JOHN xii. 32. “And I, if I be lifted up from the
earth, will draw all men unto Me.”
IF these words had stood alone in the Gospel, it would
have been natural to understand them as referring to our
Lord’s ascension. But St. John adds: “This He said,
signifying what death He should die.”
In St. John’s eyes the cross is not a scaffold, it is a
throne; and Christ’s death is not His defeat, but His
victory. Lifted up on that throne of victory, He will exert
a world-embracing attraction.
I. Let us ask, wherein consists the attractive power of
the crucifixion of Jesus?
1. The moral beauty, the moral strength of self-sacrifice
draws men in reverence to Him. Sacrifice is attractive
because it requires a moral effort of the highest kind, and
because of its verity, and again because of its fertilizing
power. To witness sacrifice is of itself to breathe a bracing
2. The prevalence of suffering in human life, attracts
men to Jesus crucified. Pain is the inseparable attribute
of human life. It comes to all of us sooner or later. And
we need the present sympathy of a human heart which
can whisper, “I too have suffered, I can feel for you.”
3. The deep sense of sin in the conscience of humanity
attracts to Jesus crucified. The common custom of sacri-
fices diffused among races the most diverse, expresses a
truth recognised instinctively by man—the sense of sin-
II. We have here the one real principle of unity in the
human family. How various are the interests of human
life, how divergent its aims, how deep its divisions! And
in religion what divisions exist! The will of the Divine
Saviour is, “That they all may be one.” The Cross was
the focus of the spiritual world, by which Jew and Gentile,
heaven and earth, would for ever be reconciled, drawn
together by the force of a transcendent love. They who
own the power of that Supreme attraction must needs,
as the blood of sprinkling drops upon them from the
wounded hands of love, endeavour to secure unity of the
spirit in the bond of peace.
III. If men are to be united to each other by attraction
to a common centre, they must be drawn one by one.
The problem of life is simplified for time and eternity,
when a soul determines to know in thought, feeling and
practice, only Jesus Christ and Him crucified!
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.