"'And I, 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." John 12:32-33
Verse 32 is popularly misconstrued to mean that if we Christians would "lift" our Lord up in praise, others would become aware of him and be drawn to him. Thanks be to the Father that things concerning Jesus are not dependant on us. John 1:3 reminds us that all things came into being by him and by extension, without us. Jesus is more than able.
We obtain the true meaning of verse 32 by reading and understanding verse 33. His being lifted up was about the method by which he would sacrifice his life for everyone who ever lived and ever would; he was hung up on a cross after a very public trial at a major thoroughfare in all of his humiliation for everyone to see. This was the most shameful death possible at the time and he did it in and of himself.
John 3:14 compares this "lifting up" to that which was done in the book of Numbers when Moses was commanded to fabricate a brass serpent to heal all who had been bitten by snakes sent to punish them for their disobedience. The brass serpent was placed on a staff and held high so everyone who chose to look could see. If they wanted to be saved, they had to look upon the death meant for them.
The same is true for us today. Christ physically died the death that was meant for us spiritually. If he was not lifted up on the cross, we would have no hope and we would have no life. It was this lifting that is still drawing mankind today. Surely he is worthy of our praise, misconstrued or otherwise.
Loving Like Jesus,