Revelations from the Word

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When you have lifted up the Son of Man

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Therefore Jesus said to them: When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know what I am, and that I do nothing of myself, but I speak according to what the Father has taught Me. The One who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to Him. As Jesus was speaking thus, several believed in Him" (John 8:28-30).

Jesus had already said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, in he same way it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up, so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life" (John 3:14-15), with the view of revealing how God was going to execute His plan of salvation for all men (John 3:16-17). In fact Moses made a bronze serpent and placed it on a rod in order that "whoever was bitten by a serpent had his life saved by looking at the brass serpent" (Numbers 21:8-9). By saying to them literally, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM", Jesus was revealing that he was fully God, but that men would only truly understand Him after his death on the cross; however, several believed in Him before his death.

Because of the teaching that they had previously received, the crowd had often had difficulty in believing Jesus, "We have learned through the Law that the Messiah (Christ) remains forever; how do you say therefore: It is necessary that the Son of Man be lifted up?" (John 12:34). According to the perfect plans of God, Jesus was to be lifted up in two ways:

  • firstly on the wood (the cross) to draw all men to Himself in order that they may be saved (John 12:32) – it is the work of God in the heart of men (John 6:29) –, and in order that the prophetic words of Isaiah be fulfilled: the forgiveness of sins, the healing of the body and soul, and the reconciliation with God which brings peace (Isaiah 53:4-5).

  • then, after His resurrection, at the right hand of God as Prince and Saviour in order to grant to men the grace of God – that is repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31), thus allowing men to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:33) –, and to spread the Name, Jesus Christ, which is above every name in order that every knee may bow before this Name and that every tongue confess His lordship to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

God has shown His love for men by sending His Son to save them, and Jesus has expressed His love by offering His life on the cross. Jesus has thus shown the way of salvation for every man; there can be no knowledge of Jesus Christ and God the Father without accepting His accomplished work on the cross, and there is no other name which has been given among men by which they may be saved (Acts 4:12).