Jul 21, 2010

John 12:32-33 - William Styles

John 12:32-33, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all (men) unto me. This He said signifying what death He should die. Quoted to prove that Jesus, since His death and resurrection has, by the Spirit, endeavoured to induce all men to give their hearts to Him, though many that are thus drawn, refuse His grace and are lost.

The verse, however, must be forced to bear this meaning. For (1) The word here rendered “draw” is used in John 6:44, 18:10, 21:6 & 11; and Acts 16:19: and it is evident from the passages that it cannot mean “attempt or endeavour to draw,” but must be understood in the absolute sense of inducing by means that cannot fail. To whom the “all” refers, may be questioned, but it is beyond dispute that these persons, whoever they prove to be, should and would be drawn to Himself. He speaks of what would infallibly occur. 2. The persons referred to “all” (not men). Three interpretations are possible. (1). That Jesus would save the whole human race. For this none but Universalists would contend, nor need we here refute it. (2). That the “all” refers to the people that were given to Christ by covenant before time was, and that the verse teaches the gathering of the elect to Him as their Saviour and Head after His uplifting on the cross as their Saviour. This is the view of Dr. Gill. (3). That the word “all” is used in an anti-national sense (see remarks on the word “world” on pages 50 and 51) and refers like the same time in 1 Tim. 2:4 and 6 (see pages 52 and 118) to men of all nations, in contradistinction to the one nation favoured by the Jewish covenant. This suits the scope of St. John’s Gospel as a whole, and especially the immediate context. Some Greeks, who were at Jerusalem to attend the Feast, applied to Philip for an introduction to Jesus, from whose lips they doubtless received the counsels desired. The incident brought to His mind the nearness of His death, through which His salvation would be brought to the world at large; for “if lifted up,” by the death of the cross He would be rewarded by seeing men the wide world over, and while Time should last, drawn unto Him. (Compare John 11:51-52.) See “The Life and Words of Christ,” by Cunningham Geikie, vol. 2, pages 434-437.

The thought that Jesus seeks by His Spirit to induce all men to be pious is entirely foreign to the passage.

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