Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm Gonna Lift You Up


John 12:32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."

For some reason I hear this verse quoted quite a bit lately. Usually the "lifted up" seems to be taken as referring to praising Jesus or something like that. The following song is just one example:

Gonna Lift You Up
Jonathan Butler
You said if you be lifted, You’d draw all men to you
You said if you be lifted, You’d draw all men to you
So draw me, draw me closer
So draw me
Draw me closer to you
I’m gonna lift you higher, higher….
Gonna lift you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna lift you up And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna lift you up
You said if you be lifted, You’d draw all men to you
You said if you be lifted, You’d draw all men to you
So draw me, draw me closer
So draw me
Draw me closer to you
I’m gonna lift higher, higher….
Gonna lift you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna lift you up
And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna lift you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna lift you up
And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna lift you up
Gonna lift my hands
Gonna lift my voice
I’m gonna lift my worship to you
I’m gonna lift my hands and give you praise
Gonna lift you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna lift you up
And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna lift you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna lift you up
And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna lift you up
I’m gonna lift you up
I’m gonna lift you up

But is this what the passage is really about? What if we just look at the very next verse?

John 12:32-33 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

John says that the lifting up referred to Christ's crucifixion. What happens if we insert John's explanation into the song?

You said if you be lifted, You’d draw all men to you
You said if you be lifted, You’d draw all men to you
So draw me, draw me closer
So draw me
Draw me closer to you
I’m gonna crucify you higher, higher….
Gonna crucify you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna crucify you up And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna crucify you up
You said if you be lifted, You’d draw all men to you
You said if you be lifted, You’d draw all men to you
So draw me, draw me closer
So draw me
Draw me closer to you
I’m gonna crucify you higher, higher….
Gonna crucify you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna crucify you up
And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna crucify you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna crucify you up
And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna crucify you up
Gonna lift my hands
Gonna lift my voice
I’m gonna lift my worship to you
I’m gonna lift my hands and give you praise
Gonna crucify you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna crucify you up
And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna crucify you up
Oh Lord, I’m gonna crucify you up
And I’m never gonna stop
Oh with everything I’ve got…
I’m gonna crucify you up
I’m gonna crucify you up
I’m gonna crucify you up

I wonder if this version would ever make it on the jumbo tron screen. This song and other statements I've heard made on the same text make a gigantic mistake. We certainly did crucify Christ but crucifying God is nothing to be proud of. What Jesus said was all about what He was going to do for us and how He was going to do it. It was not intended as a principle for daily living. If it were a principle for daily living or an evangelism program, you better ditch the guitar and drums and pick up a hammer and nails.

3 comments:

Seth said...

The death of Jesus is insignificant without the resurrection of the Christ. Only in triumphing over death is there salvation for "all men" that he speaks of. Even the Greeks mentioned in verse 20 participated in Judaism, but were outsiders to God's chosen people. Through His resurrection, all men are able to go to the Father and have a relationship with Him that is only possible by grace.
Therefore, as Jesus was talking of his crucifixion most obviously, it also seems that he was talking of the power and result of his resurrection.

Seth said...

Also, in relation to the song, Moses first lifted up God as Jehovah Nissi, and we should continue to do so. The writer of the song, was certainly inspired divinely as there may not be a literal reference to what he is trying to express in the song.

Chuck Wiese said...

Seth:

I am confident that Jesus is able to say what He means and that John understood. Jesus was talking about His crucifixion and that's what John said He was talking about. The resurrection was proof that Christ accomplished salvation for us and points us to our own resurrection that will happen when Christ returns but Paul said that Christ-crucified is the central message of all preaching.

In the battle against the Amalekites, Moses held up his hands making the sign of the cross but he was unable to do this on his own. Because Moses could never save anyone. After the battle Moses built an altar and named it Jehovah Nissi (the Lord is my banner). When Moses built the altar he was not singing any song saying "I'm going to build you an altar and lift you up." He was building the altar to acknowledge his own inability to do anything.

I don't see how the writer of the song must be divinely inspired just because there is not a "literal reference to what he is trying to express in the song." I could come up with all kinds of crazy ideas about God and Jesus and the fact that these ideas are not found in Scripture would not mean I am divinely inspired. Certainly Muslims and Mormons and all kinds of various groups have all kinds of ideas about who God is but that doesn't mean that they are divinely inspired. In fact we can know with certainty that the author of this song was not inspired by the Holy Spirit because Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is always telling us about Jesus and what He did. But this song is all about us and what we are going to do.