J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 6.)
A little, but most deeply affecting, scene is then brought out: Christ at His burial supper. For now the Lord let in upon His thoughts and mind the path He was treading, that we might see Him in the meekness of the prepared Lamb; and this last circumstance brought out on the secret of the treachery of Judas shown before, casting its shadow before, in the path the Lord was treading. He well knew what He was entering on; for this is the deepest mystery. We do not dwell, nor could Christ dwell upon it: "If it were an open enemy, I could have borne it." Oh, it was a sad, sad hour! (see chapter 13:21.)
We dwell on the circumstances. It was the place where Lazarus was, that Lazarus that was dead, whom Jesus raised from the dead. There He was called to supper. Lazarus? Strange scene! the Lord sitting in the sense of what He was; and Lazarus was there. Martha served, willing, but according to her custom. (Oh! keep us near thee, Lord, in heart, the nature of our service.) Mary! the memory of whose love is fragrant, as the burial ointment of the Lord, in the remembrance of His disciples, filling the house; for love to Him does fill the house even now. It is very precious, this ointment, this grace of love; and all is on Jesus. She, however poorly, would thus express it, and she anointed His feet with the nard, and wiped it with the hairs of her head.
Strange to many! but the Lord, the perfect Lord, knew where it was applied; yea, He knew whence it came; the sweet savour of the Father's witness of love; the beauty of the pearl of great price was in it. He was a skilful merchant to know His Father's love was there; it was balm, love poured of God the Father into the heart of this poor woman, that it might reach the heart of Christ in the woundings of the house of His friends. And the love was suited here; it was the return of grace; and treachery for the moment lost its baseness; that is, it was soothed in the balm of this love; the wound lost its pain.
193 "Let her alone." With her and them He was occupied; not with him only; for, indeed, they were all (but for saving grace) in the same state; and He is now before us as generally deserted, even by His disciples. He speaks as driven into His own grace, and finding it here; though justly addressed to one here, as recorded of the apostle, who could in the same grace separate: "She hath kept this." She could have spent it on Him before; and it might have gone; His heart would not have spared it to the poor; but the Father's love in her, she, and in the estimation of God, though we know in ourselves whence it is, had kept this for His burial. Nothing can be more exquisitely beautiful. And be at rest, says the blessed Redeemer, "Ye have the poor," if ye be so anxious, "always with you"; let this little token be spent on Me, this token of love: "Me ye have not always." Oh! the meekness of beauty which in so awful a bitterness of evil thus in divineness of grace cherishes only, and justifies for this poor woman, this token of love. (Lord, may be bow at Thy feet, and show the odour of our love to Thee, that while we think of Thee, the bowels of Thy saints may be refreshed by it and Thee.) Such is the balm for evil in the world, Christ's comfort in apostasy: "She hath done what she could."
Note also, where there is simple love and devotedness, how the Lord directs into conduct which, from its perfect suitableness of affection, the Lord recognises as the expression of the sympathetic thoughtfulness of love: "She hath kept it for my burial." Now, she had had it long time; then she might (and we are assured, was willing to) have spent it on the Lord Jesus; but the Lord ordered that she should keep it to that fitting moment when it was in effect the soothing expression of thoughtful affection. How graciously ordered from on high! "It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with the hairs of her head." So says the beloved disciple.
Now, Martha loved Him, and the Lord loved her. She served before, and she served now. But this was not what personal affection called for now, though accepted. Into this Mary was led in knowledge (nay, but by the Lord of knowledge), though by affection; and the Lord interpreted it according to its real value from the Lord upon her. And so are we, and shall be, led (when there is this suitableness, simplicity, of affection) by the Spirit into right acts of suitable affection, when we wait upon it, upon the Lord; for He directs, unseen, every step.
194 This opened the scene of deliberate apostasy, the touching scene of Christ's comfort in it: not from His disciples; though no traitors, through His grace. And under what circumstances! what cutting consciousness of the mad ungratefulness of the apostasy! His anointing for burial going on in the presence of him whom He had just raised as from "by this time he stinketh"; and the seeds of apostasy now breaking out; but withal the fragrance of love to His soul. Well, too, might it be said (oh! sad, yet blessed word to them to all): "Ye have killed the prince of life."
But the purpose of the priests was resolute, formed in evil. They sought to put Lazarus to death, because the Jews therefore went and believed on Jesus. What a testimony! But they were deserted by it. (Lord, may I be deserted wherever any of Thy children have more grace, more of Thee to know and feed upon. But let it not be so if it seemest to Thee food. May they surely be fully fed, know what cannot be known, the blessed fulness which is in Thee from God.)
These, observe, were of the Jews. It would appear from that, "hupeegon" (were going away), that they went away, and consorted with the Lord so far; that is, as going to Him. They went and believed on Him, so that there was a multitude with Him; and a multitude met Him because they heard that He had done these things. The others were convinced, it is to be supposed, seeing Lazarus, for "a great crowd of Jews … came … that they might see." On the morrow a great multitude, "having heard … took." But when there was none to know Jesus, the Lord had prepared a testimony; for (which is important to remark) His disciples did not understand these things at the first; they, as free from looking for it, were ignorant of it all. The testimony was from the Lord upon the hearts of the people. This was His testimony then of love in the treachery of His disciple, if the honour of the people in their ignorance. "Hosanna," said the multitude. He must have the honour. His disciples are always last to give it. The little they have received has so implicated their own minds, they are so occupied with the circumstances they are placed in by it, that they are incapable, unfit to see further, and bear this witness. But they receive it, and they who are no self-willed witnesses, bear testimony alike to their Master and to them. The world went after Him: part with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb, part meeting Him because they heard it.
195 The multitude were witnesses to Him. Thus it was that God provided testimony to His Son. Note also His Kingship of Israel. His Sonship of David depends on His resurrection power. So Paul (Acts 13:34). But the Lord gave this testimony to this part of His character also: "Hosanna to the king of Israel, who comes," etc. It was an external testimony; but that was immaterial here, yea, it was in spite of all the opposition of His nation, and therefore the more powerful, so that the Pharisees said to themselves, "Perceive ye that ye prevail nothing? lo, the world is gone after him." And so it shall be. It is upon the exaltation of Him to be King of Israel, that is, the multitude of Israel owning Him to be King of Israel, that the world shall go after Him, as the resurrection is the ground of their faith now. We shall see what follows.
This was the second seal put upon Him, or rather the first, for the raising of Lazarus was the intrinsic proof from Himself who He was; this the consequence. In the meanwhile the love of the Remnant comforted Him; nor must we omit the willing service, though less attached, of Martha.
The second result, I mean further typical result, followed. There were certain Greeks (note, Hellenes) who came up to worship at the feast, this Feast of Passover, alike the witness of the suffering of the Lamb, which was the power and the deliverance, which was the result to the Jews (and what followed). Bethsaida was connected with Galilee (hagoiim, the nations). These Greeks came and asked, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." It seemed a strange event; natural association gave, however, the occasion to forward it to Jesus. Philip tells Andrew. He also, with Peter, was of Bethsaida; and they tell, acquiring thus strength, Jesus.
But here the glory of Jesus was, manifestly, broke forth. It was but a small thing that He should be God's Servant to restore the preserved of Israel; but He should be for a Light to the Gentiles. Glory was to come in here. He was to inherit the praise of Israel. Therefore the Lord says, "The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified." "I will make him," saith the scripture, "the Head of the heathen; higher than the kings of the earth"; "the glory of his people Israel." But He knew there was that which must come in first. He knew it well in the witness of truth that was in His soul. But He knew it in sorrow for Israel. For all this witness comes in after Israel had rejected Him. Alas! sad truth; but that which He wept over shall surely rise to joy; for, watered with His tears, if it tarry long because of righteousness to Him, shall because of righteousness to Him, and His righteousness, spring up the fruitful seed and harvest of His long sorrow. He shall come again with joy, and bring, not only the sheaves of His risen harvest, but Jerusalem risen from her ashes, the blessed and joyous proof that His tears, Christ's tears, were not shed in vain over Jerusalem, any more than over Lazarus. It is for His sake. The witness is in His love; and so it is in Isaiah 49 on this very topic. They shall learn that it is because of Him; they shall join their tears, and come with weeping, though they shall return with joy, and joy shall be upon them then, the [millennial?] age.
196 The King of Israel might have been received. This was the glorifying of the Son of Man. Other thoughts were necessary here; yet in dispensation the rejection of Israel preceded it. Yet [that] this was the place of His reception, His portion, was plain. Well, He felt what Israel was doing, and what portion He had to take. He speaks [of] it here. The Gentiles did but show where it tended, what was all to come; glory indeed, but the glory of a rejected Jew, of a crucified Saviour, Lord; yet the glory of the Son of Man; for it must be by death. The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. This was witnessed in the coming in of the Gentiles; for they were to come to the light, the reception of Jesus by the Jews, which was here in a certain sense wrought, in the witness, that is, of God. But indeed He was rejected by them as to present corporate character; and then the great necessity of God came in: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat falling into the ground die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit." The Lord, the Son of Man, would have been a good corn of wheat, one fit for the husbandman, the Lord non-impeachable in beauty and worth. But to produce fruit it must die, die by the dispensations of God, die because sin had entered into the world, because no sinner could be brought with Him then into the Father's house, to God. He must die to be a risen Head of redemption. Men were, He knew they were [dead]. They had proved themselves so, simply such. He must abide alone. Then there could be no quickened sinner but on the forgiveness of sins; none without the cleansing of it by His blood. They were dead then; their works were dead works, not service of the living God. They must die to what they were alive in, that they might live to what they were dead to in trespasses and sins.
197 Christ was alone in this matter, and He must die alone. Sinless among sinners, what fellowship could He have with them as alive, risen? He could bring life in love to them, having died for them, and sorrow, though it were to die from them; yet not be alone then, and the Sent Source of life. It was righteousness to God, too. Thus, alone, He was justified in thought towards man, and His love made righteous way for; yea, made by this of Jesus the very glory of His character. As for reprobate, sinful, Jesus-rejecting man, He must die. As for God, He must die too; a solitary place; yet not quite, yet so alone. Yet His Father's love quite upon Him: "Therefore doth my Father love me, because," etc. And yet quite alone; alone, to His own incommunicable glory, where none else ever was: the ark of the covenant in the waters of Jordan, parted hither and thither till His people had all passed over.
NOTE. - This is truly given so far, but very imperfectly. It seems to identify the glory of the world's inheritance with the ascended glory, the absolute glory of the Christ, the glory of the Son of Man. This is very blessed. It makes the rejected glory the highest; the poor rejected Gentiles identified with the unsearchable glory of Christ. Nothing but that could bring them in, and they are as it were made first by it. The world all along is John's subject; and Christ treats even the Jews as of it in their place (as Jeremiah 24), the Son of Man taking even death, the full result, on Him; yet herein having all the glory of glorifying God, and inheriting for man. It was universal glory, too, which is indeed glory; but its union, that is, Son of Man's glory (here spoken of) with the height of all personal and divine glory, in and of that in which God made to be glorified, is most blessed, and hence the bearing of the following passage (v. 32).
The other glory was official, as it were, though righteous, or, as Son of God, personal power; but here, being thrown into the full question in death, He rises vindicatively over all evil into the fulness of all glory, for He had gone to the uttermost of evil. Hence the other glory (save the power of His Person) was mediate; that is, Adam having ruined everything in sin, intermediate dispensations met no constancy in man, nor power to receive (being evil) the exercise of that power as sustaining these. They rejected Him. But now He takes it up in the full result of Adam's evil, and assumes it in the constancy of His own glory, from which the stability of all these might stand in grace; not from the weakness of the first Adam, but the honour and glory of the Second, who embraced them all, having indeed in Person fulfilled them all, through the surrounding weakness before; but now to take it, having borne all the result of their evil in weakness, in the glory of His Son of Manship, responsible as from Adam, but victorious in fulness of responsibility. It was death to all into which sin had entered, corrupted. But the Jewish system was short of death; it took up the world, and found or made blessing in it. But in this there was utter failure. The power of life in it was rejected, even the Lord (Jesus); and Christ re-assumes it, not as having created in Sonship into which sin had entered, but in redemption, as also therein sin, being Son of Man in the responsibility. Hence also the importance of seeing Jesus as Son of God in creation, or we break the link of creation and redemption unity (see Col. 1). Then being Son of Man He is the Second Adam of the new creation, the First-born over all things, as begotten from the dead; to the Church as Head over all things (redeemed in Him) to it.
198 The verses thus: the Lord sees His glory in it (as before God, of course), then the necessity of death: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die"; the necessity as regards His followers, the moral truth: "He that loveth his life," which goes forth into the ruined, sin-possessed world, "shall lose it: he that hateth it in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." Those acting for Jesus find this distinction: "He that will serve me, let him follow me; and where I am," the simplest result, "there shall my servant be," blessed in the privilege of sonship, but necessarily to follow Jesus through death, the path He went; one morally life, the other being where Jesus is, as in Matthew 5 and 1 Peter 3 and 4. But note, lest we should think it a meritorious exertion, the principles are identified in Matthew 16.
In Christ, "What shall I say?" brings out perfectness: "Father, save me from this hour"; in us the groan of weakness, it may be, but still well known, as His groan to God also. There is great blessedness in this: "Father, glorify thy name"; for it is and must be all blessedness to us. It is a Father's, our Father's, name which is to be glorified. Let the need of our submission be what it may, it would not be greater than Christ's. He perceives the glory beforehand, sees the necessity associated with it; bows in perfect submission, going down into the valley of humiliation, yea, to the very darkness of death in obedience, and lives to see the glory distinctly which He had seen across the chasm. So even we, though we know the way down, always see glory in result while in the valley; but it is the way to it. He saw the glory in Himself; first, "that the Son of Man," etc., as generally in result; afterwards as connected with death and His triumph over all, the prince of this world cast out; in John 16 judged, because that is the Spirit's testimony; here cast out, for this is Jesus', the Son's, work.
199 The glory of this bore much fruit. Observe how our Lord reflects upon it, adducing the well-ordered illustration. But how divine it was thus to speak of Himself, in the sure prospect that His death in power and God's appointment would bring forth all the result! Strange, looked at as suffering it! How beautifully it rises on His glory! how painfully sure in its necessity! Yet how meekly does He enter into the way of it! His meek heart takes from the witness of His glory its truth in necessity from God and from man, resurrection necessity; but how low and how lowly! Not a craving thought! The glory does but make Him think of the death. He took no glory; death was His glory, as a Man among sinners, as bowing to the necessity of God. Yet what vast, what infinite obedience, when we remember who He was! Conceive such a sentence in that which goes before. He saw, acquiesces, and pleads the principle, but a principle of necessity, necessity imposed upon Him (yet nothing which made His glory); yet imposed so that He must go down, obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. Strange, yet glorious! for it is alone; there is nought like it; it is in this the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified. Ah! how I see His glory shining through this way of the Cross! yet not separate from His Father; yet that which was inseparably from the Father; yet inseparably His own; for the divinity of the Son is preserved in the incommunicable glories of His Manhood acts. If the Father had not been, then He could not have died in love; and yet it was exclusively the Son who did it in Person, and that in unity with the Father, and yet as Man in obedience, in marvellous humiliation, "for no man knoweth the Son but the Father." But we pursue not this further here.
200 The Lord applies the principle, "He who loves his life shall lose it; and he who hates his life in this world," a world of sin, is kept aloof from the associations of it, "shall keep it unto life eternal." It is morally right in its objects, but it must die to the world. This we do in Jesus; but then, being alive by and to Him in resurrection, we keep it (hating the evil, the sign of the new life), unto life eternal. It was obedience, and Christ had eternal life by it. He that would follow Him must follow Him in the same path. The life to God is resurrection life; and, first, because we are dead; secondly, because we must die, as alive without the law, not subject to it; in a word, have to die to sin as dead in it, because of the resurrection of Christ, in which we have the life in which we can do it. But loving the life is the life, the old will, autarkeia, independent of God; hating it is in the perception of the evil, because we can live now (being right in mind) only to God. He holds it then as a free gift from God, and keeps it, for we know that which we have committed unto Him, that He is able to keep it until that day. "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am" (the consequence, though appointed, is plain), "where I am, there shall also my servant be." I must go; so it is ordered; and am rejected. "Where I am," they wish to be. The consequence is plain.
But, "If any man serve me, him will my Father honour." The actual accomplishment is beautiful; that is, beautifully exact, though not developed here, as the results were not brought out, the way being the point in question. But they are most perfect in all their fittings. We need not develop them here, as they form the great subject of the gospel. The force of the sentence, we may observe, is emphatic: "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." How beautifully and perfectly expressively does that then come in: "Now is my soul troubled"! Well might it be so "now"! The Lord lets out His feelings, which is important to observe, for we shall see the force in supplication. He showed where His servant was to go, but it was in deep consciousness of its necessity, of where He was going, and His advice springing from that necessity closes. "Now is my soul troubled"; the Son of Man glorified. How does He pass from the true parabolic fact to the deep perception of it in His own soul! But this led Him to the Father, but to perfect subjection of His will, His subjection of His will in obedience first.
201 We see how little not knowing what to pray for as we ought comes from real sin. It may be really the depth of godliness in the sense and pressure of evil, which would seek, righteously seek, to be saved from the hour, but cannot do that and bear it, and this is (if brought to it) the portion of the perception of its necessity, which causes the suffering, or there is failure. The perception is of the necessity, the unavoidable necessity, and hence there must be failure or submission to it. There would not really be the moral trial in it but from the sense of the moral necessity that is from the whole reconciliation, which implies the very thing being sin is there, which in unreconciliation must be borne in sorrow (which note well). The Lord came for this purpose. We are made (graciously, yet necessarily) partakers of His sufferings. May we indeed (Lord, grant it!) enter fully into His sufferings. We know what is given us, I believe, by this perception, though more may be given. But it is a glorious truth.
But His soul was troubled, and He knew not what to say. What He first said, though righteous, He retracted. He could not but feel; for if He had not felt He had made no atonement; He could not have been perfect, or anything at all. "Save me from this hour," showed that He knew what the hour was. It also showed that He was by no necessity of God's ordering there, but found Himself in it with no necessity of personal subjection. Hence the rather His trouble; for He must willingly (strange position!) subject Himself to that which He could be free from, which seemed like madness. It was the necessity, in us of evil, in Him of love; I say, "in us of evil"; for it surely always is; for we are made perfect in this sense, not in office (for others) but in exercise for ourselves. But it is a beautiful and blessed truth. But I close for the present.
Observe, too, the difference of position in which our Lord stood; not of sympathy with others merely, but of purpose in His own soul: "The hour is come that the Son of Man should be glorified.'' "Except a corn of wheat," etc. It was a general parabolic truth, which the Spirit taught Him concerning this glory, and any glory if He were indeed wheat. Nay, it must be acted on by any: "He that loveth his life shall lose it," and then, "If any man serve me." But now the waterfloods had come even into His soul. He felt the position He was in. "Now," said He, emphatically, "is my soul troubled." It was not, "He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled," but "Now is my soul troubled." He knew not what to say. But what could He say righteously? "Father"; looking to Him always, perfectly, "save me from this hour." He felt Himself in spirit in it, as indeed He was; for all were in spirit now got ready for the kindling; Judas and priests and all; which He felt now upon His soul. He looked through it into death, death for life, to go through, knowing what death was, a service; yet felt as One who had been one with the Father. Oh! strange and only grief in its nature and in fact! how was none like it! But the spirit of recollection in His obedience was the real thing at hand: "But for this cause came I to this hour." It is My point to go through.
202 Whenever we can say this we have the point of peace, no matter what the trial. It cannot be deeper than Jesus' death, nor half so deep; and we have Jesus' strength the moment we can see that we are brought there to go through it. It is then simply blessed endurance, though trying, because we have simply to obey, and there is no failure of strength. It is exercise of will that wearies us, for there is no strength in that uncertainty of moral judgment, for there is all weakness in that. The moment we can say "for this cause" we have peace; for it is only to be gone through according to the will of God. Then the mind was at rest; but it could have higher aspirations; it was the Father's will, the thing to be done, and in its trial it could say (turning it into that, making in submission the Father, as it were, a debtor; for it was voluntary indeed in Him; yet the expression was simply the rest of patience, the holy expression of what was upon His heart): "Father, glorify thy name."
But what a change! the Father to be glorified out of what He prayed to be delivered from! Marvellous are the progress of our thoughts, when we pass from our thoughts to His ways. There came a voice from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." How is a Father's name glorified? It is His own glory, indeed, in His dealings towards a Son. Now, I have doubted whether this applied to the first Adam, in whom the Father was glorified in his created perfectness, the "son of God," so called, fresh from the great Artificer's hand; and, behold, it was very good. Creation glorified the Father, so that all the sons of God shouted for joy at the Father's glory; or rather at those first temptations of our Lord, in which, where our first Adam utterly failed, and thus dishonoured God, Christ the Lord, "the Lord from heaven," had fully stood. No spot or flaw could Satan find or procure in Him, nor yielded to him, in which he could charge folly, or any thing, on the Second Adam; that which stood as the Son of God, but that which glorified God the Father. He could not skill of such wisdom how in, to him, a creature, Man, and as to the abstract of the nature he met, he found no inlet for his craft, but simplicity, and therefore perfectness, which held him all without, while it understood all his ways, and yet was obedient to the Father. This was skill beyond his, all the perfectness of the Son; and the Father glorified His name. But indeed this was specially the Son's glory, but God was glorified in Him, "simple concerning evil," for God was in Him, and "wise concerning that which was good," with a wisdom that had no folly, but while it was all obedience, was apart from all folly, from all evil; and these two are partly one, for, had it not been for Christ, God would have been in fact only dishonoured by Adam's nature, by Adam's act, though it were his own fault.
203 But now He was honoured far more than otherwise; but He glorified it surely again in the resurrection; had there in the Son, "marked out Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of the dead." God was glorified as the Father. Therefore he says, "Like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father." For "like as" indeed it was; the Son's glory, being the Son; so was it the Father's glory; all too He being a Man, and thus the glory went to God the Father, for He (the Son) emptied Himself. In His dealings with the Son, as with Adam, He glorified His name. But this was for others, for it witnessed to the response of the Father to the Son, that we might know it. Not that the Son needed it. He knew His Father's love. He was stablished too in obedience; neither needed He the certainty that it would be so. It was not for that, but in the simplicity, perfectness, of His own faithfulness, for the love He bore the Father, that He said, "Father, glorify thy name." But could not the Father bear witness to His name? For the glory of the Father's name was His, He being the Son; and this all be for us (wondrous word!) all this "for your," for our, "sakes." What words are these! The Father glorifies Himself; that is the Son's glory; and all this for our sakes! Well may we worship in communion, but in utter humiliation before Him, knowing the Father by the Son. But the point was settled. Resurrection, that is, redemption, as well as creation, must glorify the Father's name; and, while the Son gave, He ministered or wrought, that is, in Him was wrought (as we read in chapter 17; also in chapter 13) the glory to God and the Father.
204 We may remark also in connection with this that the resurrection of Lazarus did not go beyond the life as regarded the original system of the world. There was the life of man, and the energy of that life, restored and preserved. There was no, properly speaking, that is, the change to a spiritual body till the resurrection of our blessed Lord, the first begotten from the dead. In this sense the raising of Lazarus belonged only to the original life of man, and showed the power which the Lord possessed. Blessed for ever be His name, and glorified with the Father in every way over it! This glorifying of the Father's name past included the raising of Lazarus in the power of the Adamic life, sustained, as quickened, by the power of the Son of God, and thus in it properly was the Father's name glorified, in respect of Adam and his life.
From the resurrection of our Lord we have the resurrection life of the Second Adam as the portion of the Church. As to the other, they are not as Lazarus, quickened but dead (which note); for it opens out wide and plain doctrine. Nor will the Church therefore be ever known but in resurrection state; therefore the apostle (Philippians 3); though now witnessed in resurrection power by the Spirit of God. This is mainly the argument of the first epistle of Peter; and hence the anomalous position and impossibility of present perfection of the Church, that it is in resurrection principle in an unresurrection state. But our business is with the power of life, reckoning the other dead. Not it, however, alive, which it shall be in other sort. The first glory of the Father closed its exhibition in the resurrection of Lazarus; the second commenced in the resurrection of Christ; and I doubt whether there be not a wider application of this difference, and with fuller results than men suppose; for the sustaining power of Christ being withdrawn, Lazarus was liable to die again, which shows the difference; though it was as to its results, not to its intrinsic character, I alluded before. "But they that are counted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry," etc.; "neither do they die any more, but are as the angels," etc. But all power of life was in Jesus the Son of God, for it was God's life. Doubtless the result shall be all alike; for the power of God is supreme and beyond our reach in these matters; for we have Lazarus raised thus naturally, and the Lord Jesus eating in a spiritual body, and Moses temporarily introduced to us as in glory, talking with Jesus as in glory, and Elias; though one was changed, the other unraised, and the Lord in a body afterwards conversant among men. We know that we shall not all die, but all be changed. Nor do I say, while all are in the Kingdom, what "the spirits of just men made perfect" may have peculiarly as their place; nor, though it shows much more, do I say how far the Transfiguration shows the various forms of this. Generally it does. However, generally, Lazarus was the power of Christ in the life which was previous to resurrection, though exhibiting the same power, though not the same form, which belonged to resurrection. It is further illustrated in the changed ones.
205 I have only alluded to this subject here, as flowing from this resurrection and the expression "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again"; for I apprehend the former glorifying was in the Son's power as regarded the Adamic life in Lazarus: "The glory of God; and that the Son of God," etc. For it is indeed through the Son the Father is glorified, as the Son by and through the Father. So in the resurrection of Jesus, He was determined, "marked out as the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness." This in death therefore in Himself, that in exercised power therefore on a naturally dead man; for there is no holiness properly but in resurrection and its power, the great characteristic of the truth now. And so was He "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father." It is indeed the great secret of the gospel. It was withal by His power, and therefore declared or shown to be the Son of God with power, power to lay down, power to take again, a new special power. That He should restore life was intelligible; that is, with God, as His prerogative. Himself to lay it down, and take it again, was quite new. Death is the principle of Christianity, resurrection its power: even the "God that quickeneth the dead, and calleth the things that be not as though they were."
206 I believe I have given the general view of the sentence from the Lord: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." In life is He glorified, as the Son of Man was glorified in death; that is, the Father's name is glorified in living children; God in the moral attributes of His character shining forth ultimately in this. The sentence here is plain. It is the Father's name is glorified; first, in the sustaining life, in Christ, of His sons; secondly, the resurrection life in which He would glorify it again. The sound of God is heard by all His words, by those only to whom it is addressed. So with Saul.
There was no knowledge of the Father, no real recognition of God, or surely they ought to have recognised, in such an answer to such a prayer, the hand of God. They saw the wonder in answer to "Father, glorify thy name," and they said, "An angel spake," or, "It thundered." If God gave His thunder, it was God, even the Highest, that answered to the word, "Father, glorify thy name." Well might the Lord, the Son of Man, say, "This voice came not for me." He needed no such evidence, "but for your sakes." They thought it was for His; at least, "An angel spake to him"; for "now is the judgment of this world," that you may see even from the Father's voice where the crisis rests, even in the rejection (unto death, the great point in question, that by death He might overcome death, etc.) of Me. Observe, the world (a prophet could not perish out of Jerusalem, but indeed that was but a circumstance, aye, and a forgivable circumstance too, as we know; but the world) cast Him out. Its state was proved herein, in its guilt, whose control it was under; but it was in the power of this very glorifying of the Father, whence all by the Son, the casting out of the prince of it.
But the ruler of it was then cast out, excommunicated from his world into his nothingness of intrinsic evil in the presence of God. It was the great result of the Father's glory, the Son's power. But the fact is what is stated here, and the honour is the Son of Man's: "I, if I be lifted up, will draw." Satan had ruled over the world. In death, that is, in the death of Jesus, he lost his power, and it became the attractive power to all those who had been under his rule, the rule of death. The connection of the world as under his rule, in sin, of death, and of Satan, are here most fully developed. The rejection and death of Christ proved it. The subsequent defeats of the power of Satan are but results of this, a recurrence to resurrection power.
207 Further, as Satan was here cast out in the very point (this the faithful love to God and man of Jesus, the only Son of God, and Man) where men were under and subject to it, this, the witness of their deliverance, should be the attractive point also to them, previously under its and his power. First, the world in crisis judged in itself, the power of its death taken away in Christ. Secondly, the prince of it cast out in power in toto. Next, consequently, this very point in which he had seemed to triumph evidencing the Saviour's love in submitting to it, the point of their necessity, the attractive point to all men. His lifting up was the witness in the world of this, His subjection to Satan, to death, and to the consequences in judgment of sin in which they were lying. I say, the witness lifted up in the world, the attractive point to all; for He is not speaking here of the operations of the Spirit, to wit, of God, but of the acts of the Son of Man in death, as the apostle states, and the Spirit teaches. This is the attractive point to all; the cords of a man to them that had been sinning even with a cart rope.
It is a most important sentence, and cannot be studied too much. Let us see that it is the act of the Son of Man, and that to which with His glory the Spirit too bears witness. It was "from the earth," for the earth was all polluted (and it was consequently "all men," as contrasted with the Jewish people, this was the way of drawing all men), could not bear the burthen of the Son of God upon it, the convicting witness of His presence. But thus in death was a point where men could go. In His bloodshedding out of it they should find it life. I repeat it, there cannot be a more important sentence. But the Lord's own spirit was passing through it, though sent for them. Blessed, cheering witness was it to the Son that His Father's name should be glorified. His heart rejoiced in it. He felt the truth in Himself, and as Son of Man. It had been, "Now is my soul troubled," but passing through perfect submission and righteousness in seeking the Father's glory, it emerged, through the truth of His death, into the blessed results of His own love and righteous power therein: "I, if I be lifted up." Such is the course always of our true joy.
The people went back to the law: "We have heard that Christ abideth ever." They understood the word that the Son of Man must be lifted up. Who, they ask, is the Son of Man? But the Lord's mind had passed on in its own thoughts fully drawn out, the thoughts of all this scene, and He returned to the present testimony to them, but ordered upon this present truth: "A little while the light is with you." Two propositions He puts to them: "Walk in the light while ye have the light." They, the people of the Jews, the darkness was coming, and seizing on them, they would not know where they were going. "While ye have the light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of the light," even to the Jew as such then, His present duty; the other leading to that effulgence of the light which, believing on it as intrinsically in them there, should shine forth on them as children of it in the resurrection.
208 "These things he spake, and, departing, hid himself from them." Gracious words! Suitable words! Words of present, conscious love! but little heeded; and He knew, though He desired not that, yea, though He had done so many miracles, but it did but fulfil the word of the prophet which He had spoken. The evidence was plain enough, but therefore they could not believe, for Esaias said again, "He hath blinded their eyes." See the notes on this chapter, and compare 2 Corinthians 4. Even so the veil was not upon the glory, but on their minds, as well as their eyes, and much worse too, in the risen glory as there, though the same in fact; for "these things said Esaias, when he saw his glory," to wit, even of Jehovah of hosts, "and spake of him." But this was the real secret, however: "Through their fall salvation is come to the Gentiles": to "draw all" to Him. The testimony here was quite plain, yet, indeed, many of the rulers believed on Him, but the moral principle of the Son of God's glory only had no power over their hearts. They were convinced to their guilt, not converted, but proved to be blinded against God, setting up to be as it were gods, the centres of their own power and consequence. No such heart can, in that state, receive Christ.
The Lord therefore set it altogether on this ground. But oh! how truly is this self-glory, subtle self-glory, the ground and essence of unbelief. (Lord, so show us Thy glory, that we may be delivered from it.) It must be a question with Him that sent Me. You cannot reject Me without rejecting Him. "He that believes me believes him that sent me." He leads His followers to God, and their hearts rested in themselves; and "he that sees me sees him that sent me." I come not for glory, nor to condemn, which I might do, seeking it for my rejection. I am come for the world's sake, "a light into the world, that whosoever believes on me might not be in darkness," its Servant, to bear a light to, and constantly to, him, that he might not remain in darkness, where the world is now. But "God is light"; therefore He came. If a man hear, and do not believe, I do not judge him. I came for a very different purpose; for no such purpose I have; that I came "to save the world." "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings" (they were sayings of God), the truth, the word I have spoken, the matter and truth of it, "shall judge him at the last day." He shall be shown to have essentially rejected God, for what I have said has essentially recommended itself to his conscience.
209 Compare Paul's account of his ministry, as above; and hence it is that the word still becomes condemning, though Jesus be not here in Person. Its authority too, so coming, should condemn such a one; he has, observe (compare the fact in verse 42) what judges him; the word he has; which I spoke, which I know he has, for I know it was witness, being in power to his conscience; it shall judge him in the last day; "for I have not spoken of myself" [ex emautou; here not ap'emautou from myself]; that is, the word has had a deeper source than you suppose, as from a man; but "the Father that sent me, he gave me" (for He is resting, you see, on the matter, logos, of what He said), "commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak"; My diction, that is, as well as the things. They were God's words, as John the baptist said. And He knew that His commandment, the thing declared in its declaration, entolee - (so in, "this charge I commit unto thee"; and, "The end of the commandment"; in both instances the matter and ministration of the gospel) - "is eternal life." "The things therefore I speak, as He has said to me, so I speak."
There are several words here and elsewhere of different signification; the matter of His speech, logos; His speech or expressions, laleo and lalia; the charge given to Him of it, entolee, eipon, etc., to tell or speak in this sense, declare; and eireeke, communicated to one, address to or say, to open a person's mind to another.
Let us note here, before we close, the various manners in which mortal men, or death or liability to it is presented, that we may see the variety of living power over it: Elias; Moses; the Lord; Lazarus; and the disciples: "If a man keep my saying," etc.; but particularly the former, for it is a great mystery concerning this power of life in the Son of God, and one manifested in their ways. It is not known what became of Moses' body, save that God buried it; a great honour put upon it; though not such as Elias, for it would not have suited his mission. Thus therefore it was ordered. But we know that Satan sought to have it; but the Lord did not, it seems, suffer it, but buried it according to His wisdom, that none knew it save He; which note, for it meets this point; for our knowledge of the living power of God is very small, quickening or preserving in Christ Jesus, according to His will. Let us learn it here as far as revealed.
210 We have, it appears to me, a definite witness of our Lord's remanifestation in resurrection state and fulness in that word noticed: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again"; and hence was the difficulty that hung over it when there noticed. Christ manifested the full glory of the Father in respect of His claim on the first Adam, or more properly the first Adam's subjection to the law, and victory over death in Lazarus; and, "If a man keep my saying." Adam was exhibited in nature "the son of God." He came directly from God: "the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God." But in this sonship he wholly failed. We know our failure. The Lord took us up here, but all He did was merely vindicating the position of the first Adam from the evil; the position of which had been most fully shown in the Jew, as specifically put under the law: whence Christ was the Son of Man, born of a woman, made under the law, to redeem, etc.
Now, the full extent of this was shown in the resurrection of Lazarus, which completed therefore the witness to that. It was the glorifying the Father's name in Adam by the Son of God. In all His life, and fully in this, the Father's name was glorified; for Lazarus was raised or brought forth into natural life again; the power of death merely set aside; God glorified as the Father, to wit, of man also by the Son, in respect of this first supremacy of natural life, vindicated by Him over evil. But (for this was in the moment of transition after, as we have seen, His recognition in all His various characters being rejected) He was to glorify it again, declared or determined to be "the Son of God with power" (not so Adam) "according to the Spirit of holiness," as contrasted with the flesh altogether, "by the resurrection from the dead."
211 But, as the principle of natural life (not of course in death, which we are naturally) was exhibited in the first Adam, and we failed in sin, and then the law broken (all was indeed in death before God, as such; and the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, vindicated it as Man on God's part from the power of Satan, having overcome him) so in the resurrection life (in both individuals were preserved, and so in the law, by God's grace and power) given to us as connected with Jesus, that is, the Church. We have wholly failed, and the Lord must come and vindicate in Person the fulness of resurrection power, and be really and justly the Second Adam; fulfil this also, and glorify the Father in this character, in which we have failed also.
This most interesting subject we cannot pursue further here, as it would become a treatise rather; but we could not follow this passage without noticing it.
Note the completeness of verses 31 and 32 of John 12. The world is judged by the death of Christ; Satan (shown to be its prince) is cast out. But then, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." How the universal and absolute condemnation of the world (the overthrow, withal, of Satan) and grace in the attractive object, and in itself efficacious work, towards all, is shown at the same time in the cross!