Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” And if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die (NASB).
In the 1993 movie, “In the Line of Fire,” Clint Eastwood played Secret service agent Frank Harrigan. Harrigan had protected the life of the President for more than three decades, but he was haunted by the memory of what had happened thirty years before. Harrigan was a young agent assigned to President Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas in 1963. When the assassin fired, Harrigan froze in shock.
For thirty years afterward, he wrestled with the ultimate question for a Secret service agent. Can I take a bullet for the President? In the climax of the movie, Harrigan did what he had been unable to do earlier: he threw himself into the path of an assassin’s bullet to save the chief executive.
Secret service agents are willing to do such a thing because they believe the President is so valuable to our country and the world that he is worth dying for. Obviously, they would not take a bullet for just anyone.
At Calvary, the situation was reversed. The President of the universe actually took a bullet for each of us. At the cross, we see how valuable we are to God.
- THE CROSS OF CHRIST HAS THE MAGNETISM OF LOVE
This text comes after Jesus has raised Lazarus, the brother of Mary and
Martha from the dead. Jesus is on His way to the cross. Now the hour of His glorification by the heavenly Father has come. Jesus in a humble way rides on a donkey to Jerusalem. The fame and the popularity that Jesus has gained among the multitude have heightened the anger and the jealousy of the religious leaders. Therefore, they conspire to put Jesus to death because they cannot afford to lose control or authority. But one divine truth that these antagonists do not know is that Jesus’ hour to depart this life is at hand. All along, Jesus has assured His disciples that His hour has not come, but now His hour has come. Jesus is about to go back to the Father. He is about to go back to the place from where He has come into the world. Jesus has come to the world because of His love for you and me. He is also about to go to the cross because of His love for all of us.
Death on the cross was not meant for Jesus, who lived a sinless life. Death on the cross was meant for you and me who are sinners. The cross was meant for hardened criminals, Jesus however, demonstrated His love for you and me by dying in our stead on the cross. Someone has rightly said that God created the universe out of nothing, but it cost the life of God’s only Son to redeem you and me from sin. At the cross, you see the love of God as it cannot be seen anywhere else in all creation. The cross of Christ is God’s magnetism of love for you and me. God’s purest and surest demonstration of love is seen on the cross of Calvary. The truth is that love like a magnet attracts some people and at the same time repels others. While Jesus’ going to the cross is the zenith or culmination of God’s love for the human race, it is also the judgment for Satan and his cohort. While Christ’s death is motivated by the unconditional love of God, the other side of it is a judgment upon the world. The world will condemn itself by its treatment of the Son of God. The term “world,” (kosmos) used in this context means all of human society in rebellion against its Creator. When the religious leaders conspired against Jesus and the Roman government put its stamp of approval on His crucifixion, they thought that they were passing judgment on Jesus. In reality, they were passing judgment on themselves. The cross was rather passing judgment on them. When Jesus came to represent His Father on earth and they rejected Him as the Son of God, they rejected God’s only means of salvation for them. In essence, they rejected God Himself.
Not only is the cross the dividing line between the love of God and judgment for human societies in rebellion against God, but also the overthrown of Satan. Jesus’ death on the cross reversed the situation of the human race created by the fall of Adam. It was because of rebellion and disobedience that Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden by God. They were driven out because they submitted to the prince of this world. However, by the perfect obedience of Jesus on the cross, the prince of this world was deposed of his lofty position. The cross of Christ secures the life of those who receive Him but it judges those who reject Him. The death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection is the height of God’s gracious self-disclosure to fallen humanity. Although the cross seemed like Satan’s triumph, it is in fact, his defeat. The fundamental overthrown of Satan’s rule of tyranny takes place in the death and exaltation of Jesus Christ.
The prince of this world, Satan is the adversary of the Son, Jesus Christ. The defeat and dethronement of Satan is effected by the death and resurrection of the Son and confirmed by the coming of the Holy Spirit. As much as we try not to offend people in either preaching or witnessing of Christ, the hard truth is that anyone who rejects Jesus is an enemy of God. Jesus is God’s greatest gift to the world. Therefore, to reject Jesus Christ is to reject God. This is plain and simple (John 3:16-18).
- THE CROSS OF CHRIST HAS THE MAGNETISM OF FORGIVENESS VV. 32-33
What is the greatest need that the human race has? What is the greatest need
that you have? It is not money. It is not wisdom. It is not time. It is not physical healing. It is not a car, or house, as important as these things are. The greatest need we have is the need for forgiveness. We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The Scriptures declare that “There is no one who is just on earth who continually does good and who never sin” (Eccl. 7:20). The differences among us are not that some are sinners and others are not. It is only in the degree of our sin. Jesus’ death on the cross is God’s answer to your sin and mine. In and through Jesus’ death on the cross, God offers us the gift of forgiveness and cleansing. Jesus says, “And if I am lifted up from the earth will draw all men ([people] to Myself.” Sin had separated us from God. It is only through the cross of Christ that we receive reconciliation and forgiveness of sin from God. That is why Jesus said that if he is lifted up He will draw all people unto Himself. The word “lifted up” is a reference to the cross. The lifting up on the cross is the supreme expression of the invincible power of divine love. Jesus would draw to Himself like a magnet all who accept in faith His victory over sin and evil. Sin brings guilt to the human mind and heart. All humanity is guilty of sin, but the good news is that the cross of Christ has the magnetism of forgiveness. When God forgives you of your sin, He releases you from the burden of guilt that you have been carrying. Jesus is not only lifted up on the cross, but He is also lifted up to glory. In the New Testament, Jesus’ atoning death and His exaltation come together with explicitness.
Christ does not draw people to His cross; rather He draws us to Himself. The phrase “all men” or “all people” does not mean individuals without exception. The New Testament does not teach universalism. Jesus is not saying that He will draw every person to Himself regardless of the conclusion the person has reached concerning His death on the cross. What Jesus is saying is that He will draw all people to Himself without the distinction of race. In other words, He will draw Jews and Gentiles alike unto Himself. Remember that in verse 20, some Greeks have come to see Jesus, but He is on His way to the cross. In the wake of Jesus’ death and exaltation, the Greeks, the Gentiles will be able to approach Him as freely as the Jews of the old covenant. The truth is that all those who come to Christ have been drawn by the heavenly Father. Unless you are drawn by the Father, you cannot come to Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, everyone who comes to Jesus would not be turned away. There is room at the cross for whoever may come. The rich are welcome to Christ. The poor are welcome. The educated is welcome. The uneducated are welcome. The outcast is welcome. The lonely are welcome. The cross of Christ is level ground. It does not matter whether you are on the top or bottom of the social ladder, you are welcomed by Christ. He is prepared to draw you with His love and forgiving grace. All who are saved are saved by the magnetism of the cross of Christ. Are you saved? Have you given your life to Jesus? If you were to die today or tomorrow are you certain of where you are going? You can be absolutely sure today when you ask Jesus to save you. He is ready to save you.
- THE CROSS OF CHRIST HAS THE MAGNETISM OF VICTORY
The cross of Jesus marked the defeat of Satan and the ultimate victory of
God in time and in eternity. The cross of Calvary was a struggle between light and darkness, between good and evil, between the Adversary and God. The distinction, however, is that while God is Omnipotent, Omni-present, and Omniscient, Satan is not. Because Satan is not Omniscient, he does not know the beginning from the end of time. All that Satan knew was that the cross led to death and defeat, but Jesus was raised in victory. The cross was a place of no return for its victims, but Jesus rose again from the dead. And because of His victory over sin, Satan, and death He can and does draw all people to Himself. It is because you and I have seen the cross as God’s ultimate victory that we are drawn to it.
Jesus has transformed the cross. To the Jews as well as the Gentiles, the cross was a place of defeat, but Jesus has made it the symbol of victory. Today you see both Christians and non-Christians alike wear the symbol of the cross. Some wear it as a necklace, earring, or a pin on their tie. Some hang the symbol of the cross in their vehicles. You see before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the cross was a symbol of humiliation, shame, defeat, and death, but Jesus has made it a symbol of exaltation, victory, and life.
On that fateful Friday when Jesus was nailed to the cross, Satan and his demons thought that they had won the victory, but on Sunday morning, their victory turned to defeat and mourning, because the one they thought they had destroyed rose from the dead. Yes, He is risen indeed never to die again. Jesus has turned defeat to deliverance. He has turned what was once a tragedy into triumph. He has transformed guilt to grace. Because of that Jesus is able to transform the sinner into a saint. He is able to change the rebel to the redeemed.
A 13-year-old girl fought and lost a long and painful battle with cancer. On the flyleaf of her Bible, she had written these words, “The way of the cross may not be easy but it is the way home.” When Jesus said that if He is lifted up He would draw all people to Himself, He was talking about the manner He would die. It was appointed for Jesus to die. His death was a divine transaction before the foundation of the world. The tragedy, however, is upon those who out of hatred and jealousy engineered His death. Today the decision is in your hands. What are you doing with Jesus? Your rise and fall depending on the conclusion you have reached about Jesus Christ. Where you spend eternity depends on the decision you make in your heart concerning Jesus Christ. There is no indecisiveness on your part when it comes to Jesus Christ. There is no neutral ground when it comes to making a decision for or against Jesus Christ. The decision you arrive at causes Jesus to draw you to Himself or away from Him. Have you pondered on why Jesus died on the cross? What conclusion have you reached?
Jesus’ death has raised all racial and religious barriers. There is social, ethnic, and racial discrimination in many places today. However, Jesus’ death has removed all racial and tribal distinctions. There is social discrimination in many places. But all people black, white, yellow, and red can gather at the foot of the cross. There is room at the cross of Jesus Christ for you, if only you would come. The way of the cross leads home.
A Police officer was patrolling on night duty of a town in Northern Britain when he heard a quivering sob. Turning in the direction it came from, he saw a little boy in the shadows sitting on a doorstep. With tears rolling down his cheeks, the child said, “I am lost. Please take me home. The policeman began naming street after street, trying to help the boy remember where he lived. When that failed, he repeated the names of the shops and hotels in the area, but all without success. Then he remembered that in the center of the town was a church with a large white cross towering high above the surrounding landscape. He pointed to it and said, do you live anywhere near that?” The boy’s face immediately brightened. “Yes, take me to the cross. I can find my way home from there.”
Likewise, the cross of Christ directs lost persons to their eternal home. You must go home by the way of the cross, there is no other way but this. You shall never get sight of the Gates of Light if you miss the way, the way of the cross. The cross of Christ is God’s compass pointing the way to heaven. Amen!
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