We are all very familiar with John 3:16; it is without doubt, one of the most quoted Bible verses ever, eclipsing even the one about judging ( really, it's about 'condemning'-Matthew 7: )! Jesus told His disciples that 'God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life', in other words, that whoever received Jesus as the Messiah would inherit the Promise of the Ages. This Promise, though it was given throughout the Scriptures, was most famously & succinctly iterated in Yahweh's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, 'I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you'. When the Holy Spirit instructed Joseph, through a dream, that they should call the Child Jesus, He was telling those that could understand that this Promise was finally being fulfilled, that Israel would stand again to be a blessing to the nations!
And I, when I am lifted up[g] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.
Jesus, when He promised to draw all people to Himself, was not just saying, as the majority of Christians seem to gladly accept, that upon biological death, His People would join Him in a place called Heaven, nor was He simply promising, as others latch onto, that all people, universally & individually speaking, would be drawn to Him eventually, ie., 'get saved'. He had told the Twelve 'Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel' ( Matthew 19:28 ) & though this was fulfilled in the first century, with the destruction of Jerusalem & the temple, which marked the end of an era, we, His disciples of the 21st century, as well as all between & beyond, still occupy those thrones, sitting as judges, ruling with Him!
The apostle Paul told his readers that our Heavenly Father 'has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ' ( Ephesians 1:3 ); with such we have been equipped with the necessary accoutrements for ruling with Him! We are, in that sense & having been baptized, like Him ( Romans 6:4 ( Mark 10:39 ), Anointed. As Jesus was the Christ to that 'world' ( cosmos ), so we, being His Body, are the Christ to our 'world'!
Many, I'm certain, have wondered how we will do 'greater things' than Jesus Himself; though we are not of the same Essence as the Creator of all, we have been blessed with His Spirit! It is the Spirit Within that enables us to do these 'greater things'. Jesus told & tells His disciples that 'Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all' ( Mark 9:35 ); this is how we do 'greater things', by serving others, as Jesus instructed His disciples earlier, 'the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many' ( Matthew 20:28 )!
Many likely picture Jesus on the Cross when He talked about being lifted up; this is not necessarily a wrong inference, but primarily signified His Ascension. Although it was His Oblation that removed the Veil, so to speak, between Heaven & Earth, it was His Ascension that brought us into 'the heavenly realms'. Now that the Master has ascended to where He was before, in Essence, One with the Father, the Servants are called to continue His Work on Earth, to do those 'greater things' that He promised In Essence, we are the Anointed One who was to come into 'the world' ( I Peter 1:10 ); we ARE the New Adam!
Charles Haddon Shank