Reaching people by reaching for Jesus…
July 19th, 2019
I will tell you ahead of time, that I intend to use my anchor scripture for this devotional outside of the context we might normally see it.
There is a lesson here that we may have missed in our churches and in our efforts to evangelize the world as disciples of Jesus Christ.
“The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”
John 12:31-32 (NLT)
Before we dive into the meat of this, let me explain the common consideration for this passage.
Jesus was talking in the present time; Satan was being cast out at that very moment. Then as Christ is lifted up, He would draw souls to himself.
We all immediately consider this ‘lifting up’, Christ’s ascension into heaven. But something interesting here about the word ‘up’ in this passage. The original word for this is hypsoō. If you look it up, you’ll find that it means ‘to elevate’. You’d expect that right?
But there is another meaning for this word, that other meaning is ‘to exalt’.
Undoubtedly, when the crowd witnessed Jesus being elevated into glory, it had a profound impact on all who were there.
But I don’t want to focus on that right now.
You notice the last part of Jesus’ statement, “I will draw everyone to myself.”
Jesus didn’t say he would draw everyone present to himself. He said “everyone”.
Everyone is a much broader brush than ‘everyone there’, the perfect Lamb of God didn’t have a slip of the tongue, he was talking on a scale so much greater than the crowd present at his ascension.
First off, let’s not get the impression that I’m suggesting that we not share our testimony and the Good News with every person we are given the opportunity. We should, we were commanded to do just that.
But if we miss what Jesus is saying here, we miss a massive draw for the lost to have literally their ‘come to Jesus’ moment. Yes, he was talking about his ascension, but he also was talking about when we lift him up as well.
The second meaning to up would make this read more like, ‘when I am exalted above the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.’
We have praise and worship in our churches, we might even listen to sermons and gospel songs in our homes and vehicles. How often though, do we say praise Jesus when something goes right for us. What about when something goes right for Jesus? We’ve been told to exalt him even when things don’t go so well for us. Paul didn’t stutter when he wrote…
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NLT)
Be thankful in all circumstances. Exalt Jesus for everything.
I won’t even pose the question why. It should be obvious to us already. Being joyful, in touch with our Lord constantly, and being thankful to him for everything regardless of the circumstances will get you noticed!
People will see that your life differs from theirs. When we are lifting up Jesus above all else and thriving in the joy of his grace, they will take note and our Lord being the word smith he is, was telling us that as we exalt him, he will draw them to himself.
We’ve stumbled on a new approach to evangelism. Our praise of Jesus, his exaltation from our lips and our hearts, in our church, in our day-to-day lives, will have a profound impact just as His ascension did for those present.
When people see us raising Jesus up above all else, they will take note. Yes, some will think we are crazy, but many will see that we have something the world cannot give them, money can’t buy, and earthly pleasure falls short of every time.
They will see Christ living in us and desire to have that life inside of them as well.
Keep, and increase your efforts in person-to-person evangelism, sharing your testimony and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but bolster that evangelism effort with “Exalted Evangelism”!
We preach Christ and Him crucified; we exemplify Jesus and Him exalted! What He gave us from his selfless act on the cross, is a purpose for us to rejoice without end and lift him above all other, so everyone know Christ Jesus is Lord!
In the Grace of Jesus!