J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 6.)
After this our Lord enters on a new character quite; what He was, being faithful unto death (v. 1) as He had been in witness (chap. 12:49, 50), after His ascension; that is, as out of the earth for His people, who did own Him as in it. He was come "that I might save the world." We shall see this in what follows. His death was the medial point. It ended the world, as it were, in judgment in death, but it opened as the propitiation to it the way to the Father, a door for it, door of reconciliation. There was no worse sin against the world, for it was summed up in Him, all. There was all sin upon it, as in His death, so that it could come only in a new and living way of sovereign mercy by His resurrection. It was in the love to His own which were in it that He went through its rejection, so to speak, unconcerned. The former was an act done for them, in which they had no part as regarded Christ; in the latter they were on Christ's heart, so in the act as that He loved them and gave Himself for them. But this merely by the by.
212 It appears also that the temptations of our Lord; that is, His exposure to the trial and power of Satan, followed the two great branches of His life in which the Father's glory was thus manifested. The first, after which the devil departed from Him for a season, applied itself to cause to fail the righteous life of the living Man, in which He was conversant as Son of God in obedience and acknowledgment of the supremacy of God: "Thou shalt worship Jehovah thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." He was a Jew recognising Jehovah righteously, the Son of God.
We may remark that in the first two temptations (I call them the first two, following the order of their occurrence as facts in Matthew) the proposal to the Lord is as Son of God: "If thou be, command, or cast." But the Lord acts simply in obedience, the place of the living Man, not raising His Sonship or His power (which would have shown a wrong spirit) but taking the holy line of obedience which, worthy [of], yea exalting the Son, was the clear and only righteous path of the Man in which He then stood, and thus baffled Satan. Having therefore overcome him thus in the character of the obedient Man, the Son of God, and vindicated this character and place exactly where Adam had failed, and dishonoured God, as He now honoured Him, the Lord then exercised His power as Son of God in this character, exhibited in the course of His life and walk through the world. The devil, the tempter or accuser, departed from Him for a season. He exercised His power over Satan or the adversary, recognised as what he was, and subdued.
In our Lord's subsequent temptation we see Him in a deeper and fuller trial; one in which He not only overcame Satan as one who sought to lead the living Man out of obedience in the world, and make himself the god of it, but in which He through death (to which obedience was needful, if he should be overcome, because he had got the title of death by the truth of God's word as the necessary result of evil, to which for His disciples' sake He had subjected Himself) in which through death He overcame him that had the power of death. He spoiled principalities and powers. He exhibited resurrection power by being or being subject to death. This then was not victory in resistance, personal (that had been perfectly in the former conflict, and through all His life; the prince of this world could find nothing in Him), but subjection (and note therefore necessarily substitutory, or done for others, obedience to their necessity), in which, while He overcame death, Satan, and put away sin, as standing as the one Man with God, He did it withal with purpose of grace, to wit, His Church, for He "loved the Church, and gave himself for it."
213 The act was perfect, so that there was now no abstract barrier, and all are doubly without excuse. The act was effectual; for He had no need of it for Himself, and He gave Himself effectually for the Church: and in that sense He was the sinner; His sins and iniquities went over His head, a sore burden, and too many for Him to bear; and the Great Shepherd of the sheep offering Himself without spot to God was brought again from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant; for He was identified with the sins of His people.
But the act of our Lord, looked at in His personal act and trial, was meeting Satan for the vindication of this new character, otherwise alone, "abiding alone," for all were dead and under the power and liability to death; and meeting Satan in the power of death, Satan being overcome herein, He rose in the power, and His Father was glorified in the Son; that is, in the name of the Father in resurrection life. It is this name which is declared to the brethren therefore in Psalm 22, which hangs on this truth in all its bearings. Into this point the apostle of the Lord now conducts us: Christ after resurrection through death. His testimony had closed.
"Before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world," where He had glorified the Father, "to the Father," the point in which He stood was this: "Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end." That end was death, or closed in death; for it is the utterness of His love in its exercise, its trial, He here speaks of, not its continuity as God; though both go together. His going to the Father was come, for He was rejected. Man had proved reprobate, knew Him not, its Lord and God, or rejected Him. Was He to go simply away? He might; and boundless love had been shown, and God justified, but not satisfied. There were an "own" in the world whom He had found. (He bought the world for the sake of the Church, selling all that He had to buy that field with the treasure hidden in it.) He had found them, and loved them, and proved now how truly.
214 His time to go was come; but He loved His own to the end. He went by the obedience to death, or the Corn of good wheat must have remained alone. Twelve legions of angels He might have had; but not so His purpose. Accordingly, when His time to go was come, He saying, indeed said, "I love my Master," for He had become obedient to God His Father; "I love my wife," the bride; "I love my children"; and His ear, the symbol of obedience, was nailed to the door-post. Yea, He free, oh, wondrous word! the ELOHIM, and He became a Servant for ever. Oh, wondrous word of love to His Church, marvel of grace unto the end! Thus Christ, passing into glory, became a Servant to the Church for ever; in death thus, for the sake of His Master, nailing His very ear to the post; on high the Washer of their feet, as we shall see; coming forth in glory the girded Servant of His people; Luke 12:37. For the Father loved the children, and He was become the Servant of the Father (for their sakes also, for He loved them). Instead therefore of going out free, "He loved them unto the end."
This is the great principle shown in His death. Then it is led out into the service which He executed for them risen. This then was the Church ministration of grace: He washed; we should wash one another's [feet]. Here then comes in a most important point. Judas was there. The heart, sin, was there; and the Lord knew them that were His (v. 13). But the Church is not cognizant in this ministration of grace of unmanifested sin: "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity," the Church's seal. Accordingly the Lord so acted, for He was now exercising the ministration of Church grace. But there was that which drew out into action, delivering (by the ministration even of grace) up to Satan; and Judas was separated from amongst them in the rest: "Then entered" (v. 27).
This is a most exceedingly important and plain instruction. We have the great fact: He loved His own unto the end; then there is divinely revealed to us the fact that, the ministration of supper going on, the occasion of discipline and the time for the external ministration of grace, this feet-washing, taking place. The devil had cast (the seed) into the heart of Judas Iscariot that he should betray Him. The Church has no cognizance of this; for Christ (though the divine Spirit reveals the fact), did not act in cognizance of this, for He acted in order. And so, though we may see it, we have to act; for we could not act else upon conscience of ourselves before God, or of others, but from divine knowledge; that is, in principle, which is not the thing manifested in the Church, but its character, and show we, we cannot act (as we see in our Lord's temptation, subjecting Himself to it for our sakes) till we can say "Satan"; previously merely on obedience, or as on grace, till it be manifested by the act of the person, provided there be a calling, and Scripture to act upon. How humbling, how (if He had not been perfect, as He was) trying to the Lord to wash Judas' feet, knowing what was coming about! Not however in its development, till expecting in His spirit, His conviction, He acting on the divine mind, did the act (not in enmity, but in grace) which brought the revelation of purpose in him that was led of Satan.
215 While it merely remained the devil, and he had put it into the heart, as he had without tempted our Lord, our Lord dealt with Judas (the disciple) as with the rest externally. In His sufferings he was not with Him. This is most instructive. "When I would have healed Ephraim, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered."
I know not whether I have hitherto noticed the (I believe) uniform distinction between the undiscovered accuser or tempter diabolos, devil, and the known adversary, Satan. The last we can act on openly in denouncement, the former avoid or detect by obedience, and resist. See how (Rev. 12:11); and see the temptation. If we know Satan in conversation we are always entitled, that is, can say, Get thee hence; otherwise overcome him unknown, as the Lord, by obedience as a Servant; so we, as here noted. And we find this agency of the tempter of the Church and enemy opened out here in the exercise towards any disciple also as met by the great High Priest, who acts in His office, the result of which is always to discern the offender. We must still act in the way of obedience, for it is in the way of love. The intercession draws in God, the Lord's Spirit, into the midst, or to act in behalf of His Church, and the result is the putting out of the offender. For the drawing God into the closeness of the association, by the Church's intercession and acting in grace, necessarily brings, so to speak, God into the discovery of that which is inconsistent, with which He cannot bear, in this association, and He is forced to act in discipline and towards His Church in this behalf, by throwing that which is hidden into such positive agency as enables the Church to remove it, giving the ground of obedience, or in the exercise of power delivering the offender by the power of Satan into the position which is manifest, Satan, an adversary; we have obedience and spirituality, or rather spirituality and obedience.
216 Now, this was the case here. Obedience, if it is simple, is omnipotence in the sense that it puts into the place in which God is acting. God is acting in it, though we may know nothing, and thus it is unseen. Satan is overcome. For indeed "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in the heavenlies." But while this is fully developed here, which we have by no means followed out in commenting on it, let us turn to its effectual ministration in the Church: "He loved his own which were in the world."
The just source and order of dealing with unseen evil being noticed, we pass on in the Word to the blessing to the Lord's ministrations, blessed, servant-like, whose glory was to be humbled ministrations. The structure of the sentence is as follows: "Jesus knowing that," that His hour was come to go to the Father, would not (as we have seen) go out free, but "having loved his own which [were] in the world, loved them to the end . . . Jesus knowing that the Father had given him all things . . . rises from supper," etc., left the personal association with them (not eating again till, etc.) and began His service of washing. That applied in power to "His own"; this exercised towards the undiscovered sinner (or instrument of Satan).
I am deeply persuaded that all hence ought in Church order to be treated as a moral fault (see elsewhere). In the former of these then they (Judas) had no part, though that of course was nothing apparent; in the latter he had ostensibly, because ostensibly a disciple. But this supposes the Church to hold the ground of calling; otherwise any question of God's choosing cannot come in. And this implies faith, order, and discipline, and the presence of the Spirit, the Holy Ghost.
217 Note further (which is our trial), the Church always acts here as under the presence of the traitor; or the agency, efficiency, of the intercessor would be to that extent immaterial. But Christ in this ministers this His intercession; and we have now to see what the efficiency and operation of this intercession is; one, that is, the love, was knowing as to His departure; this was knowing that all things were given into His hands of the Father, and that He came from God, and went to God.
These are the two great points of His ministerial glory. One was the conferred glory in office; the other was the character and glory in respect of that with which He was identified, speaking here only of mission. The Father had given all things into His hand. As the Son, He was the Depositary of all power and glory in manifestation and title. Into Jesus' hands the Father had put it all. Again, He came from God. This is not merely the conferrence of authority, of all things into His hand, being the Son, but the manifestation in moral exhibition of God. He came from Him; not from man; not from anything else; but had simply come forth from God, abstractedly; and might therefore be a Witness to all things else, a Witness of God, as come from Him. An apostle, whatsoever his eminence, is by Jesus Christ. He is by nothing but from God, straight from Him, immediately witnessing in Himself. So, also, He went to God, the adequate Representative of the necessities of man, and capable, in the same unscathed holiness, of standing before Him as when He came forth from His presence (and who is He but God?), the marvel of the universe.
This great truth, then, that He came forth from God, and went to God, with the conferrence of all power on Him by the Father, as officially exhibiting and representing Him, form the great ground on which we meet Him as Mediator; that in which, being a Man, He stands in this wonderful position.
Let us take the statement simply as it stands. It was His mediatorial glory thus brought out, comprehensively stating the power of it. This glory was His. Then, not sitting down to the festival of peace, He with all this glory before Him, as Possessor of all this glory, makes Himself a Servant. There is necessity for His saints. He does not now feast at rest with them, as the Head of His guests, but rises, assumes another office, laying aside His garments, His garments of ease, as a Servant, and girds Himself with the cleansing office which they still needed in the world. The robe or garment of conviviality is laid aside, and He takes a towel, and girds Himself. Who else should have done it but He? This (though He knew that all things were delivered into His hand, and that, etc.) He did - it is universal power, and personal independence of the necessity - He did, because His saints needed it; because He loved them; because He had identified Himself with them; for the grace into which they were to be brought before and in the presence of the Father. Instead of taking this glory in manifestation and independency, He, knowing it His, assumes the office of washing the disciples' feet: "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word."
218 This, while it was the lowest service, was the most truly exalted in love, His glory as a Man; yea, His glory as God humbling Himself to behold. I believe there is something fully depicted by the Lord's doing it, as to manner, as follows; not only to behold, but having come into the midst of, to minister to in Person. When the High Priest went into the most holy place, he washed the flesh, and put on the holy garments. So even of Aaron and his sons (Exod. 30; Lev. 16, etc.). Jesus girded Himself, knowing all that was His, and washed His disciples' [feet]. When the woman washed our Lord's feet it was as unworthy to do aught else. The Lord in condescension takes the same office. She in humiliation, with her own tears. He with the competency of His own instrumentality. She wipes it with all she had, the hair of her head; a woman's portion, whatever her shame was; He as girt for service, which He had taken in the competency of His love. But we have to remark the identity of the instrument with which He was girt and that with which He wiped the disciples' feet. In the first place our Lord's girding to service was the ministry of love towards His people. That which kept Him still girt was the necessity of service. The anxiety, the ministration of service, the necessity of His people was that [which] girt His mind, set the Lord not at ease with His garments loose. His girdle was thorough identity with the position of His people. But more; I believe the rising from supper was the relinquishment of the position in which He was with His disciples. He was calling, or had them in to the supper, as it were. He was there, and He had called them in. Deipnou genomenou clearly, I think, means while it [the supper] was going on. Instead of going on with it He lays aside His garments, and girds Himself with the towel of cleansing to His people. That is, Jesus, while calling in to the supper, gives up His place at it, that He may minister to the necessities of those introduced, though all power was therein His, and all perfectness; but in seeing this in Him we see the portion of His people; that is, that they should be fitted and associated with Him in this power, and stand in the perfectness in which He came from and went to God, even the righteousness of God; but He, being in this, is girded to minister to them; also their character as sons: "that the Father had given all things into his hand." But the continued position of service in this, in identity girt with that service in the spirit of His mind, is that which we see here. In judgment His garment is down to His feet, because He exercises it in divine power. It is not service; though there is the perfectness of judgment in Revelation 1:13, a golden girdle instead of a breastplate. This then is the revelation we have of Christ in office, from His leaving the companionship of the disciples a little moment till His return.
219 Next, I remark there is no re-sprinkling of the blood. It cannot be done. There is no remedy if that be denied. But Christ ministers the Spirit in His Priesthood; and what we have to notice here is that, as in Numbers 19, the ashes of the heifer were to sprinkle. Even there [it] was the witness of the previous finishedness of the work, which the Spirit bears witness of to the mind. So it is the Spirit which applies the work of Christ in the first instance to faith. Jesus "hath washed us from our sins in his own blood." Bathed (leloumenos), we have not need to be so again. But there is the exercise of daily cleansing to the feet, cleansing from the effects of our conversation in this world. There we touch the earth, and this is necessary. If Jesus do not take away all defilement, it would not do. Those only whom He thus washes have part with Him. He cannot have feet even left soiled. But He does so for His people. We must bow to this office of Jesus. If He does not wash us, we have no part with Him. We have the sure evidence that it was a mystical action in verse 7. In the priests of old, they washed their hands and their feet; here feet only. It was not a system of doings, but conversation in the world. Walk still had to be taken cognizance of in grace. The emphasis is on "thou" in verses 6 and 7, and "I" also in verse 7: this the effectual ministration according to all the perfectness in which He came forth from and went to God; and in the love and for the power in which all things were given into His hand by the Father. He was a Servant withal in this perfectness in grace to secure them to be in it (compare chap. 17:24, 25), the daily ministrations of Christ (unless condemnation to those who are not washed in His blood).
220 Blessed truths from the lips of Him who was Truth, who spoke the words of God! Yet was He with us to wash our feet, to be the glorious, yet lowly, Servant of our necessities. The Lord resumed His seat. We notice, in passing, His assumption of His garments and rest.
Note, Aaron never wore, that I can see, his garments for beauty and glory but on the day of his consecration; nor was the rule of the most holy place and the day of atonement made till after, and upon the death of Nadab and Abihu. Then it is said (Lev. 16): "Speak to Aaron," etc.; and the manner is told, and Aaron went in with holy garments, and girt; for it is this part of the office he is the type of. And accordingly (though after the order of Melchisedec, after the power of an endless life) the whole typical instruction of the exercise of Christ's Priesthood now is from Aaron and his service. And all this is the day of atonement, while Aaron is within the veil. By faith we know Jesus crowned with glory and beauty; the same words which are used of Aaron's robes; and that He is set down there; that is, on the Father's throne. But withal He is still in the exercise of this office as Man in His clean white robes, holy garments. But here, note, it is the exercise of ministry towards the people in presence of the Father. He has the perfectness of the blood presenting within the veil. Here He ministers the witness and service of this perfectness to them.
This is the greatest humiliation of Jesus, to be occupied about sin; that is, the defilement of His people. But He does so. It is humiliation of heart, internal exercise. He must rise, and lay aside His garments. He has them all in glory; but here, as it were, He must be girt. He must wash their feet, though Teacher and Lord. We ought to do so. The need of the Church, the witness of its perfectness, our personal grace, and sympathy with, having unity of mind and heart with Jesus, is to be able to wait upon the sins of our brethren. How little we do it!
221 It is sad to think it is hard to wash one another's feet, defiled feet. If we loved our brethren as Jesus loved them we should. Little is it for us, but it is glory. The glory of love, too, enables us to be humbled, humble ourselves to be nothing; and in measure as we ascend to Jesus' spirit, and partake of it, we shall be able to minister. One that is high alone can make Himself low, because He is high. The height of love is to do the lowest service, to go to the uttermost depth. It is here is union with Jesus. Its reward, its glory, is not without. It is the spirit of intrinsic perfectness. In measure as we have His Spirit, as Man anointed, we (as in Him, and He in us) will do it. If we know these things, happy are we if we do them.
It is the only real service. It is what Christ wants and does about His sheep; loved if they do fail. Great glory is it, the very heart of union with Jesus, if we are permitted, enabled to do it, if Christ does it in us. But this can only be in real union with Him. Services may apply to others. This is Christ's work, and can properly be only in them in whom His Spirit dwells, by that Spirit. This is the very portion, the glory of the Church; but, oh! what shall we say of our state, this washing of one another's feet? Again, again I say, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Happy! It is the way of happiness. But the nearest to Christ in the form of the Church may be utterly far from this: "He that eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me."
This is the unintelligible thing: all sin in those whom Christ seems to have chosen seems to falsify the whole foundation, or witness of the foundation, of one's hopes. But the revelation of it by Christ beforehand only witnesses the rather that it is He, the Christ, the blessed One, the Son of God. We have the use of ap' arti, "from this present time," as heretofore. He had not told them before, or they could not have got on. They could not righteously have got on with Judas. It would not have been possible. But now the scene of this was closed. The Lord was about to go. Judas was about to be separated from them. He may tell them, with no want of charity in example; yea, in necessity for their sakes in righteousness and truth. How nicely timed the Lord's "From this present time"! He could not on any account have told it before, "before it comes to pass," or it would have seemed to their faith some imbecility, some fallibility in Him. But now the rather it showed His love, His patience, His glory, and every grace in Him most perfectly; more so as regarded ministry and trial than almost anything else of human things around Him.
222 Then is brought out a most important principle; and how simply perfect are the Lord's principles! Exercise of this feetwashing towards others Judas was incapable of. No interchange of spiritual service could he exercise or fulfil his part of. Had they then erred who had received him sent of Jesus? No! He had sent him for wise purposes, in the wisdom of God; chosen to send him. They that had received even him had received him, or those who had done so, as sent of Christ, and it was Christ really in purpose and honour they had received. As far as he was the messenger of Him they therefore were honoured in their act, whatever Judas was, if the Lord Christ chose to send him. This is a most blessed principle. Many a one may have erred in receiving people as sent of Christ who honoured Christ therein. I speak now as to the principle of their hearts, for I speak only as to the gracious consideration of the Lord. The statement of the Lord is, "He who receiveth whomsoever I send"; and here is the principle, "whomsoever I send"; no matter who, Christ is received. Judas was sent; Christ (how blessed to him who received Judas!) was received: "whomsoever I shall send." If Christ has sent any, howsoever poor or without other sanction, if sent of the Lord this is all we have to look to, we receive Christ. The point we have to look to is the sending of Christ; this being, if a person is not received, Christ is not received. The Lord's choice was not because Judas was this, but Judas was the appointed one for it; and that the Scripture might be fulfilled so it was done.
The acts of Christ, though the perfect wisdom of God, were not the arbitrary acts of a moment, but the ordained counsel of God; so that as a Man He could obey them, while His wisdom in them was divine. That "whomsoever I shall send," specially in the present confusion of the Church, is of vast moral importance, the key-stone of holy grace and destroyer of confusion in the Church. We receive the Sender in receiving the messenger. Let us keep this ever in mind. It is a "Verily, verily," of Christ's; and thereby we receive God even the Father, the Sender. See the simple glory of this verse, its dignity! But this, while it made perfect value to those who had received even Judas for His sake when He sent him, turned the Lord's mind immediately to him. The principle is simple, and to be taken in its utmost simplicity, for this is its force. But its occasion arose out of Judas; for our evil is constantly that which brings out the testimony and value of divine principles; indeed, ordinarily so. The principle turns on every side, subduing everything that does not submit itself to Christ, in whatever shape it comes.
223 But it involves here an awful result. The Church never fails from enmity from without. "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church," as men have spoken. It is betrayed from within, by those who have the form of service, those who dip their hand with Him in the dish. We are prepared for it. The Lord has warned us beforehand. But it is a solemn and awful truth, a truth which troubles Jesus in spirit; the consciousness ("these things saying") that it was one whom He sent, though sent in divine wisdom, who should betray Him.
It were well if all these sentences marked "Verily, verily" were collected. They are the expressions of the great principles which our Lord divulged. This was one of the great principles on which the Church hung: "One of you shall betray me." It was not only, I know who shall, I know Judas. This was not the point. One of you, you that are thus associated with Me; this was what troubled His spirit. Is Jesus, our blessed wronged (by us) Master, less grieved and troubled at evil and apostasy in the Church?
We see in this how Jesus felt things according to their character; as a Man, yet as God. (O God, to what days hast Thou brought us? Our comfort is that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, that there is resurrection if there is death; and His plans are not frustrated, though our evil be developed. And they are good days, exceeding good days, for the better glory of the Lord draweth nigh. He shall be glorified in all things.) But this is a great principle in the Church: "one of you." It fails from what it is associated with; never from what opposes it. Its glory would only be the more shown by this, and therefore when Jesus takes it into His own hands (and His strength is ours) it is so; and, as we have said, He is glorified at all events.
It was this that we find so pressing on the mind of our Lord, as in Psalms 109 and 41; and the principle of it is shown in Psalm 55. Though I do not think that it applies to Judas, but to the apostate Jews, and that including their connection with antichrist. But it has its vent in Judas in its first lines of character. See notes on Psalm 109. But the "these things saying" is of great force here, showing the connection when it had its rise in our Lord's mind. Oh! what a picture is this of the depths of the divine counsels, that the necessary principles of abstract righteousness, being wrought out in man, necessarily flow out into apostasy and the grief of Jesus, until Jesus Himself takes the power it is wrapped up in, the ordering of the perfectness of Jesus; for without this His glory (man being a sinner) would not have been brought out, not His patient glory, as here (for this was the deepest trial of all; an open enemy He could have borne); nor we have to humble ourselves and say (not His glorious, that is, manifested glory), we also, not as Judas, yet still betray His glory; yea, have turned our glory into a calf. The Church must fail, yea, the Lord knew it had in it from the beginning that which should make it fail. But the order nevertheless of our glory was therein, for if it had not, the glory could not have come in, any more than the death; speaking as ordered without Judas. Yet is it our evil. Jesus' spirit is troubled in it. But we remark that the consciousness of liability is the evidence of safety, the consciousness of no such intention (they looked one at the other), of none such in themselves or others. The sin of Judas was to the disciples an unknown sin, or they would have been partakers in it, if not acting on it; doubting, at a loss, concerning whom He spoke. Thus we find in their fellowship there was no known evil, or there would have been implication of guilt, even in the betrayal of the Lord Himself.
224 There are some in Jesus' bosom who have (learn), and from whom the most energetic have to learn, the secrets of the Lord. Oh! for the day when the Johns and the Peters shall be thus knit together in the common anxiety and interest for the Lord. For love has different characters, but the same object, and works together to the same result. Very different characters gives energy morally to all; to some in act, to some in holy zeal of patience. Peter founded in ministry; John watched over the declining Church; one in active love, the other in jealous love for the Lord. Both wrought in the same daily service. Protracted service will separate those who, in the impulse of the Spirit of Christ, have served with knit hearts while the work was one. There is but one place where we all meet (not of work, for Jesus did all the work), in which we are one, but rest in the fruits of that which He has given us portion.
225 Peter would know; he was eager to know. It is leaning on Jesus' breast alone we know these things. There we learn all things. He is not wont to keep back (for surely He dealeth as a friend) anything. From one thus leaning on His bosom He has no secrets, but He deals with us as friends. (Lord Jesus, give us grace to know Thy mind, know it because by affection and habit we are upon Thy bosom, as servants to do Thy will, so that Thou shouldest have reason to trust us with Thy secrets. May we know Thy mind; then shall we do it in blessed confidence for Thy Church, as friends with Thee.) And what brought John there, habits of affection for Jesus, lead us into such a place, not knowing what we shall receive there, but finding love (it was "the disciple whom Jesus loved"), and love finding its place, and in that place all the rest; but it was the habitual title of affection through grace placed John there. As he was before "reclining," so now "leaning" on Jesus' breast, pressed in his mind that he might extract the secret thence. (Lord, unworthy as we are, teach us, give us thus to be "leaning" upon Thy breast, thus to derive its secrets from it, now left hidden there, that we know not; even so, Lord, in love.)
It showed the uttermost evil, and how base a heart can be [of one] who has even seen Jesus outwardly, and the utter power of Satan over [a] heart not touched by grace with His love; that, to go just to betray that hand which had then given him the sop - but what will not the human heart do untouched by grace? "Am I a dog, that I should do this thing?" - a man will do also in power what he would not have thought of in weakness; for whatever lets loose the heart lets loose its evil, and the uttermost kindness does but draw it out where the evil is; that is, this form of evil, when Satan is working.
The greatest manifestation of kindness on the part of the Lord does but bring out enmity against Him. For whatever the outwardly amiable form of nature may be with which the heart may be clothed, the root, the moral root, of the heart thus fallen is enmity against God, and Satan works it to its point; and whatever manifests, brings the sense of, God near the heart, or would be the instrument of revealing Him in Jesus (Jesus, Himself the great instrument of God's revelation, He in whom He is revealed, or is God revealed) does but, in the instrument of the working of Satan, draw out of course its enmity against and according to (that is, in proportion to, so sad is evil) the revelation.
226 So here: after the sop Satan entered into Judas. The devil had already put it into his heart, and he had agreed with the chief priests. Now he proceeds to the deadly act. We have already noticed the distinction between his putting it into his heart and his entering in the energy of active power, overcoming scruples or difficulties, and the corruption of the heart in desire, and the like answerable work of the Spirit of God in us. But we cannot too diligently study the whole position of the Church here marked out in the presence of the adversary, the betrayer; the Spirit of God and the spirit of evil, as shown too within itself; the office and operation of Christ in meek patience concerning it, which, sorrowful as it is, is the part of the Church; the spirit of intercession and loving care; the hatred of evil; the thorough washing; the spirit of communion; the spirit of service; its learning the sorrows of the Lord's mind, and the manner of them; a sorrowful learning (for it is evil) by intimacy of communion, habitual grace of affection which finds its place near Him, "leaning on the breast of Jesus."
The Lord's holy and perfect (wise) grace, through all by which, in perfect patience in Him, evil assumes its proper place, so that (oh, that we might have this, have enough of the Spirit to act upon it!), so as that the saints have no difficulty; not acting on the spirit of evil (that borne in the patience of hope, in the practical exercise of charity), but the manifestation of evil fully brought out by it, though it ought to have done the opposite, till in opposition to the Lord it found its own place; and none could show one spot of want of charity which hastened its steps, but the contrary, or had distracted the minds of the saints with that which was not of God.
The holy spirit of fear, as all naturally liable to the same thing, which actuated the disciples, wondering of whom He spake, sure withal that He spake true, in conscious weakness; the whole position from beginning to end, till Satan carries into execution his own purpose, is a most blessed and wonderful picture of the Church in its trial.
But this 27th verse is a very awful word. Then comes the accomplishment of wickedness; therefore he was now given up to wickedness, and could be viewed in no other light by the disciples knowing it. But they knew it not as yet. They had no business with it, but with themselves. The Lord may carefully dip a sop in love, the act of love. It turns to gall in the heart of the unbeliever. Satan enters after it, and what then is the sop but the bitter aggravation of iniquity and evil? 4 But what a dreadful thought, "Satan entered into him"! Oh, how should we dread, not in distrust of the Lord, but ourselves, the deceivings of Satan! for as the Lord can have His saints by His power where Satan's seat is, so Satan can enter where the Lord is sitting at table; after (with) the sop He gives; where the heart is ripe to receive him; and, we must remember, in the sure and infallible care of the sheep, as we have even here; for none fell but Judas, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
227 Our natural man is (in itself) as liable to his deceits as the natural heart of the unbeliever; for it is the same. Thus pride is checked, and the believer's sin may be the opener too, if not humble, and conscious of his own weakness; as Peter thrice openly denied the Lord, adding after cursing and swearing about it, though preserved from the effects of it by pure grace. And in itself in mere justice surely it was as good cause for his being cast off as possible. But his faith failed not, for there was One that prayed for him; and the same grace restored him.
But here Satan had entered in, and the word was only, "What thou doest, do quickly." What a difference! And the character of the act answered to the agent. It was not perfectly evil, as that was (in itself), the failure of the natural evil man under the sifting of Satan, but the active agency of the leading of Satan against Him in His weakness; not the denial that he knew Him, but the betrayal of Him whom he knew, the alliance with the enemies, the acting under the influence of evil immediately against the Son of God as Man, in the point, yet blind led, in which the heart of a believer would most have gone with Him.
How little did the disciples enter into the sufferings, the sorrow, of the Lord, of the Son of Man. No man knew, even of those at the table with Him, what it was of which He spake. There are certain sorrows kept for the secret of the Lord's heart, whose secret is perhaps their sorrow. If He had any to sympathise with Him, His betrayal would have been in this sense easy. There would have been some faithful hearts, a veil over the apostasy of the other. But He was alone in it. None understood what it was. They thought it was to buy something, or give to the poor; but there was something more than ignorance in this wrong estimate, from the heart being occupied with other things than that which the Lord's heart necessarily was. The Lord had just said, "One of you," etc., and told John that it was he to whom He gave the sop; and He gave it to Judas. Now, if their hearts had been engaged with this they would have immediately associated the word, "What thou doest, do quickly," with it.
228 The thoughts and judgment of men concerning all things flow chiefly from their previous associations and habit of feeling and mind. None but God can call them out of them in presenting Jesus. Wrong judgment flows always from wrong affections, or the imperfection arising out of it. God's judgment is that which He acts. The Lord also judged and felt from previous associations, so to speak, and they were all heavenly, though now human.
When he went out, which he did, receiving the sop, the Lord said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified," etc.; that in which the whole mystery of the purpose of God in Christ is developed, both in suffering and in glory, to wit, in these two verses: "Now"; for Jesus had now fully submitted Himself to the suffering, to the trial.
The point of submission was betrayal by His own disciples, one of them. (We in principle betray the Lord [by] every sin we commit.) And this sorrow bowed to, He had taken the cup into His hand. Mentally, as it were, the thing was passed. It was to be carried into execution, but Jesus had taken the step. He had submitted to the sorrow, redeeming sorrow, trusting His Father, to go through all. This was the trial of the Son of Man. In this He was glorified, and God in Him. He acquiesced, made up His mind to go through it. He might have gone free; but how should His Father, how should God, be glorified, the Scripture fulfilled that thus it must be? Here was the hingeing point: the desertion of those most trusted, and His Father alone trusted in, even through the trial, that trial in which was all trial, of our sin, even in the sight of God. Hence our Lord says, "All ye shall be offended because of me this night," "and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me" (Matt. 26:31; John 16:32).
229 It is evident that, when our Lord had given His mind to the subject, He speaks of the thing as done. When Judas had therefore gone out, and the stream of Satan's power was now let flow in the betrayal of one of His disciples, the Lord says, "Now has [or is] the Son of Man been glorified, and God is glorified in him." We learn from this that it is not the outward sufferings, though most true and significant (as apparent) to man of the others, but the moral submission to God which constituted the hinge of our Lord's standing in this work. It was not merely (moreover) that He bore the sins of the Church (as indeed He did), but there was a great abstract fact of the vindication of divine glory, independent of all consequences, and more important than all, and which presents itself first to the Saviour's mind, centring in His Person; yea, as it were circumscribed by it; but withal in the person of Man; so that, in the infinite riches and unspeakable manifestation of grace, as in man God had been permanently dishonoured, in Man (even in Jesus) He was to be glorified. And so was it needful for the perfect rescue of His glory without stint. And Jesus spoke here in this character: "Now is the Son of Man glorified," as only He could be in His Person.
Adam, man, the first Adam, as son of God, had utterly fallen and dishonoured God as far as any creature could, as we shall see. He who was Son of God as Son of Man, the assumer of the responsibilities of that race in Person, completely revindicated it to God as the representative of it; baffling Satan wholly, and overcoming him. Man as the son of God had been degraded, not merely by losing God as an effect of sin, but in losing Him his moral beauty was all spoiled. He had been degraded in disobedience by folly in not trusting God, and therefore deceived by Satan, and his weakness or ignorance shown, his impotency and foolishness; easy of deception, and unable to resist its effects, losing the blessings of God, who had crowned him with blessings, for the lie of Satan as to the apple. He had distrusted God, and believed Satan. He had been basely ungrateful to God, and given Satan credit for goodness, God for malevolence in keeping back the best thing from him. He had set up to assail herein the Majesty of God, and to be "as gods." There was distrust of God in all His goodness, belief in Satan in spite of God's word, and the height of presumption in seeking to be "as elohim"; and all this in the exhibition of his utter weakness and impotency, bringing judgment on himself in guilt (though this applies more fully afterwards); hiding himself from God, and then excusing himself by throwing the blame anywhere, but not in holy confession of sin. But how was God's power impaired in this His most favoured creature, companion creature, made in His own likeness, and everything put under his hand!
230 There are three things we have of God through knowledge of Him in Jesus, in whom alone we know Him: grace, truth, and all incommunicable Majesty. All was blighted, as far as a creature could blight it, in the first Adam. The son of God in his innocence, he denied the grace, though possessing many blessings, and took Satan as a better friend than God: God having grasped through envy the last and only worthy thing, He was not to be trusted; and this in the midst of blessings. He denied the truth of God, and directly believed Satan saying, "Ye shall not surely die," and assumed to be "as elohim," to be gods, taking His incommunicable Majesty as a shared thing. God was utterly denied, and the fairest of God's creatures became the only permanent exhibition, or scene of exhibition, of dishonour done to God, of His weakness (of course, I speak only apparent), failure, baffling by His enemy, and spoiling of His works in the sight of all the universe. This was what man was witness of.
I have often spoken of this. I take merely the heads of it now. The principle will sufficiently show itself. The Son of Man, therefore, was perfectly glorified, as acting in temptation but yielding to none of it, and that with everything adverse, even to "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" as Adam, the son of God, had failed with everything of present blessing to sustain him outwardly, and remind him. As in Philippians 2, instead of assuming to be "as elohim" when as mere man, when as Elohim He thought it no robbery to be equal with God, but emptied Himself, and become as a Man, showed blessed self-humiliation, instead of Adam's effort to raise himself, and went down to sorrow instead of attempting to be "as Elohim."
The Lord showed perfect trust in the goodness of God when (though He had to say, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani," and crying, "in the day time, and thou hearest not; and in the night season I take no rest") He says, "Thou continuest holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." And the truth of God was perfectly vindicated in that, in very deed, He died for sin, the witness that death was in very, very deed the wages of sin; for He became obedient to it. Thus was the Son of Man glorified; now more so than in fulfilling every position, bearing the vindication of God under the burden of all in which man had (humanly) destroyed the possibility of it, in which man had accumulated centuries of dishonour, all offences; and death the portion of faithfulness. He did all which could honour living man in requisition from God, and God in doing it; so that Man vindicated the character of God. Nothing could be more perfect or blessed than this great sight, this one fact for which the world was created, this blessed truth, this single truth: God was glorified where He had been dishonoured, God was gloriously glorified. Could the Son of Man have any other such glory, all the moral glory here shown out, the vindication of what God was? Then if God be glorified in Him, the Son of Man, God shall also glorify Him in Himself. This is the full glory of the Son of Man. When He shall come in His own glory, and in the glory of His Father, and of all the holy angels, the glory of God will appear in the Son of Man, in the face of Jesus Christ. While this is true as to the manifestation of His glory, when He shall be shown in His times (idios kairois), yet straightway He was to be glorified. He had finished the work. God was perfectly glorified in Him; and therefore, though He waited for the Church to be glorified with Him, to be manifested (because that blessed One was to be glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believe), yet He ascended up into glory, sitting down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having by Himself purged our sins. "I see," says Stephen, "the glory of God, and the Son of man" (for thus it is He is then), "standing at the right hand of God." Thus the Son of Man was (expecting till His enemies were made His footstool) straightway glorified, glory of God, the Lamb in the midst of the throne.
231 This connection of the glory of the Son of Man, and God in Him, and He in God (and that straightway for the Church) is the most important that can be in the moral exhibition which all these wondrous dealings of God can present.
The Lord then goes on to apply the consequences of this to them. But what a contrast! what a sentence! "When he was gone out"! - when the blackest deed that Satan ever had done was now accomplished; that is, morally now, says the unburthened mind of the Lord, unburthened in passing through the crisis, and showing what it was, and dwelt on, and the apprehension of the divine glory in it all - "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him."
232 "Little children, yet a little while I am with you." There was immediately involved in this the leaving of His disciples, the other thought which came in with that one "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him"; and this introduced by His betrayal. "Little children, yet a little while I am with you." They should plainly feel His loss - they should seek Him, but they could not go where He was. This was their condition. It was true of them, as of the Jews. The Jews nor the Church were to follow Him there. Both seek Him, even if differently; neither be, nor could come, where He was. But though not with Him they were His disciples, manifest in one thing, "a new commandment" (for He was One who could give "a new commandment"): "That ye love one another." It was a commandment from Him to them a sign in them (and being as such therefore on positive commandment) to unbelievers that they were His disciples. This was the sign to the world, and so on His commandments, and so applied to them. So the Lord knew that it would so act on the minds of men as an unknown thing, which must depend for its power on something out of this world, and verify thus the truth of discipleship to an absent spiritual working, a heavenly (divine) Lord. There is also force in not merely "commandment," but "as I have loved you"; therefore so known as His disciples; this the standard and power, and therefore not only obedience but love "one to another." On the whole it is the full relationship resulting from the Lord's absence and their being left.
- 31, 32. Christ's part; what relates to Him.
- 33-35. The result of those associated with Him, verse 33 being the basis of the position on which it rests. But Peter was fixed upon natural affection to the Lord, commonly so called, which did not enter into the truths here stated; a mistake to be rectified. This great thing mentioned (v. 31) was to be done.
Jesus alone, He sets them, His disciples, in their consequent place. Curiosity would know, natural confidence assume to be in, the place, ignorance of which alone was proved by the proposal and the foolishness of self-confidence. Peter would know where the Lord went. Now he was to follow Him. He could not go then, but he was to follow Jesus. But he could not follow Him now; for now neither was there power in Peter nor the way made, the way of meeting the holiness of God in death, and going into death in the power of life, and through death to God's presence, a solitary way within the veil. But he should follow Him indeed with power from a risen Lord, and yet within the veil in spirit, through the grace of a risen Lord. But Peter brought it to the very issue: "Why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake."
233 Now this did bring it to the point. If it were not where He was going, it was what He was going to do. It was precisely the immediate moral difficulty of where He the Lord was going. "I will lay down my life for thy sake." But what a blessed word was it, the sure constancy of God in the midst of our weakness: "Thou shalt follow me after"! But the utter weakness of the flesh in the strongest zeal of natural affection and purpose was to be shown. "Wilt thou," says the patient, gracious Lord, "wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? . . . The cock shall not crow till thou hast denied me thrice." His zeal led him into the place where his flesh quailed before the power of Satan. But what a power in the flesh! A little maid laid low his boasted purpose. But he did follow Him after. He was led whither he would not, and the glory was there ready for him. The "why" was that he was Peter, one of us. But note the alike impossibility of one who believes, that is, who is brought to love Jesus, without given power, as of the unbeliever, to go where Jesus goes. It is only of God. "As I said to the Jews . . . I say to you also now." We have specially to note the faithfulness of purpose in the total failure of man in the flesh: "Thou canst not," "but thou shalt"; but having thrice denied Him.
- 37. This was wonderful weakness.
As observed below, all that follows hangs on this notion of absence under the circumstances in verse 32, and the force is on "believe" (chap. 14 :1) in what immediately follows. He being thus absent, and like to be in great trouble, the Lord says, "Let not your heart be troubled." It hangs in fact in connection on the end of verse 35, the last being the episode of Peter's confidence in something else. When thus loving each other together, in any case let not their heart be troubled. How so? How had they comfort in God? Did they see Him?
Was He in human sort present with them? They believed on Him. The same as of Jesus, Believe on Me. He was the object of faith as well as the giver of commandment.
234 In John 13 we have, note, the voluntary acting of Christ's own love. But He does it in grace as a service. It is with the towel He is girded with He wipes their feet. In verse 20 it is "whom I shall send"; for, as He was about to go, His service in the world would have ceased, and His reception [been] impossible, unless those He should send brought men under this responsibility and into the blessing.
My present impression is that the supper the Lord instituted, the last supper, was not the paschal lamb itself. His eating the Passover with them was in general. As the paschal lamb was slain between the two evenings, the putting away leaven was over [the] evening before. It was quite late when Jesus went out. Judas had agreed with the chief priests before. He went out to do it after the sop at supper, and goes and fetches the band. Thus Christ was sacrificed between the two evenings on the same day (Jewish) as He eat the Passover with His disciples. Hence John treats it as before the feast of the Passover. So it was, in Gentile computation, the day before; yet in the Passover. He was to depart out of this world. So in John 18:28: they go out into the hall of judgment, that they might eat the Passover.
Chapters 12, 13. The Jews being the perfection of God's creation-rest, Jesus is proposed as chief. This involved national redemption, resurrection (as of Abraham), and the like; and headship of the Gentiles; but all these deeper principles; that is, sin was in the world, and the Corn of Wheat must die. These, in their different parts, the gospels manifest, with the ministry, the holy, gracious, perfect ministry of Jesus in the midst of these things, flowing from the depths of divine wisdom directed by divine love, in the union of patient obedience and love as a Man, as a Servant to God, to show these things. "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him." But sin being, all these things fail in man, and Jesus dies as to and for them, and brings in, in resurrection, new things. The Jews are set aside, to whom in ordinance the Sabbath, God's creation-rest, had been given. The Church, God's new creation, in the stability and security of the Word made flesh, and risen, who in the beginning, when God created, was, and created, come in here in power resting in that which created. "In the beginning was the Word," etc. All things were created by Him, and for Him, as in the flesh the Head of creation-blessing (here, in error and the craft of evil, the Irvingites take the Lord up, and thence the Church back here); but here dead, because creation was spoiled by sin. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work"; no rest; work in their covenant characters, restoratively, redeemingly; but now Head of creation in redemption; but having in union associated, to present to Himself a glorious Church, with it takes gloriously the creation as His portion; they sons of God by adoption with Him. Then the Jews by grace and redemption (national) brought into creation-rest and Sabbath thereunder (because Satan, who led the world, is cast down, and put in the abyss) are the centre of new earthly glory with Christ by grace. Righteousness and promise not having met, grace and promise meet to God's glory (not man's), all being exalted in Jesus, and all things united (anakephalaio-omai) in Him the Son, and Son of Man; and He takes as Son of Man the earth again, all things here, and the Jews as the centre of it on earth, the nations blessed in them. He takes them when they were rejected, but in grace and stability. Then, all things being subjected (they could not enjoy in worship, because evil, or the power of evil, had come in), and the subjection shown in the glorious Person of the Son of Man, and the dominion and power given to Him, He gives up the kingdom (perfect in all things), that all thus restored may be blessed worship, and God all in all; He, as Man, the subject Head of all intelligent blessing; and this in the end.
235 John's gospel shows all the intermediate part, the operation part; that is, in Christ, the Word and Son; in all its scope as to His Person; rejection here, the position of the Church and Himself, and His relation with the Father. The other gospels give details of parts, and while the economy of foundation is given in the Acts, and the detail and order and place of the Church in the epistles, and its apostasy as in man here, the Apocalypse gives the end of all these things, and teaches (as to those of them which pass now) the Church to cry, "Come, Lord Jesus," come quickly. "The Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come." "Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen." Do not I hear, O Lord? In this my heart says, Come. My soul says, Come. We are here so as in a manner to be "sick of love"; yet in spirit so with Thee, and above this world's, living with Thee; set down with Thee; that we can say, "Thy will be done." Be Thy name, blessed Jesus, fully glorified by their power and ways. Yet Thou knowest me to be "sick of love," desiring Thy presence, holy and blessed Saviour, Lamb of God, our Lord, Prince of peace, King of kings, the Word of God.
236 NOTE. - There is a contrast in John 3 between what the Old Testament gave (by the Spirit) the knowledge of; that is, between Jewish hopes, and truths connected with it in prophetic instruction, and what Christ knew and could tell as come from heaven (vv. 10, 11). So in the end the two parts of John's testimony (v. 29), His Messiahship, in which He had title to the bride, Jerusalem; a joy fulfilled to John, and Christ's position as come from above, and above all; One speaking the words of God without measure; the Son loved of the Father, to whom all was committed; in whom was found life, and unbelief in whom left wrath abiding on the unbeliever. Chapter 4, as the second, gave the character of millennial joy, purification changed into bridal wine, the nobleman's child gives, on the present quitting of Judaea, the saving life as a present thing by faith for the Jewish remnant.
I judge also, in chapter 5, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee," Christ was acting as a present historical fact within the limits of divine Jewish government. In His doctrine which follows He goes out into the full title of His Person, above and beyond the precincts of Judaism. This introduction of His own proper glory in connection with the Father is connected with their rejection of Him, as a present thing, in spite of the fullest testimony (vv. 31-40). But it was to reject themselves. Coming in His Father's name, they would not have Him. This left them exposed to man's pretensions, into whose hands, in Satanic presumption, they would fall. Moses himself would be their condemnation.
237 Hence (chapter 6) what He was as rejected for those who received Him is brought out. He could accomplish messianic promises in power; as, before, He was Jehovah that healed, so now that satisfied the poor with bread; Prophet, proved such; refusing to be King, through man, but nourishing, according to the counsels of God, in His humiliation and death, those who, tossed in the world in consequence of His rejection and absence [were] introduced into the new thing (v. 30) by resurrection, of which He was the example (v. 60), entering as Son of Man into the heavenly place in which He was before He descended. Hence it is sovereign grace and eternal life.
Besides the moral instruction, I judge that the beginning of chapter 8 shows that He can avoid condemning the worst and most flagrant state of Israel while convicting all who choose to place themselves on the ground of the law in Israel. I have already noticed the rejection of word and work (chap. 8:38 and chap. 9:4), mark the two (see chap. 10:33). Chapter 10 belongs to chapter 9, though flowing all from the revelation that He will have the sheep out of the sheep-yard where they were kept; as the Gentile sheep by His death too. Chapters 11 and 12 are what He was and might have been for the Jews, if received: Son of God, able to raise from the dead; Son of David; Son of Man, the Gentiles coming to Him when among the Jews. These chapters answer to the beginning of chapters we have noticed; what He could, chaps. 5 and 6; what He could not, chap. 7. Then before the Jews (chap. 8) what He was as light for conviction; but (chap. 12:35, 36) entire abandonment of them; a light for a time, but which hides itself; and then their blindness shown (as announced by the prophet) judicially (v. 40) but in the revelation of the glory of Jehovah Himself, as Christ. Chapter 13, what He now is for His beloved disciples, His own in the world, in view of all His glory, and in spite of all our sin (vv. 2, 3). Verses 31, 32, we have the true full moral character of His death, and the result in present glory, which is in connection with the present thing in title of His Person. Hence the disciples could not follow [any] more than the wicked Jews. Flesh and blood has no place there. But the power of death would be given (v. 36). It was not in man to attempt. It was to plunge oneself into the denial of Christ, whose course and revelation as Son of God supposed and involved death.