“And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.”
John 12:32 (NAB)
As usual, Jesus’ words contain more than a single meaning. When He referred to Himself as being lifted up, He was hinting about the type of impending death He would suffer, through crucifixion.
Being lifted up can also refer to other things, like lifting Him up in our family priorities, our conversations, our individual lives of faith, or even placing the symbol of His cross on the top of a building to ask God’s blessing upon it.
The first attached photo was taken when the cross was placed on top of Lutheran General hospital in 1959, when it first came to Park Ridge, Illinois. The second photo was taken on my way to work last week.
The cross, that lights up each night sky, has been standing on top of that hospital, going on seven decades.
There have been many changes of corporate leadership over those years, and not all the policies and decisions have been beneficial ones, but good men and women have cared for thousands of patients, who each have a story of healing from their time spent in the hospital with the lighted cross standing on top of it’s roof. Commercial airline pilots have shared testimonies of how that cross has been a lighted landmark and beacon that safely guided them to O’Hare airport in dark, stormy nights.
It reminds me that we are all human beings, who have ups and downs, virtues and vices, joys and sorrows. We all make good and bad decisions throughout our lives. There is an invisible cross standing tall over each one of us, which represents the grace of God through Jesus. That grace will also guide us through the stormy nights in our lives.
We are all a people set apart, marked and sealed by the Holy Spirit. God seems to always put His mark on people. The Hebrew people were instructed to put the blood of a lamb on their doorposts, so that it would be seen as a mark or a seal of protection.
The blood painted on those doorposts could also resemble the shape of a cross. When the angel swept through Egypt that night, he passed over all those homes with blood on doorposts, saving the people, marked by the blood.
To some, the cross is a mere symbol, but for us who are sealed by it, the cross represents our faith in what Jesus accomplished, and not our own accomplishments. We are saved by the same grace as the Hebrews were, with blood on their doorposts.
Lord, we lift up your cross, which seals us as your people, and we thank you for your grace that saves us. We are honored to be forever marked by your cross and precious blood of Jesus. Amen