04 April 2017

"...if I be lifted up..."


We find in the teaching of the apostles a great stress upon the death of Christ. The greatest blessings and highest gifts are always connected with His suffering and with the shedding of His blood. Over and over throughout Scripture, we read of forgiveness, of redemption, of healing, of cleansing, of sanctification, of atonement, all won for us, how? By the death of Christ. It all comes to us through that great fact of history, that he was “lifted up” upon the Cross, and there He died – and He has left us the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, which gives us immediate and daily access to all His saving work.

Here is the point that Christ makes: that when He is lifted up upon the Cross, it is the Atonement which He accomplishes. “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto myself...” He says. The great gulf is bridged, and mankind is once more made “at one” with God, just as we were before the Fall of our first parents, Adam and Eve, and the gates of heaven are opened to us. It is all made possible through the lifting up of Christ, and His death upon the Cross. He was lifted up upon the Cross, so that we can be lifted up to heaven. He was broken so that we can be made whole. The only lesson we need to learn is to be learned at the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ – that even though we are sinful and fall short of the glory of God, in spite of it all, God loves us with that yearning, passionate love which led Him to give Himself to be lifted up for us. Our hearts cannot help but be broken open to receive that Love which knows no rest and which never tires until it has found us, and has brought us to our true home in Christ’s kingdom.