32 And if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to Myself.
33 Now He said this to signify how He was about to die.
When Jesus said that He would draw all men to Himself when He was lifted up from the earth, what did He mean?
There are some who believe that Jesus was referring to His ascension from earth to Heaven, and Luke has recorded this for us in the first chapter of the book of Acts.
The thought is that it is when Jesus is glorified in Heaven that He will draw all people to Himself. Satan is to be dethroned, but Jesus is to be enthroned as King and kings and Lord of lords.
However, John adds the comment in verse 33 that Jesus was not talking about His ascension, but His death. We must remember that the comment of John, inspired by the Holy Spirit, was written after Jesus had died, been raised and ascended into Heaven; probably sixty years later.
He adds the comment to make it clear that Jesus was speaking about the manner of His death.
The truth is that everyone who looks to the cross of Jesus will see the truth of what His death means. As we look to the cross of Jesus we are drawn to realize that He hung and suffered there for us. We have the revelation of the Holy Spirit that it was on that cross where He paid the price of our sin, and so He unlocked the gates of Heaven so that we can go in.
In John chapter 3 we read these words: 14 And just as Moses raised up the snake in the wilderness, even so it is necessary for the Son of Man to be raised up
15 So that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life.
In the wilderness the people had rebelled against God. Their punishment was a plague of snakes, the bite from which killed them. God told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole so that all who looked at it would be healed and live.
In a similar way Jesus was lifted up on a pole, the cross, so that everyone who looks at Him and believes in Him will be saved; will pass from death to life.