To read the texts click on the texts: Num 21:4-9; Jn 8:21-30
words which begin today’s text continue the theme of Jesus’ departure begun in
8:14. Here, it is his death, resurrection and ascension which will be the
focus. Though God has revealed himself in Jesus, the Jewish leaders have
refused to recognize him. This is the sin in which they will die. When Jesus
speaks of his departure, he is misunderstood. The Jewish leaders think of
suicide, but Jesus speaks of laying down his life of his own accord for the
salvation of all. The reason why they misunderstand is because they and Jesus
stand on opposite sides. They are from below and of this world, Jesus is from
above and not of this world. If they want to change their position, they can
only do so by recognizing in Jesus, God. The leaders are not able to do this
and show that they have completely misunderstood Jesus in the question they
ask. Jesus affirms that he has told them from the beginning who he is. He is
the one sent by God and it is God who affirms and confirms him.
they “lift up” Jesus on the Cross (which can also be translated as “exalt” and
so mean resurrection and ascension) then they will recognize him. This
statement of being “lifted up” or “exalted’ is the second of the three such
statements in the Gospel of John. The first appears in 3:14 and the third in
12:32-34. In these two cases because of the use of the passive voice, the
suggestion is that God will do the exalting. It is only here that the
responsibility for the “lifting up” is thrust on the people. Thus, even as they
crucify him, they will also exalt him and in this act recognize him as the one
who is. Even when on the cross Jesus will not be alone because the Father will
be with him.
words touch the hearts of many who hear him and they come to believe.
coming into the world was not primarily to die but to save. Yet, if this
salvation could only be achieved through his death on a cross, then so be it.
Jesus was willing for it if this was to be the only way. He was also aware that
because of his faith, trust and confidence in the Father that his crucifixion
or being lifted up on the cross would also be his resurrection and ascension,
his being exalted. Even as he is crucified, the very ones who crucify him
realize that what they have done is nailed love incarnate to the cross. This
love accepts, forgives and continues to love even from the cross.