God Manifested and Glorified.

John 17

J. N. Darby.

{Unrevised Notes of a Lecture (H. Row May 19th 1879.) published in booklet form by Morrish.}

The more we search into the words of Jesus, the more we see how entirely it is a new thing that He is setting up, on the ground of the redemption He had accomplished.

"I have glorified thee upon the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do, and now O Father glorify thou me." We see how, while the divine nature of the Lord Jesus shines out upon every page of this Gospel-not only doctrinally, but in a thousand things when the eye is opened to see it-yet He never goes out of His place as Man, the place He had taken in order to fulfil the Father's will. It was the very thing Satan would have wanted Him to do: he tried in the wilderness to make Him leave it when he said: "Command that these stones be made bread"-act from your own will, don't stay in the place of a servant. He would not listen for a moment and says: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." He had taken the place of a servant, and being in that place He never went out and never will go out of it; therefore He does not say, "Now I will glorify myself," but, "glorify thou me;" yet it was "with the glory I had with thee before the world was." Thus, while we see His title to the divine place, at the same time He never goes out of this place of lowliness and humiliation. He could speak of "the Son of man which is in heaven," and yet walk about the earth as one that served; He came down to death, but He "gave up" His spirit. We see God shining through the humanity of Jesus, and it is the joy and blessedness of the saint who has eyes to see (for He came in a shape in which I can see it), that He was down here a man amongst men, but it is God whom I see there!

We see God's power manifested in creation, but we see nothing of His heart there: but when God is manifest in the flesh, we get all His perfect grace and goodness.

I find both sides, and if I lose either, I lose everything. If He is only a man-well, I see blessed grace and beauty in Him, but I have only a Man who is so much better than myself that He could have nothing to say to me. If He is only God, a little bit of His glory terrifies me: but we have divine love serving, and the more we contemplate it the more blessed we shall be.

There is another thing. We cannot eat of the bread of God, the true Manna come down from heaven, unless we first eat His flesh and drink His blood-unless we come by His death. We may be attracted by His grace, the Spirit shewing it and drawing the heart, as with the poor woman who was a sinner: the grace that was in Him attracted her heart, and she goes into the house. She had seen divine goodness and love so completely above all the evil in love and holiness, that He could bend down to all the evil (not allowing it of course).

We get a revelation of God in the Lord Jesus. He comes down to us where we are in our sins, but that would be nothing if it were not He who comes down: for I should say, "I have seen blessedness and holiness, but I cannot stand before it." We must remember that love never gave up holiness, but there was this blessed testimony to a love which never gave them up, and could bend down to sinners and come to them, " for God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." He never says, "Come unto me " until He had come in perfect grace and holiness to them; but the moment He had thus come, He presents a blessed Object to attract the heart: the blessed Son of God come down to the place of sinners and of sin, and there is nothing like that and never will be!

It is the one thing in which everything centres; all the purposes and counsels of God made good in that. "I have glorified thee upon the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." The Son of God is exalted in consequence of what He has done: He has finished the work and glorified God as He never could have been glorified except for sin. This may sound strange: but what was in the heart of God never could have been shewn out in any other way, as it has been shewn at the cross. He displayed His power in creation, but when I come to the case of sinners, all that God is in goodness, grace, and patience comes out as it could not have done with an innocent man.

All that is most blessed is unfolded when good and evil comes out, and that to a meeting-point. Satan's and man's hatred found its complete utterance, it was shewn in a full complete way in the rejection of the blessed Son of God come in love. Every possible detail in which evil could be shewn-treachery, base abandonment where love had been, injustice in the judge who should have defended the innocent, the priests who should have pleaded for weakness, pleading against Him-everything man ought not to be was shewn out then, man's enmity definitely proved when God was there in love, and in the blessed, perfect manifestation of what man ought to be in obedience.

All that God was in love met all that man was in sin, when Christ was made sin for us.

Creation could not glorify God. What has creation to do with sin except that it has been spoilt by it?

Sin having come in, God was dishonoured in the creature of His delight, and the blessed Lord who had God's glory perfectly at heart puts Himself forward, is made sin for us, and the righteousness of God goes out against sin.

God was there manifesting such unspeakable love as could not have been manifested except for sin, and at the same time fully establishing His righteousness and glory. The cross was the pivot on which turned all that went on in the counsels of God before, and that will be in the new heavens and new earth hereafter.

We cannot sit and contemplate the blessedness of the life of Christ unless we first come in by the death of Christ. Am I not a sinner? And do I sit down and say I am competent to estimate all that beauty and blessedness? What! with my stupid debased mind? No, if I come in truth I must come as a sinner, and then I find the grace that suits a sinner. I must meet Him in the grace that meets my need, or I must meet Him in His glory when He comes to take vengeance on them that know not God.

But when I have gone into the holiest of all through the rent veil, then I can turn on God's side of the cross, and look back at all that it was to Him, and all that His life was in leading up to it, and thus I can eat the manna after I have eaten the flesh and drunk the blood. It is impossible that a sinner can come with a divine mind, and meditate upon all His perfect divine life upon earth unless he first comes through the cross. There is no truth else. How can I talk about contemplating God till I know His mercy?! But when I go in through the veil and am at peace, perfectly reconciled to God, not a question about me left, not with the spirit of bondage, but with the Spirit of adoption,-when I know that He has said, "I go to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God"-then being at perfect peace, sitting in the heavenlies in the counsels of divine love, I can turn back and look at what that offering was, by which I have come, and see its intrinsic value. It is of infinite value! He could say "Therefore doth my Father love me." All our thoughts are poverty itself, but there is that aspect to the soul, and I can sit down and adore and worship.

This is a far higher thing than eating the flesh and blood. When I come as a sinner to the cross, as I must, what is the ground on which I come? My sins.

A young Christian has got forgiveness and he is full of his happiness: he is thinking about himself. No one can come in any other way-I would most strongly insist upon that; the first thing is to get washed. But we may see the character of what I mean in a very simple way-that coming about his own sins he measures the grace and goodness and the comfort and blessing, by the fact that Christ has met all those sins, but when I have come and am in perfect rest, then I can sit down and eat Him, eat that Bread come down from heaven, what I shall eat for ever and ever! It is blessed to see in the sacrifices how this is always kept in view. In the peace offering the fat was burned, it was the Lord's part. The priests (all Christians) eat the flesh of the sacrifice, and the people who were invited eat it; that is, they entered into the blessedness that it was to God.

We get in these sacrifices the difference brought out. In the sin-offering, something wrong had been done, and they had to bring their offering, but it was not a sweet savour. The blood was carried within the veil, but the beast was burned without the camp.

Note here, the sin and trespass offerings are directly in connection with our responsibility. He has borne the sins which we have committed, but then there is another thing-not only what we have done, but that our hearts should also feel where we were. Not only, "What hast thou done?" but as God said to Adam, "Where art thou?" Where was he? Away from God and getting away from Him if he could! This is the dreadful thing. He had sinned, but it was far more to be away from God, "without God in the world"-"there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

That is where man is.

We are not in Paradise and where are we? The first grand wickedness of Cain was that he did not know he was away from God. He was so utterly far from God that he never found it out! He had not the sense that he was totally away from God; he thought he could go and worship Him and offer the fruit of his toil as if nothing had happened, but he did not enter one atom into the thoughts of God.

It is a picture not of the open rejection of God, in an outward way, but of the utter dreadful insensibility of the human heart as to where we are. Abel recognised that he was outside, and that another must make atonement, he owned where he was:-one coming as if there was nothing the matter, nothing gone wrong, the other recognising that he must have an atonement or he could not come at all.

The condition of man was definitely brought out at the cross of Christ: "If one died for all then were all dead"-dead in trespasses and sins, and if so there must be a new creation. "The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world."

The first man is cast out of Paradise and he is insensible, but we get Christ, the second Man brought into a far better Paradise, and we are brought in with Him, "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise." The second Man is brought into it, and we are made heirs with Christ-members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.

When looking at the wondrous glory of the church of God, if we would have these blessed truths really and solidly in our hearts, we must get thoroughly hold of the foundations. If I can look up and say it is all mine, joint-heirs with Christ, members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones-that I am given to enter into the joy of my Lord, that when He shall appear I shall be like Him-to enable us to hold the thought of these blessings, not only as scriptural statements, but in health in the soul, we must enter into the truth of Christ having gone in grace where we were, and then we see it could not have been otherwise.

When I see the blessed Son of God going down as man into death, then I see that glory is the natural consequence. I don't get this till I see Him bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, and this makes it not a mere matter of head knowledge, but one which calls forth the adoration of our hearts.

The burnt-offering was not for sin, and yet it would not have been there except on account of sin: Christ offered Himself without spot to God, and by the grace of God He tasted death for every man.

I get Him made sin: He gives Himself for it, and then I find another dreadful thing; He drank the cup of wrath due to me. I find Him going down into the place where there was no patience! God has patience towards us: He is longsuffering towards us, but there, there was no long-suffering, no patience.

He was made sin: no hiding or covering up of sin there, He brought it right into the very presence of God who was dealing with sin, and His cry upon the cross was, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

In Psalm 22 He speaks of all the external troubles, but then He says, "Be not thou far from me"-the very thing He was!

We find Him taking this place, bearing our sins-but now look at the other side. "Now is the Son of man glorified." It was in man that all the glory of God was made good, not merely the putting away of sin that we should not be judged, but the ground laid according to the glory of God, for man to be in the glory of God-a totally new thing!

It does not follow in itself that I must be in the glory because I am forgiven: but here I find the blessed Son of God takes this place before God as man, tasting death, offering Himself without spot; the One who knew no sin presents Himself, the spotless Lamb of God, not only to hear my sins, but to put away sin, and thus to glorify God. How wonderful that in man this should be done!

Everything that God is was in question, and He does not say, "I have borne the sins of my disciples," but "I have glorified thee."

How could God have glory where sin was, where everything, was corrupt, and Satan had got the upper hand? Well, He puts Himself there and takes all the sin and all its consequences, and then He glorifies God, and now all the counsels of God can be accomplished, and Christ takes the glory as the fruit of His work. "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do, now O Father, glorify thou me."

We see His perfect life through the testing of God in the meat-offering, and nothing but a sweet savour comes forth, but when I come to the burnt-offering, death is there. Christ comes in and glorifies God in the place of sin and death, and then we see death destroyed, the power of Satan broken, judgment gone, and as the result of this, Man takes His place with God! The first man, once innocent, brought in sin, was conquered by Satan, failed in every way, and dishonoured God: but before judgment comes, the second Man brings the triumph of Satan to a close. He comes here, and in that very place was made sin, and all that was in God was perfectly glorified in that place of sin and death and judgment, and now all the counsels of God come out, which could not have been before.

God had been dealing with man on the ground of his responsibility. The more we look, the more we see God setting man up in goodness and righteousness, and man always failing. Adam ate the forbidden fruit: Noah, brought out unto the new earth, got drunk: Israel worshipped the golden calf: the priests offered strange fire on the first day of their office: Solomon loved strange women: Nebuchadnezzar, when government was committed to him, exalts himself and casts the three children into the fiery furnace: the first thing which man does with that which God gives him is always to spoil it. It was the same thing with the church also: "all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." That is what we find man is! But One Man comes, and in the very place where all this was true, and ripened out to its full extent of evil, He is made sin who knew no sin: He stands before God in that character: all is dealt with, and a foundation laid which nothing can shake!

It is a precious thing to have some little sense of what Christ was doing. Fathom it of course we never can. Not only are my sins put away, but Christ had God's glory perfectly at heart, and now that is fully established, it comes out that what God had at heart before the foundation of the world, was to have man with Himself in glory. His delight was with the sons of men, and what does He do? He puts them in the same place as His own Son: they are sons, and they have the glory with Him. He has finished the work and gone into the glory, and that gives the Christian's place.

He will come again in glory, and we have complete association with Him-"We rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

"If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him." It is the next thing. He will not wait till the kingdom is set up. The disciples saw His glory in the Mount, but they did not see inside the cloud from whence came the Father's voice.

The union of the church with Christ was never revealed until the foundation was laid, and then God says, "I am able to do this in virtue of what Christ has done, and I will have you perfectly with Myself."

Christ was not merely the sin-offering, but a whole burnt-offering, in order that God might be perfectly glorified; the Man who has done this is in the glory, and that is the way I get in!

"I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me." The whole of this chapter speaks of the Father's name: it is not the Almighty, Jehovah, Most High, as He will be known in the millennium, "most high over heaven and earth," but it is the Father, putting us in the place of sons.

People very little realise this when they talk of "our Father," and say, "Thy kingdom come." What is the Father's kingdom? People don't notice words: it is astonishing how our wretched hearts glide over scripture as if it were ice!

He is Almighty, but that name does not save: He is Jehovah, but that name does not save; but if the Father sent the Son, it is that I might live through Him; that He might make propitiation for sin: that the world through Him might be saved: that is salvation, that is eternal life, and the Holy Ghost is given in virtue of the precious blood of Christ, giving us association with Himself, making us sons as Christ is a Son: we are "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ."

He says, "I have manifested thy name." We find He had been doing this throughout this gospel-"The only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him;" but they as yet, dull and ignorant, not having the Holy Ghost, could not recognise it: they had not the spirit of adoption whereby they could recognise it.

See chapter 16:29-30. He had been telling them that the Father had sent Him, but they do not understand a word of it, and only say, "by this we know that thou camest forth from God." And we often see the same thing now in those who have not the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father-the name of Father is not known.

I do desire that while our hearts get peace through seeing Him made sin for us, we might also see what He was for God in the place of sin.

We are not only forgiven and cleansed, but we stand in the whole value of that work of which Christ could say; "Therefore doth my Father love me." The act itself so infinitely glorified God that He could give it as a motive for the Father's love to Him.

"Holy Father, keep through thine own name them that thou hast given me." He puts them in the place of sons, and looks to the Father to keep them according to that Name.

The world had no part in that: they must have life to be sons, and must be born of God.

He puts us into the present consciousness of the place into which His sacrifice has brought us, that is His own place in all its blessedness. The veil rent, the heavens opened to us, sealed and anointed by the Father, owned by Him as His sons. When He was here as Man, at His baptism the heavens were opened, He was sealed and anointed, and the Father owned Him as His Son (and this is the first time that the Trinity was fully revealed), and then He goes to be tempted. He takes the blessedness of the place with God, and stood in that place as a man, and then goes into the conflict like us.

Look at Philippians 2:14, 16. Take this sentence, and word by word it is a statement of what Christ was. We are in a wicked generation-exactly what Christ was; sons-what He was; light in the world-He was the Light of the world; holding forth the word of life-He was the Word; take it word by word, and we are in it all! He puts us into His place before the Father, and gives us His place of testimony before the world.

"That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." How does He bring that about? You get this Man upon earth, the Son of man-the Father talking with Him in all the delight He had in Him, and He says, "Whatsoever I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."

Are our hearts taking this place? Where was His spring of delight and joy and blessing? His Father. And have you anything of the joy of Christ fulfilled in your hearts?

You may tell me your thoughts are weak and poor. I am sure they are; our hearts answer miserably to all this love-but that is where He has brought me, placed me; that is what is in His heart if I cannot trust my own! But while we see all the glory before us-going to be in the glory of God-our souls should go and look about the foundation it is all built upon; and if you have forgiveness, the Lord give you to see what you are as belonging to the Father's world.

If we see how completely He has glorified God, so that glory for Himself and for us too, with Him is the natural and necessary result, it must surely humble us, but it brings in adoration. I can't look at the Lord Jesus going down in grace into such a place, without adoring, forgetting self in the presence of such wondrous grace. And it keeps the heart subdued.

The Lord give us to have Him before our hearts and eyes, that we may be occupied with Him and satisfied with Him, and that in some measure we may walk like Him through the words which He has given us.