Lift Jesus Higher
None of us here have lived under the rule of a King, right? We don’t have a king in the USA, we have a president. In fact, it was George Washington who first stepped down from the presidency to encourage our young nation to never go the route of a monarchy. However, we do know how having a king works.
The king is the central seat of power and authority. Because of the authority of the king he must be protected at all costs. Consider the game of chess, right? Number one rule, protect the king; because if the king falls all is lost and the game is over. Another notable example comes from the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill desperately wanted to join the expeditionary forces and watch the invasion from the bridge of a battleship in the English Channel. U.S. General Dwight David Eisenhower was desperate to stop him, for fear that the Prime Minister might be killed in battle. When it became apparent that Churchill would not be dissuaded, Eisenhower appealed to a higher authority: King George VI. The king went and told Churchill that if it was the Prime Minister's duty to witness the invasion, he could only conclude that it was also his own duty as king to join him on the battleship. At this point Churchill reluctantly agreed to back down, for he knew that he could never expose the King of England to such danger.
King Jesus did exactly the opposite. With royal courage he surrendered his body to be crucified. On the cross he offered a king's ransom: his life for the life of his people. He would die for all the wrong things that we had ever done and would do, completely atoning for all our sins. The crown of thorns that was meant to make a mockery of his royal claims actually proclaimed his kingly dignity, even in death.
However, this is completely upside down in the case of Jesus, as he tells us in this passage. We could unpack a bunch of different statements in the passage today, but I want to focus in on 2 things that Jesus said, specifically.
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit
Let’s remember something, friends. It was not Jesus’ life that saved you- it was his death and resurrection. What Jesus reminds his followers of here is that his life would bear so much more fruit once it was given up.
Let’s play this out for a moment, let’s say Jesus does not die on the cross. Still is born of a virgin and lives a holy life, but never goes to Calvary. Could he have changed some people’s lives? Of course! If Jesus never dies on the cross then he is a nice guy, a good teacher, maybe helps people be “better” but he actually rescues no one from the pits of hell.
What makes Jesus’ life exponentially more great is HIS DEATH!
His death is what bears the fruit!
And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
Now, we need to understand context here, because what Jesus is saying in this verse is a little different than what we sing when we sing “Lift Jesus Higher”
When we sing lift Jesus higher we are talking about raise the roof Jesus- like higher than everything else.
Jesus meant lifted up like the cross raised up from the ground.
Jesus’ glory is seen in Jesus’ humiliation