And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Today is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. I think Raymond Brown in his concise commentary on John captures the gist of the message of this portion of the gospel reading in two sentences:
By twofold meaning the word “lift up” refers both to being lifted up on the cross and being lifted up in to heaven. In Jesus’ return to his father the cross is the first step on the ladder of the ascension.
And, now God has highly exalted him as the reading from Philippians says. And, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Let us bend the knee to Christ today and imitate his example that through humbling ourselves, we too may experience his grace (James 4.6).