On the Gospel according to John

J. N. Darby.

{Notes of remarks made partly in reply to questions at a conference.}

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What we come to in chapter 13 is that Christ's hour was come to depart out of this world unto the Father; up to this it had been His place and rejection on earth. Only when testimony was given to Him, He had declared He could only take that of Son of man, unless alone by dying. As to Himself there was now an end to all His sorrow and trouble, but His service He now shews us is not over; He goes up into the glory, and is there going to be our servant: "I have loved my own, and I love them through and through," that is the meaning of "to the end." He could not stay with them down here, but did not give them up; but He was now going to God perfect as He came from God, and the Father had given all things into His hand. He was returning spotless to God Himself, the glory being His. He could not stay with them, could they be with Him there? This is the solemn problem in this chapter. He solves it in ineffable grace. He rose up from supper, "and laid aside his garments, and took a towel and girded himself, after that he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded." Peter objects, but the Lord says, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." Peter says then, "Not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." "Jesus saith to him, He that is washed, needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit." The two words "wash" in verse 10 are different; the first is washing the whole body, "bathed," and the second is washing hands or small objects. And you notice the "hands" are left out, for it does not apply to our works, but to our walk. It is bringing the light of the word to judge inwardly when a man has done wrong. Those who have received the word have been bathed, they are clean as chapter 15:3. Here not all because Judas was still there. The statement alludes to the priests, who were washed bodily once for all, and afterwards whenever they went to any service, washed their hands and feet. The consecrating with water was done once for all. So with us; but we are set to walk through this world, and in danger of defiling our feet as we go.

270 The words in Hebrews 10, "bodies washed with pure water," refer to the first bathing, and not to this action of Christ or what it signifies. It is "bathed" there. And then Christ comes in as an advocate, and cleanses me when defiled in walk, and restores me to communion. It is like the red heifer when a person touched death; there was no fresh death appointed for that, but the application of the word, moral cleansing based on the death already accomplished.

As to the washing of regeneration, the priests were not washed at the laver at their first consecration; but they had to wash their hands and their feet at the laver every time when they came to serve. "Regeneration" in Titus is the same word as in Matthew 19, and not used elsewhere. It is the millennium in Matthew, instead of the present state of things. It is a change of state in both places. It is connected with what you are brought into, and what you are brought out of; for you are brought out of one, and into the other.

The action is very beautiful as to the Lord's loving and lowly service, and is really the glory of grace in providing for, and meeting moral evil in every shape for us that we might have communion with that which is on high. It is the fruit of the perfect love of Christ whatever is needed, the Lord sets Himself to do it, for love likes to serve: "having loved his own which were in the world he loved them unto the end." "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hand, and that he was come from God and went to God, he riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel and girded himself." It was with this glory present in spirit though actually future. In all the glory to which I am going, I shall be a servant as much as down here: such is its meaning.

It is "to God" in verse 3, because Christ's returning in the spotless divine perfectness in which He left God is thus affirmed; He is just as perfect as ever, and is going back as such to God - goes back just as He came from. He did not go half way, but came from God and went back to God. And then He must bring us into the same place too; either He must give us up, as He could not stay here where we are, or He must do all for us to fit us to be there where He is. And He will have us have part with Him in everything the Father gives, and be with the Father as He Himself is. So He has washed us and made us partakers of the divine nature. It is the new birth, only it is looked at in its moral character rather than in the life-giving power of the Spirit's work; though they cannot be separated. In His love He takes up a slave's work; Peter objects, and the point He insists on is, our having a part with Himself. "Ye are clean, but not all," is because Judas was there. And then He tells us to walk in the same spirit of serving.

271 Next, He puts the reception of an apostle on the same footing as the reception of Himself. "He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." It had been already true, even of Judas, but still it is true always practically, and we know it - he that receives Christ's servant receives Him.

Then you find the Lord coming to the time of His betrayal. He is troubled in spirit. It is remarkable to see how the Lord feels everything thoroughly and personally; you never find in Him any failure as to that; but He is always Himself in it, the very opposite of insensibility; circumstances draw out His feelings, but it is what is divinely perfect, which is there to be drawn out. He says He knew who was going to betray Him from the beginning. And who is it? He is to have every sorrow. One of His intimate companions who had been with Him all the time. Through the devoted affection of women, you generally find them clinging to Him and so in the place of confidence, but here you have the one instance where a man comes into that good place. John was sitting close to Christ not from his seeking it then but from habitual nearness to Him, and Peter is obliged to ask John to inquire of Christ, who it was that should betray Him. It is an instance of what I mean; John was not there in order to get the information, but he was in the place to get it, the disciple whom Jesus loved and close to Him in order to be there, but there in the place to know His mind. That is the point; it is of all importance to be in a position so to learn of Him.

Now we get an important statement; after the sop, Satan entered into Judas. There is much in that; there is a familiarity with Christ in an outward way, which where the heart is wrong is a deadly inlet to Satan's power. Satan had already gained Judas's lusts, and suggested the evil; but here he takes possession of him in a personal way, Satan enters into him. He hardens his heart against every natural feeling.

If you take Luke as giving the order of the thing, Judas broke bread; having received the sop, he went immediately out. Luke says, after He had given both the bread and the cup, "the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table." But here in John we have nothing to do with the Lord's supper; I merely get the fact that the sop was given to Judas. I think it has nothing to do with the Supper, whether Judas was there or not. Christ washed his feet, and there was intimacy at the table. It is important to notice that, because of the guilt resulting from it. If anybody quotes it as to fellowship now, then you would have betrayers at the table. Further there was no evil manifested, and you cannot of course put a man out where no evil is manifested. Besides, after all, people do not mean that they would have a table of Judases, and if you put it so to them, they will reject it. The Lord knew it Himself of course divinely, but that is no ground for us to act on and the disciples knew nothing of it, nor was their conscience exercised as to it; nor was the church founded till the Holy Ghost came.

272 As to Judas you first get the lust, and then the acting on it; he was a thief and had the bag; and then comes an occasion suggested by Satan to gratify the lust, who thereon enters in and hardens the person's heart against even his natural feelings, for many an unconverted man would not betray a friend with a kiss. It is at this point when all this has come completely forward that you get "Now is the Son of man glorified," that is, in the cross the perfectness of His work was His glory, perfect devotedness and love were in it, and obedience at all cost to His Father, suffering all things where His glory called for it and it was a man's glory to make God's glory good and in such a place, "and God is glorified in him." All that God is in His character is there made good by a man much more than a man no doubt, but one who was a man - "God is glorified in him; if God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and will straightway glorify him." He does not wait for the glory of the kingdom, but goes straight up to God's right hand. God thus is perfectly glorified by man, so that man goes into the glory of God. And that is an immense truth, for the fact of our sins being put away, if it stood alone, would not entitle us to the glory of God. But that which has done it has. But Christ has gone into the glory of God: so Stephen saw and said. But man could not follow before this was all done; you must have the ark in the bottom of Jordan, or the people could not come over. Peter had confidence in himself, and so he denies Christ. If we come in flesh into the place of Christ, it will only be to deny Him there.

273 The "in himself" in verse 32 is in God, and Christ went straight into the glory of God. It is an immense part of the cross that, the ending of self and all confidence in self. The Lord told Peter he could not follow Him. And now the Lord in a certain sense assumes that He has gone out of the world, and He looks at things in that aspect, but their heart is not to be troubled at it; and in chapter 14 He gives them the ground on which it is not to be troubled. In the first place they get the comfort from God by believing in Him; and so would it be with Christ; and the next point is, in Christ's going away: it was not to leave them behind and He go alone, but He is going to prepare a place for them. It is not only a place for me, but there are a number of places, and I am going to prepare one for you, and "I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also." Now that part of the chapter is complete in itself; they believe in Him instead of seeing Him; there are places in the Father's house and He is going to prepare us for them; He cannot stay with them where they are, but He will have them there with Himself.

Now comes, in the body of the chapter, what the comfort is while He has not come back. That is divided into two parts; what they had in His person, and what they would get on having the Comforter. The first part extends to about the end of verse 15. The three or four verses about their doing greater works come in by the bye.

The first part of the chapter is exceedingly beautiful and simple, when once you get at what the Lord is at. The point was "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." Thomas answers, "Lord, we know not whither thou goest, and how can we know the way?" There was a good bit of unbelief in Thomas, his mind made difficulties, but he loved the Lord; and the Spirit delights to shew it (chap. 11:16); and the answer is this, "I am going to the Father, and you know what He is, because you have seen the Father in me, and therefore you do know where I am going; and you know the way, because having come to Me, you have found Him." Such is what the Lord says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also, and from henceforth ye know him and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father and it sufficeth us; Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, shew us the Father?" and so on. If they had seen the Father (in seeing Christ) and Christ was going to the Father, they both knew where He was going, and they knew that He was the way, because in Him they had found the Father. They had had this upon earth, and they ought to have known where they were.

274 It is "from henceforth" in verse 7, because He had revealed Himself and told them plainly now; but they did not understand. But they said, "now speakest thou plainly"; but they deceive themselves. He says, "I came forth from the Father, and come into the world, again, I leave the world and go to the Father"; they say, "by this we believe that thou camest forth from God." They had no idea of the Father after all. Still there it was: they had it, though they did not realise it. Then you get the two things He has once or twice insisted upon, as in chapters 8 and 9, His word and His work, "Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works' sake."

Then in the second part (you may connect verse 15 with it if you like) "I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not neither knoweth him, but ye know him for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." Now I get a second element, not the Father and the Son, but the Spirit. The Father had been revealed in the Son, and He had declared the Father's name on earth; but now comes another thing, He was going away, as we know, and the second Comforter was to come. He was not to be sent into the world, the world cannot receive Him. Christ had been presented to the world, and the world would not have Him; but the Spirit is not for the world, the way that He is known shews that the world cannot know Him. He abides with you and shall be in you. The first Comforter, Christ, was neither to abide, nor to be "in." But the second would not go away, He would abide, Christ could not abide. As to whether it should he "dwelleth" or "will dwell," in verse 17, for the Greek, or indeed for the sense, it is just as good in one case as the other; it is a mere question of a Greek accent. The "Comforter" is the character He would have in coming to them, He is the Spirit of truth as well. It is to me evidently the point, the difference of the first Comforter, that is, Christ, that He could not stay with them, and the second could. Christ was not in them either, but with them; the second should dwell in them, and abide for ever ("abide" is the same word as "dwell") not be merely with them. In the power of the Spirit of God they should do "greater works," and a glorified Christ should be the source of them. The very shadow of Peter would do; a handkerchief or apron from Paul, and so on; three thousand be converted in one day. But Christ had come in the character of humiliation.

275 The "I will come to you" is Christ in Spirit now, I believe; Himself in Spirit. It is not merely the Holy Ghost, but what the believer can always count on. There is a particular promise in the case of two or three gathered in Christ's name. There is not only individually dwelling in our hearts by faith, but the particular way in which He comes to two or three gathered.

The "manifest myself to him," is where a person walks right; he gets Christ specially revealed to his heart. You have a very great additional fact in this second part of the chapter which you could not have in the first. What is in verse 20 that they could not have known then: "in that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you," it was only when the Holy Ghost came that they knew that. The person of Christ was in the Father, that they knew; at any rate it was there to be known; but also they were in Christ and He in them: this they could know only by the Holy Ghost. Now you come to Judas - not Iscariot - and the realisation of all this. We may look at verse 15 here; "if ye love me, keep my commandments," if you love me, do not be thinking of keeping Me down here, but do you obey Me. They were sorrowing about His going, and His words are; then, "keep my commandments." There is a connection here (He is looking at them in the character of obedience, though it is not the motive of His praying in next verse) with Acts 5:32, "and so is also the Holy Ghost whom God hath given to them that obey him."

The difference between "commandments" and "words" is that words go farther rather. In Acts 13:47 you have a quotation from Isaiah, "for so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." He calls that a commandment, though it was a word of prophecy, but the moment they understood it, it was a commandment. The whole thing is comprised in obedience whether words or commandments, we are "sanctified to obedience." If they had words which gave them the knowledge of God's will, they are commandments really.

276 You will find in all this part of John the responsibility of the disciples in the first place, and that, in the verse we have just come to. "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." It is the Father loves us because we love Christ, it is not here, "we love him because he first loved us," but with disciples, it is "he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him."

It is no question here whether he is a child of the Father, but what he is to the Father as a child; there is more expression of love and kindness to an obedient child, than to a disobedient one. And He adds "if a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode in him." That goes farther, the "abode" will be more constant than the "manifestation." "He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." Notice before in verse 21, it is not he that keepeth my commandments when he hath them; but knowing what the commandments of Christ are when we love Him so as to give heed to what He says. This is an important principle. A loving child enters into its father's mind, and knows what he would like and does it; a careless child will not know a bit what his father's wishes are.

In John 10:17, "therefore doth my Father love me," etc., it is not here so much for those for whom He is laying down His life, the motive is rather the immense value of glorifying His Father. Children that are living in their father's house, might all hear their father's voice and words, but there is instructive perception of what he intends on the part of the children that love him best. Which of us would settle quite clearly from Isaiah 49: "I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth," that we were to go and preach the grace of God? Paul did in Acts 13:47. It is quite clear we must have the commandments if we are to use them, but the loving attentive person will have ten times more knowledge of them than a careless one. Mary and Martha are a kind of illustration; you get the example of the listening there or the lack of it.

277 In this chapter the Father sends the Comforter, not Christ; Christ sends Him in the close of the next chapter, and in chapter 16:7. It is in Christ's name here, but the Father sends Him, and "he shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." The value of sending in His name is seen in this. If you come to me in a person's name now, I should receive according to the value to me of the person in whose name you come. Then He says, "Peace I leave with you," and then it is "his own peace." You will find that as to everything. He puts us into His own place. It is His own peace, the peace He had in walking through this world with the Father, as a man with God. Christ says it of "joy," "glory," "peace," "words," "love." The world may give liberally sometimes, but it has another kind and way of giving. It has no longer what it has given. The emphasis is on the word "my," "my joy," "the glory thou gavest me," "the words which thou gavest me." But we find another thing here which I have often referred to, but it is one of the most wonderful things in Scripture as to Christ. He expects us to be interested in His happiness, not merely to trust Him as interested in ourselves; but "if ye loved me, ye would rejoice because I said, I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I." That is, if you love Me, you will rejoice because I am going out of this world into happiness. He expects that His disciples should be really interested in His happiness and glory.

Then we come to verse 30, "hereafter I will not talk much with you, for the prince of this world cometh and hath nothing in me." "Prince of this world" is an important expression; it was then that the devil was proved to be the prince of this world, and he is never called so until Christ was rejected, so long as there was a possibility remaining of the world receiving the Son and owning Him; but in the rejection of Christ, the devil was able to raise both Jews and Gentiles against Christ Himself, and even the disciples ran away. His full power was shewn. And therefore too now, the devil is a judged being - "the prince of this world is judged" - and the world shewn to be under Satan's power. He its god and its prince. The opposite is in Christ, "has nothing in me." And Christ loves the Father, and is obedient (v. 31).

278 Satan finds plenty in us. He had the power of death in us, but he had nothing at all in Christ. It is a beautiful expression of Christ's perfectness. He was divine, but He was also man, and perfection as to both comes out so wonderfully. He would not talk much with His disciples, for the time was over. The devil is coming, and I cannot talk with you much more. The thing is all finished. In chapter 14 we get Christ's person and the Comforter; and now we go on to find the connection of people with Him upon earth, not with the Father.

In chapter 15 it is His relationship with the disciples on earth, and in the end of the chapter He has gone up on high, and sends the Comforter Himself, and it closes with the testimony. In chapter 16 it is the Comforter down here; He is not sent but come, He has been sent. In chapter 15 you get Christ in the earth, and His people on the earth. There is an analogy to this now, but what He is looking at is His being the real vine Himself in contrast with Israel on earth.

"Now ye are clean" is "already ye are clean." The "ye are not all clean" in chapter 13 refers to Judas, here there is no exception for it, Judas had gone out. The point is, Israel was the old vine, and Christ takes the place of Israel, and is the true vine. If you look at Isaiah 49, you will see distinctly how he replaces the nation "Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified." "And now, saith Jehovah that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, though Israel be not gathered," and so on. Thus it is Christ is the real servant - Israel a vine, but Christ the true vine. So you get in Matthew, "Out of Egypt have I called my Son." Hence Christ is the true Man for God - the true Servant - the true Vine. The true Man, God's Son, has taken up all that in which the first man had failed. Then, when Christ was upon earth, there was no church union; there is no question of planting vines in heaven nor of pruning to get fruit. He says, "Every branch in me that beareth fruit, he purgeth it"; and in verse 3, "Now ye are already purged"; it is the same word. They were clean in the sense of "purged," only that the purging continues; like "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet"; this is the first of these washings. "Ye are already clean"; you are "already." And then comes, "abide in me." It is all responsibility here. The person's conduct is put first, but there is this difference made, when He speaks of ruin and destruction; He turns from "you" and says "a man." In the middle of His exhortation He drops the "ye" and says, "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned"; there it is positive destruction.

279 In "if ye abide in me," the "abide" is to "hold fast in dependence and communion." "Without me [that is the opposite], ye can do nothing." He does not say, "I will abide in you, and so ye will abide in me." He puts His people first all through, for it all rests on responsibility. Only in verse 6 it changes to "a man," and speaks of destruction, which could not be of a true disciple in Christ. Judas was taken away. There they were, all branches in the vine; for I do not think anything of the expression, "men gather them," because He is speaking of the figure. There is another point in verse 7: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you" I can dispose of all power, when the words of Christ govern my mind and will. "Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."

In verse 2 taking away is utter destruction; for He is taking in all there who were associated with Him; they are all branches there till they are broken off. "If ye continue in my word," He says to the Jews, "then are ye my disciples indeed"; they were His disciples, but did not continue. Hebrews 6 is in analogy with it.

Then I have another point still. I have the service and fruit-bearing, and then, "Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit." But then, further "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: abide in my love" - the divine favour of Christ. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." There I get a plain proof that it is no question of divine delight in the person only, but of the path in which the Son enjoyed the Father's love, and the path in which we shall enjoy it too. Now we have the "joy"; we had the "peace" before; now it is joy walking in His words, and abiding in His love. The love of grace seeks a sinner, but "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." That is not grace for a sinner; here it is for His friends. It applies to the disciples only, and is not here grace for sinners. "Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth, but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you." A friend is a person with whom I communicate, not because I have business with him, but I tell him my thoughts and feelings as to that with which he himself has nothing to do. He puts them into the place of fruit-bearing, and tell them to ask of the Father whatsoever they would, and He would give it them.

280 Fruit that "may remain" is fruit to this day, you are it, if you please. We are here part of the fruit, and shall be to eternity, though the fruit is more down in the world in this passage. Now comes a third principle. Abiding in Christ and His word, and abiding in His love; and then "love one another." But now the converse: "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you; if ye were of the world, the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." The world never can stand being outside; they will stand your having a religion, but they cannot stand a peculiar people "purified to himself." This puts the disciples in a very blessed place, for it puts them in His place - "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

And then the history of Israel on the ground of their responsibility closes. He being the true vine, the old vine is judged. As long as anything was not done to Him, all was forgivable, as it were; but now "they have both seen and hated both me and my Father." In verses 22, 24 it is again His word and His works; and then the Son had been manifested, and the Father in Him, so that their conduct had been really hatred of the Son and of the Father, and what was to be done? We have fellowship with the Father, and with the Son, but they had hated both - and that without a cause. It was all gone now, and then you get the Comforter and the disciples in the world. He says now, "The Comforter whom I will send unto you," because He has gone away. The difference is clear; before the Holy Ghost came, they could not tell of Christ's glory in heaven, but they were to testify what Christ was upon earth. Still it was by the Holy Ghost. He shall "bring all things to your remembrance" (chap. 14:26), when the Father is spoken of as sending the Comforter; but in this place Christ sends the Comforter, and He is the witness of the glory in which Christ is sitting. You have a humbled Christ, and a glorified Christ, and the disciples bearing witness through the Comforter. But the Comforter Himself brings down the heavenly glory. Then you get in chapter 16 the Comforter on the earth. Read verses 1-3.

281 A person may be perfectly sincere, just as Saul was, in trying to blot out the name of Christ from the earth, but it is only proof that they have hated "both me and my Father." Where there are truths held that go to make part of my religious credit, there I can go on; but the truth that comes to test my heart, to that I object. A person might be a Protestant boasting of justification by faith, and do it to trample on a Romanist; but if you talk to him of the living presence of the Holy Ghost down here, and of the Lord's coming, he will persecute you from the bottom of his heart. A Jew could boast in the unity of the Godhead, for it was part of his own credit religiously; but the moment he was asked to own the Father and the Son, he would stone you for it. It was the thing that was then testing a man whether he was right or not. The Jews were blind in the darkness of unbelief, yet they held what was very true all the while. Romanists hold the divinity of Christ, and His manhood, and the Trinity, and atonement; they would burn a man if he did not hold them, if they had their way; but if you come and say, A man is not justified by sacraments, they will burn you too, if they can.

Then another thing. He says, "I go my way to him that sent me, and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? but because I have said these things, sorrow hath filled your heart." In one sense it was very natural. God deals with the thing we are resting in; and takes it away, as now His Son from the disciples, it is not a thing that springs from the dust. God must have some intention in it. Christ is going, and they do not ask where; they felt the trouble of their loss and that pressed on them. He was not going to die like an ordinary person put in the grave, but they never asked Him where He was going. God has an intuition of love in our sorrows, our hearts should look beyond our sorrow to His hand and ways in it.

282 Peter did ask Him at the end of chapter 13, "Why cannot I follow thee now?" But it was the general state the Lord refers to here. Peter did not think of going through death and up to heaven with Him. He was not thinking of God's mind in Christ's going away, but of some place where he could follow Him. It is a glorified Christ who has gone on high, and who sends the Holy Ghost to build up the disciples while He is there. Sometimes one is afraid of getting truth through mere feelings. I say merely, that is not power. I do not believe that anybody before, ever got the knowledge of divine truth that the church has now; but if you look at power, it is like none at all. It is right according to God, as God's way with us; but it is only a "little strength" indeed, incomparably less power, though so much truth. The Thessalonians were waiting for God's Son from heaven, which is a very superior state; but they had not the word, as we have it, to study. Certainly they had not got this Gospel, they might have had Matthew's perhaps. I think there is always a danger of awakening and decaying, and that you have to watch. I speak merely of the whole character of the thing; not that I do not believe it is God's mind, for all the evil is seen by Him, but we have to recognise in a certain sense where we are. And even as to truth, we must get it really. I feel the word of God is an immense thing, "thou hast kept my word and hast not denied my name" - Christ's - the word of His patience too; and there was then the confession of Christ in the midst of a people that would not receive Him, just as in not denying His name when professing Christianity are apostatising.

Then remark, the coming of the Holy Ghost is a distinct definite thing consequent upon Christ's exaltation. There was no coming of the Son until the incarnation, though He created everything; and the Holy Ghost in the same way, though working, did not come until Pentecost. We were looking a little at that before. All direct action as to the creature was by the Holy Ghost, but He did not come before Pentecost, unless you except His coming as a dove on Christ. And there it was personally on Him alone. You get Him acting, as at the beginning of creation, but Christ says, "if I go not away the Comforter will not come." That is of immense import as to the character of His presence. The world is judged, and the Holy Ghost is not sent to the world, "whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him. But ye know him; for he abideth with you and shall be in you." The world ought to have received Christ, the Holy Ghost it cannot; and He comes consequent upon a rejected Christ and a glorified Christ, and it is a Man who sends the Holy Ghost, sends Him from the Father. You get His action when down here. He demonstrates to the world, sin, righteousness and judgment. If He convinces a man, he is a believer; that is not the power of "reprove" here in chapter 16:8; it is used much to that effect, but it does not suit this place, and there is no English word that has so wide an application as the Greek word has. He does not reprove the world of righteousness. His presence is the demonstration to the world that the whole world is guilty of the death of Christ, just as if God were saying to Cain, "Where is Abel thy brother?" That is to the whole world; this world is a world that has rejected the Son of God. So that it is a very solemn thing to the world that the Holy Ghost is here.

283 It is the "world," just as "he came into the world." What I see in the history is that God takes out of the nations one man and his family to be a nation for Himself, and He tests them and tries to find any good thing at all in them, as a specimen of the whole, to tell what the mass is, and they are shewn by it to be bad altogether. Suppose I find a "slob," as you call it, in Lough Foyle, and I take out twenty acres, and spend an immense amount of labour upon it, but all to no good; well then, I do not try the rest. So Israel was but a sample of what all were, children of wrath. In saying the Gentiles, "which do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves," the apostle is reasoning in the first place thus: "if you have the law and do not keep it, the Gentiles who have not the law but keep it, are better than you." But as Gentiles also they are without excuse upon the ground of the testimony of creation, and the fact that when they had the knowledge of God, they would not retain it. I will tell you the result of a pagan acting up to his conscience, if you first shew me such a one. Cornelius was a converted man before Peter saw him. We have the sample of what man is in the Jews.

Let us go back: - God calls Abraham when the world would have the devil and idols instead of the one true God. Then comes law, and that was all broken; then Christ and then the testimony of the Holy Ghost as we read in Stephen's case, and they resisted that. I do not believe a thing about Gentiles, that I do not believe about myself: my flesh would go and do lawlessness. But they are not condemned for not having received Christ when they have not heard of Him. But the Holy Ghost not having been presented to the world, they have not so rejected Him, but the world is convicted and judged because it killed Christ, and in the testimony to Him where that is it now resists the Holy Ghost. The Jews had the law, and the prophets, and the Just one, and Stephen charges them, "ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as your fathers did, so do ye." That is the demonstration of sin. Then "of righteousness." If all the world is under sin, where am I to find righteousness? You will find it in two things, which are, "I go to my Father," and the other "you will see me no more." Christ's going to the Father is proof of righteousness, for He is the one that deserved to go; and I see Him no more, is proof of righteousness against those who have rejected Him.

284 In "and ye see me no more," it is you see Me no more in that character of mercy come as a Saviour; every eye shall see Him in His new character as Judge. If I receive the demonstration of the Holy Ghost convincing of righteousness because Christ has gone, I have ceased then to belong to the world, and have become a believer. The demonstration of sin may come fully to the conscience, in a certain sense of the word, but if the will is not changed, I gnash my teeth on the man who brings it to my conscience as they did to Stephen. Then there was conscience with a bad will. The sin of Christendom is the practical denial of the Holy Ghost; I say "practical," because orthodox people own Him as to statement. The root of the gospel is here, "righteousness, because I go to my Father." I do not get a man's sins dealt with in this demonstration, that is not the point; but it is the broad general truth of the general standing of the world. The One righteous man having gone to the Father, the world will never have Him here again as such, though believers may go to Him there. The world was judged in chapter 12, and the prince of the world is judged in this chapter. You do not see righteousness fully displayed anywhere save in the glory. The cross is the declaration, not of righteousness, but of the contrary. It is the ground of righteousness. But if I look no farther than the cross I see the only righteous man that ever lived forsaken of God. The "judgment" is not come. It is not merely Satan is judged but the world; the whole world, having come up against Christ whom God put at His right hand. But I see Satan the prince of it all, and the whole thing is bad from beginning to end, and the whole is judged.

285 The judgment was not actually come; there was a demonstration of judgment because the one who had the power of the world had committed himself fatally against Christ; but the presence of the Holy Ghost shewed it was against One who had broken his power and gone up to heaven. The presence of the Holy Ghost shews that Christ is in heaven, and righteousness is shewn in setting Christ there. The same thing demonstrated that judgment was there; for the one who had allowed it was in direct opposition to the one God had set at His right hand. But it was not the execution of this judgment yet. The prince of the world was cast out, for the world had fatally committed itself against the One whom God had set at His right hand. All this demonstration is in the world; what follows is among the saints. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now; howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will shew you things to come; he shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and shall shew it unto you." We have had the testimony borne by His presence in the world and now His work among the saints. First He guides into all the truth. That is a present thing. Then things to come are shewn. In all He glorifies Christ, taking His things, all the Father has, and securing them to them. It is for the world from verse 8. I take it that the expression "because I go to the Father," which He employs everywhere in John, flows from His speaking everywhere as the divine person who was come and went back, not as the dying man, though going through death, when all was over. He says, I am going away, and to the Father. No man takes My life away, Satan has nothing in Me. I am a divine person going to My Father; and when the proper time has come you will see Me again. They did not understand, and He says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice, and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy." It is not thus death and going to Him that He sets before them, but seeing Him again, which is a totally different thing.

286 In verse 13 "of himself," is "from himself." He will speak from the Father and the Son. The distinction between verses 13 and 14 is that the one is what He does, and the other is the object of it. He does two things - gives you all present truth, and shews you things to come, that is prophecy, of which there is plenty in the epistles and the Revelation, to say nothing of what He explains of earlier writings, and of Christ's teachings, which was more bringing to remembrance, but all part of the truth of course. Verse 14 is what He does: "He shall shew it unto you." But it is Christ He glorifies. The Holy Ghost reveals all that the Father has, and that can be, revealed, and all these things are part of Christ's glory. He specially speaks of Christ as gone. "He shall receive of mine," is not Christ's history as on the earth, so much, but all this new scene, though He does the other also. Here it is the new. They were wrought on by the Spirit to remember themselves what had passed on earth. They had seen it all; but here the Holy Ghost comes down, and, coming down brings the things they had not seen, that is, everything which the Father has and which belongs to Christ.

The point in the "little while" is that the Lord is not going to be lost, but as soon as God's purposes are accomplished He will come again. It is a great thing to take what is in a passage. And it was accomplished as far as resurrection went. The statement is that they would see Him again, for He was not gone and lost. The world rejoiced when He went away, as gone and done with. As far as it went, it was verified when He rose again, His disciples did rejoice greatly then; but it was not confined to that. It says, "your sorrow shall be turned into joy." And it was. In the sense of verse 16 we have seen Him. It does not say, we are sorrowing at His being lost; but they did sorrow, and it speaks of the condition of the disciples in their place. The world was delighted to get rid of Him, but He comes up again, and His disciples see Him and rejoice. We have not got into the one or the other case entirely. Christ is gone in a certain sense, and yet we have seen Him so that we are always rejoicing. The entire fulfilment will not be until Christ returns.

I was referring to verse 22. As to the present they have lost Him again, after they had been glad when they saw the Lord, but they never got back into the sorrow they had had. I think the passage refers mainly to the resurrection, the then present thing, though it is not entirely fulfilled until we see Him. As we were saying before, I have eternal life, and am looking for it, and even for justification in one sense as in Philippians 3, "that I may be found in him not having mine own righteousness." The disciples then were wonderfully dull of heart about it, and they had no understanding because the Holy Ghost was not given. The point to me is, they would see Him again which they did when He arose. The world would see Him no more, but they see Him again, and have a consciousness that, instead of a lost Saviour of Israel, they had got a complete one for the eternal purposes of God.

287 He is putting them here, as being Himself with the Father and having everything in His hands, in contrast with being a mere rejected dying man on earth as in the other Gospels, and puts them in the presence of the Father in grace, saying, "the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world and go to the Father." He is not here a dying man but a divine Person; I come from the Father and go back to the Father, and shall come again. The disciples got that, or part of it, when they saw Him raised from the dead, although the full result will not be until He comes again. They did not understand it then though they professed to do so, for they say, "by this we believe that thou camest forth from God." From the Father they have not entered into. The Father is looked at as giving Him all things, not merely is it that Christ came from God and went to God - that was the moral connection, He was going back to God in all His perfectness, but now He takes His headship over everything. "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name"; we ask the Father as brought into immediate relationship with Him, and in His name, as the one in and through whom we are thus in relationship with the Father. What title else have I to go to God? As to the Lord's prayer, here is one reason why it should not be used now: it would not be asking in Christ's name.

There is often great failure in going directly to the Father; it is in Christ's name, but people go not in Christ's name, in the Spirit of adoption, but to Christ if they could not go to the Father, like Martha: "what thou shalt ask of God. he will give it thee." They go as sinners, but inasmuch as Christ is there, they can go. Now that is not at all where Christ puts them here; "the Father himself loveth you"; all for Christ's sake, it is true.

288 Then the passage has been used for a very bad purpose indeed, "ye shall ask me nothing," as if you are not to look or pray to Christ Himself, a mere abuse of the words. They were not to come to Him like Martha and say, "I know that, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee." The Lord says, "do you come yourselves to the Father and do not be asking Me that I should go for you." But in all that concerns the administration, of what concerns His lordship on earth, the Christian prays to the Lord, not to the Son in that character. As a child and son I go to the Father, but it is to Christ I go, not to the Father, in matters that relate to His service. If I am a child, I go to the Father, but if I have something of administration in the church, I go to the Lord. It is a definition of a Christian that he calls on the name of the Lord Jesus; and you have Stephen's example, and Paul besought the Lord thrice. You cannot properly address the Spirit, but this is for another reason, the Holy Ghost being the One who is in me, and so He cannot address Himself. It is the different place the Holy Ghost takes in the economy of grace that is the reason of this. He is the agent in us to sustain us in prayer, for by one Spirit we have access unto the Father.

It is not intelligent to use that hymn, "Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly dove." God does not make a man an offender for a word, but it is not intelligent. "These things have I spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." "In me" not merely, not apart from me, but "in me." Godly persons have prayed for an outpouring of the Spirit. It was a mistake in divine knowledge. That was done on the day of Pentecost. But they meant well and earnestly desired really the more abundant action of the Holy Ghost. I have no feeling of attacking what is merely a want of apprehension, though I have no doubt such lose greatly by it. I believe too, it is necessary for the church of God that there should be the clear truth seen.

Chapter 17 is different from all other chapters in Scripture. It is not all a prayer of intercession but the thing that is peculiar, and which there is nothing else like is, that Christ is not speaking to His disciples but to His Father in their hearing. So He opens out all His mind to His Father while they are there to hear it, or, if you please, we are there to hear it. Of course this is a wonderful thing to be admitted to listen while He is unfolding to His Father all He has to say to Him about His disciples. And firstly He lays down the position. "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." Christ always has His Father's glory in view. And when He says, "glorify thy Son," we may remark these two points: He never, though Son of God having become a man, goes out of the place of receiving all from the Father. He does not say, Now I will glorify Myself; but glorify Thou Me. When glorified His object as such is to glorify the Father in that higher place and way though all was perfect here. Then he continues, "as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." He has title over all flesh, but with a special object too in that. He has power over all flesh; but the special intent is that He may give eternal life to as many as have been given to Him of the Father. "And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." That is, as I was saying, when you come to grace, it is Father and Son; it is the name that eternal life and blessing come in; it is the only full revelation of God Himself.

289 You get the three names we were speaking of brought together in Corinthians: "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord [that is, Jehovah] - Almighty." Almighty, Jehovah, and Father. Abraham's God Almighty, Israel's Jehovah, Father is God's name with us. Most High will be millennial. Father comes out in John 17. Almighty did not give eternal life, but kept Abraham from one people to another; and Jehovah was faithful to His promises, making them all good to His people. But this did not give eternal life, nor is it eternal life; but the moment the Father sends the Son, here is the grace that gives eternal life. God sent His only begotten Son that we might live through Him. We do not live through the first Adam. The Almighty watched over Abraham, but that did not give life, nor yet the government of Jehovah, but the name of the Father sending the Son does, and, receiving Him, we get it; that is eternal life. The Most High goes on to the millennium, and we have not come to that yet. "Father" is the special name that we have; it was revealed while Christ was upon earth, but not understood, because they had not yet the Spirit of adoption. Then comes the position we get this in; that the Father glorifies the Son, all power being given to Him to give eternal life to as many as God gave Him; and that eternal life was in the knowledge of the Father, the true God, and of Jesus Christ as sent.

290 Then comes another point. His work: "I have glorified thee on earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do, and now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." He had glorified God down here, and finished the work given Him to do. It is wonderful how the work itself is all passed over, but it is finished and He is looking at the one passing out of the world to the Father; and that is what has made the difficulty of understanding the seeing Him again, for He did not actually go to the Father till the forty days were ended: the work is finished, and then He goes back as Man into the glory of the Father. And then it is He makes us sons, glorifying God by His work, and we have part in the effect of it as sons. So you get the whole framework of grace in this chapter. He takes the glory as man having accomplished the work. "Glorify thou me with thine own self." "With" means "with Himself, along with Himself." He has just the same glory as the Father, but He never goes of Himself out of the place of humiliation. He was with the Father before the world was - one with the Father. You get that equality all through the Gospel. So here, "I have glorified thee," now "glorify thou me"; but He never says, "I have glorified thee, and now I will glorify myself." He receives everything, and will take everything as receiving it from the Father.

As to Isaiah 53:11, "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many," the meaning is very different. Christ does not justify us by His knowledge. The Hebrew word has two meanings. It is to justify; but it is also to "instruct in righteousness," though it goes farther, for He might instruct, and they not learn. But the meaning is they are really instructed. To justify by knowledge is very crooked. "It pleased the Lord to bruise him, he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand; he shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant instruct the many in righteousness, and he shall bear their iniquities." It is "instruct the many," but in the last verse it is "bare the sin of many," without "the"; there is a "the," or article, when it says, instruct the many in righteousness.*

{*Compare Daniel 11:33, and 9; 27; and the end of Romans 5.}

291 Notice now verses 4, 5. Christ receives as Man, what He had been in as a divine Person before ever the world was at all, and then you come to the next step, to bring out the part of those who were given Him. "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world." It is the Father giving to Him as Son of man, and He gets the whole place as receiving it of the Father, and having finished the work, He brings us into it, and then He manifests the Father's name to bring us into relationship in which He is as Son. He has communicated to them all the communications of the Father to Him as Man down here, so that they should enjoy the relationship as exercised in these communications. "I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me." Thus we get their place settled. First, He manifests the name; and next, whatever the Father had given Him He passes on to them that they may have the full enjoyment of it.

In verse 26 "thy name" is the Father. "I have declared, and will declare it." If I think of God as thus revealed, I think of the Father; because that is the name He has taken with me. Christ having become a man, has "emptied himself," and He looks up to the Father. To deny His deity is to take the opportunity of His having humbled Himself for our sakes and sins to deny the glory due to Him because He laid aside the form of it in love to us. He made Himself of no reputation and then as Man humbled Himself. Still, though He said, Freely do I come; when a body was prepared Him, yet He therein took the place of the sent One. But His moral glory was the greater; therefore doth my Father love me because I lay down My life that I may take it again. Now, He could say, is the Son of man glorified. When I get the perfectness of the love, I find the Father sent the Son forth into the world. If I get a man sent from God, whose name was John, he has a mission; but when I see the Father sent the Son, I get the infiniteness of the Son in love, become a servant. If you go back, you will see the thing the devil sought was to get Christ out of the place of servant, and lead Him to command - "Command that these stones be made bread." "No"; as it were, He says, "I have taken the place of service, and I will keep it."

292 The sent One, as such, is not equal to the one who sends Him. But then you get Him, the Jehovah, and Jehovah says, "I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God." Isaiah saw also Jehovah in chapter 6; and in John 12, referring to that passage it says, "These things said Esaias when he saw his glory, and spake of him." What he saw was, "Jehovah sitting on the throne, high and lifted up."

But again, I do not admit that He came merely as man. He undertook to come and do this will of God, a place of distinct service. "Mine ears hast thou opened" ("digged" in margin); Psalm 40:6. He undertook the service freely, and God prepared a body for Him. "He wakeneth mine ear to hear" as the learned, "the Lord God hath opened mine ear," that is, to learn down here; Isaiah 50:4, 5. God formed the place of service, and prepared a body, and Christ says, "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." We hear of the undertaking to come when the body was only prepared; He comes to take it and became flesh. Then His ears were opened morning by morning, and finally according to Exodus 21:6, as He who had completed His full service, loving the One whose due service He had performed, His wife, His children, in death He became a servant for ever. Compare John 13. His present place, and Luke 12 when He comes and takes those who watch for Him to Himself. I came forth from the Father, and came into the world.

There is no such thing in Scripture as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It is in Revelation 13, "Whose names are not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb slain." If people merely mean that the Lamb was slain before the world in the counsels of God, that is all very well, but in no other way.

293 Then He prays and first for the eleven; further on He says, "I pray not for these only" - all Christians are the gift of the Father to Christ; though the immediate application is to those brought in by the apostles. "I pray not for the world" stands in a way contrasted with Psalm 2. He leaves the world and does not pray for it. Intercession is only for those who actually believe. "I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me." He will ask for the world hereafter, but He does not occupy Himself with it here. It is in this verse that He begins to pray. "Glorify me" in verse 5 is not prayer. "And all mine are thine and thine are mine." It is precious to see these two motives given to the Father to keep us. If thou carest for Thine own thou must keep them, and if thou carest for My glory thou must keep them, for He adds, "and I am glorified in them." This gives two motives for keeping them, they belong to the Father and Christ is glorified in them. "And now I am no more in the world; but these are in the world, and I come to thee." There is His position taken. "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." As yet we have only got the disciples - the apostles. "While I was with them in the world I kept them in thy name, those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost." We get the name withal in which they are kept. Kept as by a Father, but as a holy Father, there is all the love and care of their being His own children, but the holiness of God's nature is the character in which He keeps them.

And now I have another thing to mark, and that is the three unities. First, it is the apostles "that they may be one as we are," and then the next is that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us that the world may believe that thou hast sent me," and that is for the others who believe through their words - communion as 1 John 1. And then there is a third, "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me." That is the glory. Display of the Father in the Son and of the Son in the saints.

294 The unity of the apostles was unity by the power of thought and work of the Holy Ghost. They were identical in counsels and purposes, being entirely under the Holy Ghost, they were all of one mind, and it was one thing. Then when the persons who had believed were brought in, they are brought into communion with the Father and the Son which the apostles enjoyed that they might be "one in us" as is said, may have communion with us, and our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. The apostles brought such into fellowship with them, and they then had communion with "us." Those who believed were brought into unity and communion, though they did not go out in action and counsel; but they are brought in to enjoy it in the Father and Son, and have fellowship with them. That would be the same as in John's first Epistle. It is unity of communion, not of divine action and counsel, and work. The third unity is simple; for there you have the glory, and you get what is descendible, so to speak, "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me."

The first is divine action and counsel and everything, referring to the twelve; the second refers to those who believe through their word, the Holy Ghost working by them, and these brought into communion, and all one that the world may believe; and then the unity in the glory, the glory given that they may be one even as we are one. The Father, glorified in Christ, and Christ glorified in us, and this glory He gives us that the world may know; for when they come out in glory the world will not "believe," but will "know" that God sent Christ, and, wondrous word! loved us as He loved Him, for they will see them in the same glory together. It is three steps, the giving out of the testimony by the apostles; the reception of the testimony through their means in the beginning; and the glory. The last is the same as in Thessalonians. "I am glorified in them" is also now, but He will be perfectly glorified in His saints. You get a picture of it in the Acts too. Well these are the three unities. "And now come I to thee, and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." There you have them put in His own place with the Father "my joy"; nothing less.

295 "I have manifested thy (the Father's) name." I have brought them in here, and I am glorified in them, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. Even then, all the words His Father had given Him He had given them. He had put them completely in His own place before the Father.

And now He puts them in His own place, not with the Father, but in respect of the world; "I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them." It is in the same place of testimony that He had been in. They are in the same place as Himself with the Father to the end of verse 13; and then He begins to put them in the same place as to the world, and He prays, "not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil." There I learn that He has made their place that which His was, giving them His testimony, the Father's word, not words here, and the world will not bear it; if you get into this place the world will not stand it. The world will bear a deal of religion, but not the Father. The Father dwells with the Christian; you are all outside, if you belong to the world and not to the Father. The Father has taken His Son up to Himself out of the world; and the Son says, "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me." "I have manifested thy name" and the effect is that I am rejected. The world has not known the Father, but the Father takes up the Son to His right hand, and the world is all left behind; but Christians are put in His place before the Father and before the world.

"Holy Father" is the name He uses in verse 11, where He asks for them to be kept; here it is "righteous Father" in speaking of the world. It is God, of course, but the friendship of the world is enmity against God, and God is righteous in reference to it. In verse 16 He says, "they are not of the world even as I am not of the world," and then goes on to how they are practically made not of the world as Christ was not of it. The Father's truth, and the Son at the right hand of God, these are the two great elements. "Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth." I want them apart from the evil, they are not of it, as I am not of it; thy word, the divine word, is truth, truth to separate them from it. And then "for their sakes I sanctify myself that they also might be sanctified through the truth." It is not only the Father's truth brought down by the Spirit so as to bring what is in His mind into ours and form us by it judging the evil; but Christ has set Himself apart as the One in whom all this truth is realised in glory, and as the object of their affections, so that they should be sanctified through the truth. Just as He had said before, "the truth shall make you free," and "the Son shall make you free." This is an important sentence; it is the way in which you are morally put in the place in which we are detached from the world. The truth shews us the divine nature, Christ, His death; it is the Father's word that comes from Christ who is gone on high, and it is with the additional fact that in Christ Himself it is all realised in glory. We have had now their place with the Father, their place in the world.

296 Then He prays "for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." And then comes the third position - the glory - "that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me." The difference between believing and knowing is not sufficiently noticed. When the glory comes the world will know that we have been loved as Christ was, for we appear with Him in the same glory. What a wonderful sentence it is! The Lord delights to shew that we are in the same glory with Himself. Like Moses and Elias in the same glory with Him on the mount. In one sense this closes the teaching of the chapter.

The last three verses of the chapter alone refer to heaven. "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me." He will have His disciples up there in the glory where He is; but this involves the question between Him and the world. And He appears to His Father to judge between the world and Himself. It is His direct desire for having them in the glory in verse 24, and then the decision as to the world comes in verse 25, and in verse 26 He says, "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them and I in them." That is a present thing. It is not "declaring," as before, that the world should know, but to the disciples; when the glory comes, the world will know that we have been loved as Jesus is loved. But we are to know it now, and for this purpose He has declared it, "that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them." He has made the Father's name known to us that the love wherewith He was loved may be in us, and He dwells in us as a kind of conductor of this love down to our hearts. There are two kinds of love known in the heart: God's love shed abroad there and the love of relationship in the Father; and different measures of it, according to our spirituality; but the living in it is the place we are in rightly, one child may feel its father's love better and deeper than another, but each is always in it. As a child, he has the Spirit of adoption and cries, Abba, Father; as to righteousness, he has it; and if I speak of a son, he is one. And he is all this through Christ. He has brought us into the same place with Himself. Such is the subject of the chapter. But you never find Christ taking us into the same place with Himself without His divine glory shining out and marking a difference in Him all the while. Still as to us and the ground of the relationship we are all in the same place. It is another thing whether the heart of the Christian in looking up has the consciousness of the same favour resting on him as rests on Christ; that may vary and in the same person too, but the settled consciousness of the favour is there.

297 In "He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one," we have the same thing. Before God we are of one, but He sanctifies, we are sanctified. And the nearer we are to Him the more we shall know it. You always get the difference kept up of the "sanctifier"; and they "sanctified"; but He does bring us into His own place, the same place in righteousness and life, and love. It is not merely that my sins are put away, through the work of the cross; that is not relationship, my debts are paid, and I have to be very thankful for it, but it puts me into no relationship with anybody. But Christ bring us into the same place as Himself, and then we come not only into relationship with Him, but also into His relationships.

Then just look a little at this expression - I feel it often in our worship meetings - "in the midst of the assembly will I sing praise unto thee." Christ is singing the praises, but He raises the song of praise as the consequence of His own place and ours being the same. He comes and brings us into this place and says, I will sing in the midst of the assembly He went down into the place of death and drank the cup of wrath, and comes out into all the blessedness of His Father's delight, not only as His eternal delight, but as having done the work for God - comes out and tells us His name, and then says, "you must come and sing with me." It shews how wonderfully He puts us into the place of relationship. And we cannot sing with Him unless we have found that deliverance which put the new song in His mouth. Even the bearing of sins and putting them away, though an everlasting ground of thanksgiving, is not a new relationship. What we are brought into is what the Father is to Him when He has accomplished the work: "thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee."

298 "That the love wherewith thou hast loved me, may be in them and I in them." It is a very wonderful scheme of God, to be sure, to bring poor worms, sinners, into the place of His Son; and all His glory is in it, His love, His righteousness, His holiness, His majesty, all are made good in that by which we were; that is what we have here, Christ glorified His Father - things for the angels to look into. "Herein is love with us made perfect that we may have boldness in the day of judgment" is different, in this, that there I have judgment before me, and you cannot have this here. That is the thing as I look at myself as a responsible being: responsibility leads me to judgment, but Christ has come in and cleared me from it all, and I am accepted in Him. But here I have another thing; what is He going to do with these redeemed people? He makes us "sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," "and shew the exceeding riches of his grace in us." He must clear them from sins first, that is true, but He had this thought in His counsels to set us before Himself in love, "having predestinated us into the adoption of children (sons) by Jesus Christ to himself."

John's epistle is the other aspect of this, from the judgment side of it; it is not the union and relationship side but the other side so that, when I think of judgment, it is no judgment for me. "Boldness in the day of judgment," is a strong word, but that is what the epistle gives; it is in the aspect of judgment. If I am the same thing as my judge, I need have no fear of judgment if the judge acts according to what He Himself is, because I am the same thing as Himself. What I feel so important is, that consciousness of relationship should be insisted upon. It is more than that question of judgment, only here it is all the same position as Christ, as well as in the epistle. I find so many brethren who linger round the fact of clearing us from our sins, and do not enter into the consciousness of our relationship in Christ with the Father. Every Christian ought to have a sense of relationship, just as a child has on earth. The moment I take my place in Christ by faith, I say "I am loved as he is loved," and I understand the aspect of the Father's love towards me.

299 I do not say if we are sealed, that we should not say, "Abba Father," but such an one may not enter into what it is to be loved as Jesus is loved, and that Jesus would have it so, and dwells in him that he might. You will find many brethren who really know they are forgiven, and yet have never thought of being loved as Christ is loved. It is to be known by faith, in the power of the Holy Ghost looking up and being there - through the word of course.

The Lord says at the end, "O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee." These have come unto Me, they have received the message. There is "the world" on one side, and "these" on the other. "I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me." And then comes what these souls get: "I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." Before, it was the righteous Father, and He decides between the world, and Christ, and His disciples; and the love comes in and puts them in His place. He does so now, just as the Father had said, "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again" - as He had done in Lazarus, and would do again in Christ. As to the same glory: there is the divine end of it so to speak, and the other end of it. We are one with Him and He is one with the Father. Christ and His disciples go together, and the Father is to decide between them and the world, "O, righteous Father."

He goes over the brook Cedron, and still you get the same divine character. You have nothing at all, not a word, of what is called Gethsemane, or of the praying and crying to His Father; it is not that side that we get here. They came to take Him, and He puts Himself forward. You get a divine Person who is giving His life, and He says, "Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also which betrayed him stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward and fell to the ground."

300 It is all power. He had only to walk away then. As soon as divine power was manifested, they all fell to the ground. Then He asks again, "Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he; if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way." He puts Himself forward, and all the disciples escaped, not in a very grand way, but still they are safe - the Good Shepherd puts Himself in the gap, and the sheep escape.

Now Simon Peter, who had been sleeping when he ought to have been praying, comes forward and resists. He cuts off the right ear of the high priest's servant, but Jesus says, "Put up thy sword into the sheath; the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it." This is not resisting; and it is all the Gethsemane you get here - a divine person as man, bowing to whatever is done as the Father's will. The Father has given Him the cup to drink, and He will drink it. He was a divine person, but a servant. Simon Peter denies Him; the high priest asks of His doctrine, and He answers He had ever openly taught in the temple; those who heard knew what He said. There is no recognition of authority anywhere though He submits to all. It is the Son of God who gives Himself. They lead Him to Pilate, and then what this Gospel so brings out is here again shewn, and that is perfect contempt for a Jew. Pilate asks, "Am I a Jew?" All through this is so. Our Lord says to the Jews, "Ye are of your father, the devil; ye have not the love of God in you." Pilate had the feeling of utter contempt. When the chief priest wanted to change the title on the cross, he says, utterly despising them, "What I have written I have written."

They claim that He should die. Pilate goes again, and asks, "Whence art thou"; and when He did not answer, he says, "Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above; therefore he that delivereth me unto thee hath the greater sin. And from henceforth Pilate sought to release him." The Jews cry, to work on his fears, "Thou art not Caesar's friend." "Therefore he that delivereth me unto thee hath the greater sin." Pilate had no power against Him really at all. If he believed that He was the Son of God, and there was at any rate fear in his conscience, he was helping on the devil's work against the Son of God, and any way he saw that in the Jews it was hypocrisy and envy.

301 Pilate's saying, "What is truth?" shewed he did not know what truth was. It is just what infidels say now. Their minds are always "open to truth," as they say, and this shews one clear thing - they have not got any. It is an old saying - "A fool can ask a question that nine wise men cannot answer." You will never find them state a truth; at best, everything is hypothetical. One said to me, "How can I get any good from anything I do not understand?" "Do you know how your heart beats?" I asked, "and do you not get any good by it?" He was confounded, but he got some good by it. And if I have truth, my love of truth is shewn by keeping it.

We find a complete apostasy of the Jews here. "It was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour; and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your king! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar." This was apostasy. It was denial of Messiah, their hope and everything else. That stamps their character.

They had a double council - one at night when He was taken, and then they came to a formal sentence in the morning. The narrative leaves much out here, as the interview with Herod, and many details. But it is all Christ in peace, who delivers His mother to the disciple, and then, knowing that all things were accomplished, He received the vinegar, and said, "It is finished." He was crucified at our nine, I suppose, and the darkness was from twelve till three, and then He died. There were six hours from the time when He was crucified, and the darkness was for three of them. Neither in Gethsemane, nor on the cross, have you a word of suffering in this Gospel. He bows His head, and gives up His own spirit.

He says "I thirst," that the scripture might be fulfilled. The suffering was all there of course, only this Gospel does not bring it out. In Matthew you get it all fully. In Luke you see a great deal more suffering in Gethsemane, and none on the cross. "Being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." There, and all through Luke, I get the Son of man, and not so much His divine person. As Son of man He goes through all sorrow, looked at as a matter of faith, in Gethsemane, and in spirit and heart He drinks the cup, so that, when He comes to die, the whole thing is perfectly calm. You get that side of it in Luke. And that is just what we ought to do - I mean, to go through all the sorrow and trial that is before us with the Father first, and when the sorrow itself comes, go through it in calm. Jordan overflows all its banks, it may be, but it is dry to us. Then in Luke it is simply said He expired.

302 Matthew gives us the sufferings on the cross fully: there I see the victim and the drinking of the cup. Is it not a wonderful thing to have the Lord brought down to us in this way - as Son of God and Son of man especially, all divinely developed for our souls to see what was going on? The vinegar was a kind of drink the soldiers had. Some have thought it mockery, but this is not the way in which it is presented here.

Certainly this is that death, where God and sin met in the sinless one, and death was what it could be to none but God, and yet He must be a man to die. He looked at it as the cup of the judgment of sin, God hiding His face, and yet there was perfect obedience manifest in man, besides the perfect love of God in it. There is no place like this; even the new heavens and new earth depended upon the cross, because God was perfectly glorified here as to the whole question of sin, and nowhere else; good and evil met perfectly; hatred against God and the devil's power and all possible evil in man to the highest degree. Christ, man perfect in obedience and love to His Father, having no sin, but made sin for us, while the judgment of God in righteousness against sin, yet in perfect love to the sinner; so that the question of good and evil might be settled and settled for ever, and by God Himself, the Son of God giving Himself as man for it.

Unrepentant sinners will be judged of course; will be judged, and justly, according to their works; but the cross has settled a great deal more than that; it has settled all that is in God's character as to evil and as to good. Christ says, "I have overcome the world," but also, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." And that work can never lose its value, and therefore I get the everlasting value of it when I get it at all. It was dealing with sin; but so as to put it away, and thus I get the new heavens and the new earth founded on it. Innocence was in the first earth, or garden of Eden, sin is in this, and righteousness will be in the next. The cross was to put away sin for God, and you get the new heavens and the new earth founded on sin being put away before God; righteousness then comes in. "He appeared once in the end of the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." The result is not produced yet at large, though it is in respect of our consciences. Heaven and earth shall bow to Christ, but that is things in heaven and things on earth, and things under the earth too, and that is final. Now God has been glorified finally, and this cannot change; and everything new is based on it.

303 The Lord's making John the guardian of His mother explains, "what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." But when His hour was come, and He had done the work, He could turn to recognise the relationship, seeing He was now no longer engaged in serving His Father on earth.

It was the scene that stands by itself. Pilate was alarmed and uneasy all through; his wife came and told him she had suffered many things in a dream because of Him, and he was to have nothing to do with that just man, but the Jews press Him on, though Pilate did it himself. Everything was exactly opposite to God; the disciples that ought to have been faithful to Him, run away, another betrays Him, another denies Him; the chief priests, who ought to have interceded for the guilty, plead against the innocent; Pilate, who ought to have justly acquitted Him and set Him free, condemns Him. Everything was exactly opposite to what ought to have been. The cross being there brought everything to the test.

Pilate represents the power of the world committed against Christ, and that has been fatally compromised there: it was the abuse of the power committed to the Gentiles by God. The Jews were the agents in it all, but Pilate was the government of the world recklessly rejecting Christ at the instigation of wicked men.

When the Lord returns, He will find the beast in power, and the Antichrist there. Evil will have all ripened into some positive shape, but otherwise it will be exactly the same. That is the reason why the Lord, as to circumstances, took the sorrows of the remnant upon Him. He had to do with the apostate nation, with the king Caesar; He had to do with them all, but did he find faith on the earth? The remnant will have to do both with apostasy and Gentile power, with this immense difference - that Christ went through judgment for them, and they will not have to do it.

304 The Jews have a tradition that Antichrist is to be of the tribe of Dan; and they look for Messiah Son of Joseph to suffer, and for Messiah Son of David to reign. Many now look for nothing at all. There is a rationalistic movement among them, and an attempt on the part of some to join the Socinians. Some will tell you that Christians have done a great deal of good, and many have read the New Testament, but many are infidels, and this is growing among them - on the one side the Talmudists, and the rationalists on the other, and some few in between these; but they are all uneasy.

In Revelation 13 we have Antichrist with two horns like a lamb, that is his royal character. In the first part of that chapter, the Roman power comes first, and they will both go on together, and play into each other's hands; but then the beast has not as yet actually come into Palestine; when he has, the second beast has truly his prophet character.

John alone of the evangelists mentions the flowing of the blood and water from Christ's side; he alludes to it in his epistle too. It is a beautiful testimony of divine grace, answering the last insult man could heap upon Him. They drove Him outside the camp, put Him to death on a cross, and then, to make assurance doubly sure, the soldier gives Him a blow with his spear. Salvation was God's answer to man's insult, sin in his rejection of Him, for the blood and water were the signs of it.

In John's epistle the water is named first, because, looked at on God's side, water comes first; in the history it cannot: "Forthwith came there out blood and water," in the epistle; "not by water only, but by water and blood." The point is that eternal life is not found in the first Adam but in the last; the witnesses to this are the water, the blood, and the Spirit. You want purifying to have eternal life; you will get it nowhere but in death, and in that of Christ in grace. You want expiation, and the blood of Christ makes that; you want the Holy Ghost. Christ is not only dead, but glorified, and the Spirit is given, the witness that there is no life in the first Adam but in the Son. Its power is found in that which marks the total breach of the first man with God and of God with him, save in sovereign mercy. In the epistle John is shewing that moral cleansing will not be enough. The Spirit is named first when God applies it. The word is the instrument, but it is by death itself: you must have cleansing, but the cleansing is death. The water, coming forth from the side, is purity; and you can have purity by death only, and by His death. Then Joseph comes before us, and Nicodemus too, when the thing comes to a point.

305 But in chapter 20 we get the whole picture of the dispensation, from the remnant of Israel that first received Him risen, to the remnant that will know Him when they see Him again, represented by Thomas. Mary comes early to the sepulchre, while it is yet dark; her heart is there, and she has no rest without Him. The others came when it was light - the natural hour to come. When they had been buying spices for the body and what they were going to do next morning, they come at the light. But Mary Magdalene has no heart to be without Him, and, before the light, she is there. The church began by a remnant, but John never gives us the church, but the remnant at the end, and in verse 17, "My Father and your Father, my God and your God" - two dispensations if you call them so.

First, Mary goes to the sepulchre and finds the stone rolled away. She runs and tells Peter and John, and they go to the sepulchre. Peter goes in first as usual; those two constantly go together, they both loved the Lord, but in very different characters. They do not shine in this history. They come and see and believe, and go away to eat their breakfasts, or for something at home. They did not know the scriptures, nor did they stay to be anxious about it at all. They saw and believed, for they knew not the scriptures. It was not faith in God's word but sight convinced them. The clothes all lay quietly there; there had been no stealing away, and they said He must be risen. Afterwards Christ reproaches them for their unbelief. At any rate like Mary, they might have inquired. Mary stays when they have gone off; and there she is weeping, and thinks when she sees Him He is the gardener, and says, "If thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away." She feels she has a right to dispose of His body, and talks to the gardener as if he knows all about it - "Tell me where thou hast laid him" - just as I might go to a house where one is ill, and say, "How is he?" without stating a name, because all hearts are full of the sick one. Then Christ brings out (the angel had done so too) where her heart was; and, when that is done, He calls His own sheep by name, and she turns and says to Him, Rabboni, that is, Master. Then she would have taken Him by the feet, but He anticipates her, for she thought she had got Him back again for the kingdom. You must not touch Me, "but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God." It is the highest expression of personal relationship, and she is the messenger of it to the apostles themselves. He has accomplished redemption, and they are His brethren, for He has put them into the same place as Himself. The women in Matthew touch Him, but they were no messengers of a higher calling in contrast with the kingdom. They thought nothing about the act save as a mere token of respect and attention, and He let them do it.

306 The Lord was not seen by Peter first. The women are not named in 1 Corinthians 15, because Paul is speaking of witnesses there; he speaks of Peter, and the twelve, and five hundred, and James, and that was all he wanted. "Then of the twelve"; that marks it.

It was written in the Book of Psalms, and his "bishoprick let another take." That was both reason and authority for choosing another. He has another to witness of His resurrection, because the Psalms said it was to be done. The number "twelve" is the perfection of human things in government; the foundations of the city, new Jerusalem, are twelve; so twelve apostles of the Lord. "Ye shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." There must be twelve.

Luke takes them all in a lump - Mary Magdalene and the other women, and puts them together; this is Luke's way - all in a lump together, and then he picks out perhaps a single circumstance in which deep and interesting moral traits are developed and that he gives at length. In verse 18 we get Mary Magdalene's testimony. The seeing and believing left the disciples at home, individually, but through her they receive testimony. Mary Magdalene is the figure of the remnant.

Then another point. We see them gathered, and Christ pronounces peace upon them. He had said before, "Peace I leave with you" - His own peace in the world, but here there is not only resurrection brought in, but the relationship. "My Father and your Father, my God and your God." And then He comes in a sense into the midst of the church gathered together, and, instead of saying, "Fear not," as He was wont while here below, the door was shut for fear of the Jews, and He says now, "Peace be unto you," for He had now made peace by the blood of His cross. As though to say, "I cannot stay with you, but I leave peace with you"; and He breathes on them too, and says, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." "As I cannot stay, here is a provision for you if I go"; such is the force of it. It is the Holy Ghost in the power of life in resurrection, not sent down from heaven. There is nothing special in the "eight" days, in verse 26. In one place you will find "after six days," and in another, eight. John never gives us the church as a doctrine, but we have historically their gathering together and He in their midst.

307 As to peace He says, "Peace be unto you; as my Father has sent me, even so send I you." It is characteristic now to be so. The word "peace" is an amazing word in scripture. "The God of peace shall be with you." He is never called the God of joy; it is never given as His character. He is, as God, always in peace, and never up and down as we are. Joy is a feeling that a man has when he is up, and presently it subsides, and he goes down again. Christ now brings peace - He has made absolute peace, perfect peace, and He brings it.

Then comes the breathing on them. It was the figure of the Holy Ghost coming after He had made peace; but as a fact it was the power of resurrection life. Just as God breathed into Adam's nostrils, so the resurrection Son of God breathes into them the power of the life He gives them as risen. In Acts 1 you get the sending of the Holy Ghost, not the breathing on them, not the power of life, but the Holy Ghost Himself received anew for others from the Father by the Son, and then by Him shed forth.

As to "Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them." They were the administrators of it in the world; first in the preaching of the gospel if you like; but afterwards, in the proper administrative sense. Here it is the apostles. But Peter in a sense remitted Cornelius' sins. Paul says, "To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also." And yet, if such an one is a believer, he has eternal life and forgiveness all the while. That is what I mean by administrative. Not the forgiveness in which the soul is justified, but the present conferring the forgiveness in the ways and government of God. James says, "And if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." If discipline is carried out, there the sin is bound upon the person. It is spoken here of the disciples, that is the eleven. The question has been raised, I know, whether there were one hundred and twenty that obtained this power, or only eleven. The great thing is to get what the Spirit of God is at in the passage, and afterwards the context as much as you like. Thomas is not there the first time. There might have been more than the eleven present.

308 As to binding and loosing the only thing that I see it conferred upon, after Peter, is in Matthew 18: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name"; forgiveness of sins is not named here, though this is part of it. The thing He is here speaking of is their administrative capacity. In those early days there was no such thought as receiving in anyone, and he not having his sins forgiven. It is the very thing, they, the disciples, were "sent" out for - to announce the remission of sins to give knowledge of the salvation of His people by the forgiveness of sins: only He gives the administration of it to them. I believe that any assembly of two or three in Christ's name (provided they look to Him, and do it in His name) have the power to bind and loose, and forgive sins; only this is not eternal forgiveness.

As to chapter 18:28, it is a question of whether Christ anticipated the Passover, for they began it in the evening, and among the Jews the evening began the next day, and was reckoned with it. It was dark when they went out. I did look into the thing once, but those things do not occupy me much. "That they might eat the passover," falls in completely with Christ being sacrificed on the paschal day; it is merely a question of why He ate the supper previously, and still it was on the same day. As to the title on the cross, here we get the whole - "Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews." One Gospel gives one part, and another another; but here you get it in full.

To return to the forgiveness of sins in chapter 20. He says "Peace [be] to you"; first by itself, and next, both on the Lord's day, says, "Peace [be] to you; as the Father sent me forth, I also send you." He brought the peace to them, and then He sent them out with the peace. Then He breathes the Holy Ghost into them, which, looked at as figurative teaching, in the dispensational teaching here given, is the same as sending it from heaven; but historically it was the power of life, and not the giving of a person.

309 When they brought the message of this peace and preached the gospel, that was the character of their mission; then there was restoring souls in details. The offering once offered, we have absolute remission, when it is a question of our acceptance with God; and then the administrative thing, as "Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins," to Paul. It is well to see that, as to forgiveness, it is not a mere perfect work by which I am to be forgiven, but I am forgiven. It is more than mere declaration. The woman in Luke 7 was forgiven in the mind of God, but she herself had it not until the Lord said to her, "Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace." I could not say that a person is sealed in the mind of God, because sealing is not a thing in a person's mind at all, and forgiveness is. I may have forgiven you an offence, but you are not easy until I tell you so; whilst sealing is a different thing in its nature. The woman did not get the forgiveness until He said so, though she saw the grace in Christ that drew her to Him. You find that constantly; you get it in pious souls, the sense of the grace that forgives without the sense of forgiveness. They love the Lord, but if I say, "Are your sins forgiven?" the reply at once is, "Oh, I could not say that." You find hundreds such. You see it as to salvation in Cornelius. He was to call Peter and hear words, whereby he and his house should be saved. He was safe really already. Justification is in the same way. People talk about eternal justification; but justification is not only what is in the mind of God, but in the man's receiving it, and therefore you get justification by faith. A person really is accepted, and there is the sense of the forgiving grace in the person of Christ, but the word of known forgiveness is not in the mind of the person himself. The same of justification. That is the force of the word, "He was raised again for our justification," because justification there is an active word in Greek - for our justifying - and then it adds, "Having been justified by faith," and so on. Faith must come in in order to our actually having it, and the man has not got it until faith. Suppose a thousand pounds given to me, I must sign my name for it. Actually I do not get it until I sign my name.

310 In Matthew 18:15-18, the inheritance of binding and loosing is given to the two or three. Thus the binding and loosing power which is claimed by clergymen and others, and which was given first to Peter, has its succession in the two or three gathered together, and not in clerical successors. And that has its importance in these days. In Matthew it is not absolutely the same as in John 20:23, for it may apply to other things. The main point is the same no doubt, and has always been considered so, though not exclusively that. It is almost always "heavens," not "heaven." The place is lost sight of when we say "heaven," because we talk loosely of going to heaven. It is the "kingdom of the heavens"; that is, belongs to the heavens and not to the earth. "Heavens" is the place more, but "heaven" is characteristic. You may use both so, but I should say, "The heavens are higher than the earth." We use the heavens more materially in a way. There are habits of that kind in language which are not absolute.

Peter is represented as having "keys," but it is an important point to notice that there are no keys of the church; that is a mere blunder. "I will build," says Christ; and Peter had nothing to say to it except the privilege of getting the name "Peter." The administration of the church was not committed to Peter, but of the kingdom. The church in this sense is not even built yet; whereas the keys of the administration of the kingdom of heaven upon earth were committed to him; and he lets in the Jews and the Gentiles. That is the force of "keys." "The key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder," Isaiah 22:22, has the same meaning. It is the charge of administering the kingdom of heaven down here. That is where popery has made an immense blunder, though very natural to the state of that church. It has taken Peter instead of Paul; there is no successor to Paul, and they do not attempt it. Peter had to follow Christ, and Judaism came to nothing, and the circumcision church died away at Jerusalem. They take up with Peter because the church dropped into a Judaical state. You never hear of a pope as the successor of Paul. The entire thing is ridiculous, because after all you have no succession of Peter. As to successors to Timothy, whom Paul appointed in a way (but not to be his successor), nobody has thought of that, except in some general idea.

311 It is curious how and where things come out. There are those now and doctors of divinity too; one of them goes through all this, and declares there is no ordination to the ministry in scripture, and no sacraments in scripture, and that one person is as competent to administer as another, that certain things must be done, but there is no authority in any clergy from scripture. He says there was no such thing in the early church at all. And it is so - there was not. He admits that the apostles appointed elders, as indeed is plain, but it must be taken for granted that they did it with the concurrence of the people, because Clement says so. Clement owns no bishop. Vigilantius was cursed by Jerome in an awful way; but he stopped on his way back and stayed among the Vaudois. Tillemont says of Jerome, "we may learn from this what a church saint is." He is as abusive and vengeful as possible, only he praises celibacy. Chrysostom and Augustine fell under his lash.

But we were at forgiveness: and now we get the remnant in the last days, and the three times that Christ reveals Himself to them, as it says in chapter 21:14: "This is now the third time." He had seen them ever so many times, but as to this kind of definite public and positive shewing Himself, the first time was on the Lord's day (chap. 20:19); then when Thomas was there eight days after in verse 26; and then in the last chapter picturing the remnant at the end. Calling this the "third time" is a proof that the third time is used with a kind of specific figurative character. Thomas being absent the first time, had no part in this Christian mission, but he comes in afterwards, and believes when he sees.

Let us look now at the different missions in the different Gospels. In Matthew you have no ascension, and you get the mission from Galilee. The angels tell the women to "go quickly, and tell his disciples," not "I ascend to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God," but "that he is risen from the dead, and behold he goeth before you into Galilee, there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you." And then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee unto a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him they worshipped, but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth; go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." There you get the mission in resurrection from Galilee, and from the remnant of Israel looked at as thus gathered, and going out to disciple the nations or Gentiles. And that never was carried out in scripture, except it be a hint in Mark at the utmost. And not only you do not get it carried out negatively, but you also get positively the going to the Gentiles given up to Paul. The apostles gave it up, and agreed that they should go to the Jews, and "that we should go unto the heathen." You find it in Galatians 2. And then you get the church an entirely new kind of thing. As Matthew's mission, everything was provisional, not carried out.

312 But there is another thing which gives an intimation about it, and that is, when the Lord sends them forth, He tells them (Matthew 10) "If they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another; for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come." But in Acts you find that, on persecution arising, they all fled, except the apostles, and that must be taken into account as to the way in which the instruction was practically carried out. For the Gentiles there is an entirely fresh start from Antioch when Paul is sent out by the Holy Ghost. There was then very nearly a split between Jerusalem and Antioch, but they were united and kept together as you find in Acts 15.

Well, the mission in Matthew starts from Christ's connection with the remnant in Israel. In Mark, it is more general. You get more the service of Christ there; and in chapter 16:15, He said unto them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"; that is the largest and most general commission you have, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." It is the more remarkable because that is the part of Mark which the learned Germans reject from verse 9 to the end. In what precedes you get this Galilee revelation of Himself, but no heavenly revelation, no Bethany revelation at all. In what they consider genuine in Mark you do not get the ascension; they only go to the instruction in verse 7, and stop with "They were afraid" (v. 8). But in Mark they are sent to Galilee, and the history is pursued regularly on that basis up to the end of verse 8, but if you stop at verse 8, it stops all of a heap, and you get no mission at all. In these last verses you get His appearings to them, and the facts are what are recounted in Luke and John, and the mission is added in verse 15; it is not said in what connection, and then He is received up into heaven. They go forth, the Lord working with them, so that there you get the mission from heaven with power. It is the Luke commission from verse 9. In Luke you only get the last part of Mark, who gives Matthew up to the sepulchre, and parts of Luke and John. In Luke 24 "It behoved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." He, taking the mission from heaven as Paul did, takes in Jerusalem as much as the nations, "the Jew first, and also the Greek." Then "He led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lift up his hands and blessed them; and it came to pass while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven." So Luke's mission practically comes from heaven, it is in Bethany and not in Galilee. Galilee is the mission to Gentiles only from a risen Saviour in the place where He had the poor of the flock; Luke's commission is from heaven, and is Pauline in character. In Mark you have "Go to Galilee," but you have no Galilee mission at all. In John you get no going to heaven, but you get them sent out for the remission of sins: "As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you." It is a mission from the divine person, not from a place at all. And then it is by the Holy Ghost: He gives them the Holy Ghost and the forgiveness of sins; and so there is no ascension in John, for this would give a place, though a heavenly one.

313 And now it is all purposely mysterious in the end of John. It is remarkable - all the puzzling of men's minds about these things, when it is just an inlet into the fulness of truth. "After these things" (chap. 21:1), it is all mysterious. Peter was going back to the old work from which he had been called. Peter might have wanted his dinner. But it was ordered of God for His own purposes. And they went forth, but that night they caught nothing. When the morning came, Jesus stood on the shore, and asks, "Have ye any meat?" They answer "No." He says, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find." And they were not able to draw the net for the multitude of fishes. "Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved [the secret of the Lord was still with him who loved and kept close to Him], saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him (for he was naked), and did cast himself into the sea, and the other disciples came in a little ship (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits), dragging the net with fishes."

314 But the Lord had fish already; He had got the remnant with Him on shore, and then you get the millennial haul. It is all purposely mysterious. Where did He get the fish He had? It does not say. But "Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three; and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken." Now when the gospel haul was depicted (Luke 5:6), the net was broken; but here, the Lord being there, the net did not break. The gospel net gathered fishes, and does now; but as a whole, the net broke, and they began to sink. Here they haul them in, and the Spirit of God notices that the thing is complete. The fishes gathered out of the sea are the nations; but the Jewish remnant is on the shore already.

We may here remark how Augustine makes a mess when he gets on the unity of the church. It was settled at that time that they should not re-baptize heretics, and so the Donatists say to him, "You do not re-baptize those you call heretics because they have already received the Holy Ghost by our baptism, but how could we give the Holy Ghost if we have not got it?" And Augustine could say nothing, for it was a decided thing already. They confounded the outward thing with the inward. Augustine felt the reality of divine things, and was trying to unite the two - the outward and the inward He took the outward thing as the union with Christ, and said there was no salvation out of it.

"Jesus then cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples after that he was risen from the dead." And now He begins with Simon Peter and the mission He has for him. There is a mission that goes before Christ's coming - a kind of John the Baptist mission; and after that they go out and bring the nations in. The disciples had not yet the Holy Ghost, and understood nothing. Israel will be the head of nations, and the nations will take hold of the skirts of a Jew, saying, "We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."

315 The unbelieving Jews before that will join the Gentiles in total unbelief. Any who are converted will be persecuted horribly, and their blood will be shed like water. The Gentile haul will be for the millennium. Compare Revelation 7. The Jews will understand it, as everybody will then.

The net full is the millennium all through; it is merely a general idea of a whole body of people, but these passages refer to the beginning of it all. In the last of Isaiah you find the Gentiles will bring the Jews all in. Matthew 25 is the judgment on the nations. But the remnant, you remember, is distinct from the haul. Matthew 25 is at the beginning, and so is Revelation 7, where they come out of the great tribulation; both these speak of the beginning, but in the haul, the net not being broken the effect goes on. The gospel net is going on now. The net breaking is simply that the system gave way. Then we see the Lord and the disciples eating together. This completes the picture.

Then Simon Peter comes, and the Lord takes him and tests him as to his fall. "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?" That is what he pretended to do. "He saith unto him, Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love [am attached to] thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs." He asks a second time, and Simon replies the same, but the Lord changes the words then into "Feed my sheep," or properly, "Shepherd my sheep," not "feed." It is one of the defects of the English translation, that they have put the same word where the original has different ones, and different words where the original has the same. Then the third time, instead of using the same Greek word for "lovest," as in the first two questions, the Lord changes the word, and uses the same word [phileo] that Peter had used in his two answers. He took Peter up as it were on his own expression, and asks him, "Art thou attached to me "; Peter answers, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love [am attached to] thee."

The Lord never reproaches Peter for the fault, but He probes him - probes the root that produced it; and when He has thoroughly humbled him so that he is obliged to appeal to divine knowledge that he did love, then He commits all that is dearest to Himself to Peter. He had said to him before (Luke 22) that He had prayed for him, "that thy faith fail not, and when thou art converted [brought back], strengthen thy brethren. And he saith unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day before thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me"; and now, when Peter is broken down and the flesh proved, can He say, as it were, "you are fit to serve." You see how He takes that up, "when thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest," there is human will; "but when thou shalt be old thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me." That is exactly what Peter had pretended to do; he had said, "I will follow thee to prison and death." Now He says, Of your own will you cannot. It is a beautiful expression of the Lord's love and a pattern of the Lord's restoring grace.

316 Everyone has to go through that, though you see many a person serving sincerely who has not been broken down yet. Yet I believe it must be got; if one does go and make messes, he gets it afterwards. There is a positive breaking down of flesh, and then when you know it can do nothing but mischief, which is all it can do, there is still the watching of it after its back is broken, so to speak. Peter's mission to the circumcision comes to nothing in the outward sense, and he follows Christ. As to outward work for the Jews, Christ's mission had come to nothing, and so had Peter's: Jerusalem was taken, the Jews were rejected, and the church as Peter had it was altogether nothing, being supplanted, as you may say, by Paul's. So with Paul himself, when Jesus spoke to him, and he fell to the earth, he asks, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Before, in his own energy, he had had no hesitation what to do, and went very vigorously about it. And afterwards he was away for three years to learn, though he was first allowed to give a full testimony at Damascus; "And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God." In that way Moses needed to have forty years in the desert before leading out the people.

Then Peter asks about John, "Lord, what shall this man do?" and Jesus says, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me." John does not come under "Follow thou me," but has to continue until Christ comes, and not be cut off as it were. John always speaks so of himself; there is a fitness for John's ministry in it. It shews a complete attachment to Christ personally. You never get the church in John's ministry; it is always the individual; and, Christ being personally the thing he clings to, all that is vital and essential to souls (supposing the church goes to the winds) is there still. And John was just the one to hang over the ruin of the church and carry out the essential of Christianity. John's ministry did tarry till Christ came, next the Antichrist in his epistle, and then the church spued out of Christ's mouth, and so on. The other disciples took the words as if John would not die, but this was not said. Then you have no Paul, no founding of the church, as a distinct thing, no ascension here: we are in Galilee with a mysterious intimation of what was going to happen, and Christ is in Galilee, not in Bethany when it ends, but He here gives no mission from Galilee; we have Peter following Him, and John tarrying till He came again, mysteriously, and meant to be so.

317 But Peter in his second epistle gets beyond this into new heavens and new earth. And you have the day of the Lord in which "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat." Peter's epistles are the government of the Lord, the first being the government of the saints in the world, and the second more the government of the world - its judgment. And therefore he carries this on to the new heavens and new earth. But you have nothing of the Lord's coming except that the wicked despise it.

The first epistle is government for, and the second is government against; the first is taking care of the saints, the second is power over, and judgment on, the wicked. Peter forms in that way a connecting link. We are not of the world at all, but there is an application of the government of God while we are passing through it. We find the saints suffering for righteousness' sake, and suffering for Christ's sake, and God's care of them in it all. That is in the first epistle. The second is government in respect of evil. John's ministry was different; his life hung as it were over the seven churches.

"Whither thou wouldest not" means against Peter's will. With his flesh unbroken he could not follow Christ at all, but afterwards he would. It is in the fullest contrast with Paul in Philippians, a totally different kind of thing. It is just the opposite to Mark 10. The young man is righteous according to law, and, instead of counting all dross and dung, he goes away sorrowful because he has great possessions. Instead of the righteousness of faith, the young man was looking how he was to be righteous in his own way. It is a wonderful thing - God's mind being all brought before us in this way. The leaving out of Paul and all that belongs to his ministry strictly is very striking here. His was an extra mission, being "one born out of due time"; and even Peter speaks of him as writing "things hard to be understood" in his epistles. There is nothing about demons in John's Gospel: "ye are of your father the devil" you get, but no demons possessing men. You have the Lord in His own divine person, and the devil is the adversary.