Lift High the Cross

An Easter Message

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself

"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" John 12:32* (ESV).

This past Christmas I purchased a small, metal snowman ornament for my one-year-old grandniece, Adelyne. The ornament was suspended from a spring, so when you held the loop above the spring, the ornament bounced into the air. Her parents later sent me a video of her opening the package. It was adorable seeing my nephew gently instruct his daughter to hold the loop so the ornament would freely bounce up and down. She on the other hand wanted to hold only the ornament. My nephew was patient, though; each time his daughter grabbed at the ornament he tenderly removed her hands so she would experience the funny, bouncing snowman. Finally, when she realized what her father was teaching her, she let go of the ornament and allowed it to spring-away, which gave way to a wide, sweet grin on her beautiful face!

This scenario reminds me of how we often tend to grab hold of situations, plans, or relationships we think will make us happy—our idols as it were—of which God would have us let go. 

Jesus said, when I am lifted up I will draw all people . . . He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die (John 12:33). The Greek word for lifted is hupsoo, which means to exalt. To exalt is to elevate by praise, to glorify, or to raise high. Jesus was raised high on a cross to die a painful, bloody death. He was then raised to life so untold millions could be drawn into God's kingdom. God did this to raise up a holy people to glorify him by telling others the message of Easter: He is risen, salvation is found in no other name! 

It's not always easy to share our faith or to do God's will. We get busy with life, we miss opportunities, we're concerned our peers might reject us, we grow complacent, doubts creep in, or we're just plain tired. However, the Lord has commanded us to go and tell others what he has done for us; it's not a suggestion. We are to lift high the cross and submit to his Lordship, showing forth God's love by our words and our actions. 

My grandniece learned that her father wanted her to experience how great the ornament could be if she would just let go of it. Likewise, when we let go of our plans and ask our Heavenly Father for his will to be done, he will be faithful to show us how much better his plans are for us! He may have to remove our hands gently from our idols, so we can experience what he has in store for us. Sometimes he may even have to pry our fingers loose to make it happen, but doing God's will is where true joy and satisfaction is found. Nothing is more important or better than this!

Prayer: Dear Lord, show me the idols I cling to and help me to let go of them. I want your will to be accomplished in my life. May I be faithful to lift high the message of the cross, so all those I encounter will follow and adore you. Amen. 

Copyright 2013 S.A. Keith - All Rights Reserved

*See also Numbers 21:8 and John 3:1-21.

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