“But I, when I am lifted up, will draw all men to myself.” (John 12:32)
With Easter coming up this weekend, and lots of good eating ahead, I thought that this week it would not be a bad thing to pay it forward by getting over to the gym in Aldeen. So last night as I walked in and began to mix it up with a short dozen of Trinity students training away with the weights, it struck me that there were almost as many nations represented in the room as there were individuals, not to mention four continents.
That’s one of the great things about Trinity, its God-given knack for drawing men and women from all over the world. It’s a marvelous thing. But how does this happen?
In John 12, some Greeks (i.e. Gentiles) are expressing a desire to see Jesus. They first approach Philip, who in turn brings Andrew in on this, and together they inform Jesus. Then Jesus, in a seeming non-sequitur, launches into a discourse about the hour in which the Son of Man would be glorified. How would this glorification take place? Well, through the lifting up of Jesus the Son of Man. When Jesus talks about his being lifted up, the evangelist tells us that he was indicating his impending fate – his calling to be nailed to a Roman cross for our sins. While the first-century world believed that there was nothing more shameful than being crucified on a Roman cross, Jesus knew that the cross would mark the high point of his revealed glory. At the same time, Jesus would also be lifted up in another sense – through his resurrection. That too would be a glorious moment, preparing Jesus to enter into the glorious presence of the Father.
“When I am lifted up,” Jesus tells us, “I will draw all manner of men and women to myself.” How true this has proven to be! Over the course of church history, wherever the crucified and risen Lord has been faithfully preached, he has faithfully drawn people – from all over the world – to himself. Today, our crucified and risen Lord remains in the business of drawing people from every corner of the earth. When I marvel at the international diversity of our Trinity student body, truth is, I am really marveling at the drawing power of the cross and empty tomb.
As we prepare for this Easter weekend, my prayer for our Trinity students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors, is that we would all feed our souls on the powerful truth that Jesus has been lifted up twice (once on the cross and then again to the skies) on our behalf. And as we see Jesus high and lifted up, even this Easter weekend, he promises to draw us to himself. Meanwhile, my ongoing promise to you as Trinity’s president, is that I will continue to do everything within my power to ensure that Trinity remains a place where, in our lives and in our doctrine, the crucified and risen Jesus is lifted up far above all else. May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to be lifted up on this campus so that we might continue to bring men and women, training with the weight of glory, from every corner of the world.
He is risen!
Nicholas Perrin, PhD
Trinity International University