). Gentiles will be converted (Acts 10:44–45). Hardened enemies will become missionaries (Acts 22:6–8). Social barriers will be broken (Galatians 3:28). In eternity, those redeemed by Christ will included members of "every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages" (Revelation 7:9).
Verse Context:
John 12:27–43 represents the end of Jesus' public ministry in the gospel of John. After being approached by non-Jewish people who believed in God, Jesus seems agitated as He anticipates His impending death. A voice from heaven affirms His mission, but to most people it simply sounds like noise or thunder. What Jesus means as a reference to crucifixion is misinterpreted by many as a prediction that He'll be exalted: to be ''lifted up.'' The people struggle to understand His message, and Jesus will leave them after warning that their time is short. This confirms Old Testament prophecies and reiterates how far some people will go in order to defy evidence of God.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus is treated to an honorary dinner at the home of Lazarus, whom He has recently raised from death. At this dinner, Lazarus' sister, Mary, anoints Jesus with expensive oil. Jesus then enters Jerusalem to great fanfare, stoking fears that His popularity will attract the anger of the Roman Empire. That anger even inspires a murder plot against Lazarus. After being approached by non-Jewish seekers, Jesus offers a final plea for people to understand His ministry. In effect, these are the last public words spoken by Jesus in the gospel of John.
Chapter Context:
In the prior chapter, Jesus spectacularly raised Lazarus from death in front of a crowd of witnesses. This inspired local religious leaders to commit to having Him killed. Here, after a celebratory dinner where Jesus is anointed with oil, He will fulfill prophecy by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, celebrated with shouts of ''Hosanna'' and a massive crowd. This leads to a group of curious non-Jews approaching Him. Christ then offers a final plea for belief in Him and His message. After this, His ministry will turn to preparing the disciples for His impending death and resurrection. The next several chapters of the gospel of John are almost entirely made up of his teachings to these men.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
Accessed 5/26/2024 11:55:44 AM
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