32And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This he said, signifying by what death He would die. (Jn. 12:32-33)
Jesus’ statement in John 12:32 about that He will draw all men unto Himself, once He had been lifted up, has been misunderstood to mean that if we only have a worship or prayer meeting, and lift up Jesus in praise and worship, He will come down, save, and draw people to Himself.
However, that is not at all what Jesus was talking about. I am glad that the Apostle John explains exactly what Jesus meant, so that there would be no room for misunderstanding.
In the following verse, verse 33 in John chapter 12, John says: “This he said, signifying by what death He Would die”. When Jesus talked about that He would draw all men unto Himself when He was lifted up, He was talking about His own death on the cross – not our prayer or worship services.
Don’t get me wrong. Prayer and worship services are important. To lift up Jesus in praise and worship is very important, but that alone will definitely not draw all men unto God. That job has already been accomplished by Jesus.
“For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe” (1 Tim. 4:10).
The Gospel, the good news, is that when Jesus died on the cross, God reconciled the world to Himself. When Jesus was lifted up on the cross, when he died for the sins of the world, all men were drawn to God. God is not holding people’s sins against them. He sees the world through the lens of the cross and the finished work of Jesus. All men, tribes, and peoples have already been drawn to God. The way to God is open for everyone who believes in Jesus. Whether we hold prayer or worship services or not, will not change this fact!
I love prayer meetings and I have been a praise and worship leader for more than 15 years. We fool ourselves, however, if we believe that people will get saved, or “drawn to God”, if we lock ourselves up in our churches and only have prayer meetings and worship services. Jesus said, “GO OUT and preach the Gospel!”
In the book of Acts, we find the pattern that the believers, in times of persecution and resistance, gathered and prayed so that they could get the strength and boldness to go out and preach. When they went out and shared the Gospel, God confirmed the word with signs, miracles, and wonders.
A lifestyle of prayer and worship is essential for the believer. Only when we have a vibrant relationship with Jesus, can we represent Him well. However, that alone will not get people saved, or “draw them to God”.
All people have already been drawn to God, because of the cross. But the problem is that most people in the world don’t know about this. And that’s why God has given us believers the very important assignment to proclaim to the world what Jesus has done. Whenever people believe the good news, they are saved and receive eternal life.
Instead of locking ourselves up in our churches, hoping that our internal meetings will draw people to God, we should pray for opportunities to share the Gospel with others, and then go out. Only then will people get saved, and only then will we experience what we spend most of the time in our prayer meetings asking God for – revival.