Favoured by the Son of God, there was one who enjoyed a special place of nearness to Him; “Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with Him” (John 12:2).
About to be dishonoured in the regal city, Jerusalem, Jesus received royal honour outside at Bethany. There they made Him a supper, which He graciously accepted. Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead, sat with Him. Martha happily served, and Mary expressed becoming appreciation of the One in whose presence they were. Her treasured, fragrant and costly out-pouring filled the house with its sweet odour. Lazarus had good cause to rejoice greatly, and esteem highly the nearness which was his.
When the once rejected Joseph became lord of all Egypt, his brethren, not knowing who he really was, came before him. He received them, but not at the same table. The Egyptians set on for their lord “by himself and for them by themselves,” although “they sat before him.” Joseph keenly felt the position; and afterwards said to his brethren, “Come near to me, I pray you.” And they came near. Today we are brought near, but it is not our doing, “Now in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).
Royal David sent for, and received at his table, lame Mephibosheth; who said to the king, “What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?” Said the royal father, “He shall eat bread at my table as one of the king’s sons.” And in such favoured freedom and nearness, “he did eat bread continually at the king’s table.” Those who are saved by grace today were once “dead in sins,” as Ephesians 2:5 tells us. Now they are “quickened together with Christ.” They have access to the Father by the Holy Spirit, being “the sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
We have not only been redeemed from what held us, but we have been redeemed to God by the precious blood of Christ. He Himself went right beneath all our sins to save us, even unto death. But He was raised actually—physically—from among the dead by the glory of the Father, bringing us along with Himself in life near to Him.
“So near, so very near to God,
We cannot nearer be,
For in the Person of His Son,
We are as near as He.”
We hear the risen Son of God say, “My Father, your Father; My God, your God.” He has set us righteously free in the same relationship before Him. Indeed, Colossians 3:1 speaks of us as now being “risen with Christ.” Bless His Name!
Before that position had been secured for us, Lazarus was one of those that sat at table with Jesus, the Son of God. Lazarus was “dearly loved” by Jesus; and He had brought him forth from death and corruption. How blessed for him to sit at table with the mighty Son of God! Lazarus thus sat “with Him.” How do we sit with Him in faith today? Righteously made nigh in Him by His own work—made suitable to be there too. Do we rejoice in the nearness which love has made ours? Are we in true liberty there? Do we rest in His holy presence, as those that are “risen with Christ”?
Where even “two or three” today are gathered together to His Name, while He is still rejected, He Himself has said, “There am I.” Faith gladly and reverently recognizes His presence. He does not say, “There will I come.” He does not say, “At a certain moment I will present Myself.” No; but, “There am I.” He IS present! We may know this. He is always true to His word. He remains faithful. He never fails.
The faith which rejoices in the greatness and glory of “THE SON” rests in this abiding fact:—“All things subsist together by Him.” Surely then, the holy presence personally of such an One among His loved ones involves no difficulty. Resurrection declares Him to be Son of God—the resurrection of others by Him and His own also. In regard to Lazarus’ sickness, He Himself said, This is “for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” And to Martha, when He was about to call him out from among the dead, He said, “If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God.” Resurrection showed this. At His word Lazarus came forth!
It was for His glory, and for the Father’s too. This was indicated when Jesus said, “Father, glorify Thy Name.” And a voice from heaven said, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again” (John 12:28)—“again”—pointing on to the resurrection of Jesus Himself.
As “the Corn of wheat” He has been in death. And He said, “If it die it brings forth MUCH FRUIT.” Those “risen with Christ” are now become nigh, during the time of His rejection. But He is coming again in power and royal majesty soon. Then His well loved nation Israel—“the Lord’s people”—shall be brought forth like “life from the dead.” And they shall sing, “Blessed be the King!” The saved of the nations too shall awake and arise at the sight of His glory, and “all nations shall call Him blessed!” The much fruit from the death of Jesus shall also be the rejoicing of the heavens, as of the earth too.
Before the national sheaves are gloriously gathered around the true Joseph’s sheaf on earth however, Jesus will gather up the heavenly golden grain to His Father’s house. “Christ, the First-fruits,” is there already, gone to prepare a place for us. That special place of glory, of nearness, of liberty and of love, He Himself personally went to prepare. His own prepared place in His Father’s house is where He will have His loved ones near Him. “I will come again,” He said, “and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” WITH JESUS!—What more can we desire?—“For ever WITH THE LORD!”
Lazarus was one of those that sat at table with Him in the home at Bethany. We shall be with Him in glory in His Father’s house. Near to Him eternally! He is not ashamed to call us brethren even now. But then, all like Him, as predestinated of God, the full fruition of eternal purpose shall appear—JESUS ALL GLORIOUS among many brethren. Made nigh!