So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him.” (John 8:28-30)
In today’s text Jesus demonstrates His omniscience, or His attribute of all-knowledge. As God, this should not surprise us. When He says, ““When you have lifted up the Son of Man,” He not only indicates how He will die, crucifixion corresponds to the phrase “when you have lifted up”, but who will be responsible for His death: the religious leaders.
Dr. R. c. Sproul writes, “This lifting up refers to the Savior’s death by crucifixion, which in John’s gospel is part of our Lord’s exaltation. On the cross, Jesus is seen for who He is, the God-man who suffered as a man for the sins of His people and to whom we owe all glory and honor.”
It will only be after the scribes, chief priests and Pharisees accomplish this God ordained act that they will ultimately realize what they have done. They will be brought to the terrifying understanding and realization that the One who they crucified is the One they should have worshiped.
For many of the religious leaders to whom Jesus spoke, they would die without Christ. However, today’s text reveals that when Jesus concluded speaking, “many believed in Him.” While a broad interpretation could mean that the “many” included all types of people, the narrow view would regard the “many” as many of the religious leaders. I tend to view the latter possibility as the most accurate to the text. One commentator writes, “Many Jews believed on Christ after his death and ascension, realizing that the One whom they rejected was truly the Messiah (Acts 2:36, 37, 41).
The application to us is that we should never give up our attempts to share the Gospel with people who have rejected our previous efforts. It is easy to become frustrated and to simply give up on those who have spurned Jesus in the past. Instead, rest in the sovereign grace of God who knows those who are His. He may use your and my efforts to bring about the salvation of souls for His glory.
Soli deo Gloria!