John 13:1-10; John 14:1-18; John 20:11-18.
(Notes of an address by J A. Trench, 1890).
It is a wonderful thing for our souls to have the Father's house revealed to us, so that we can enjoy it before we get there. There is no moral link between the Father's house and this world; no possibility of putting them together in our hearts. Do we know anything of the complete break between these two scenes? The moment the Lord knew His hour was come, His first thought was, to give those whom He left in this world part with Himself where He was going. There is the first communication of divine life and nature, that brings with it the capacity for the entrance into our souls of all these things: it needed the knowledge of what He had wrought, to enter into them. But He knows the need we meet at every turn, and He provides for it. All this is preliminary; up to this the Father's house has not been mentioned. When the Lord Jesus is able to count upon the sorrow of hearts that will miss Him, He says, "Let not your heart be troubled . . . . , in my Father's house are many mansions." What a revelation There had been no such thing up to this time in Scripture. Much of the Lord's ministry had prepared the way for it; now the moment has come for the full revelation to break on us, a home where He has gone, His own home, now revealed and made ours.
Then He goes on to address His disciples, "Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." How were they to know it? Philip thought, if only he knew the Father, he could know the Father's house. Jesus says, "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." Every trait of the blessedness of the Father's house was revealed and shining forth in the Person and ways of the Son here below. The heart that knows the Son, knows the Father too, even the feeblest babe, for it is no matter of attainment; the Lord Jesus would start us with it. The cardinal truth of the revelation of the Father is found in the Gospel of John, as the One to Whom I am related. For this reason we all turn to the Gospel of John, for there we have all the precious revelation of the Father in the Person of the Lord Jesus here.
"I go to prepare a place for you." There is nothing more important than to seize the meaning of that little sentence; it is not that any preparation is going on now, but how did I ever come to have a home prepared up there? Accomplished redemption prepares us for it. The Lord Jesus closing our whole history here, opens to us a heavenly home, fitting that home for us by His presence there, and fitting us perfectly for that home. Thus, at the very opening of our way, we can give thanks to the Father; He has made us meet. Truth only becomes real to us as it supplies a need created in our souls. That need had been created in Mary Magdalene. The disciples were satisfied when they had inspected the sepulchre; they returned to their homes; but Mary had no home to go to, and she stood without the sepulchre weeping. He had delivered her from the fearful power of Satan, and the sense of what He was detained her there, until His voice broke upon her ear. She wished to resume the intimacies with which she had known Him before, but He says, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father." He was going to introduce her into far deeper and fuller blessing than she could have known before. "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God." What additional light this is upon all that we have found of the revelation of the Father's house. He is now able to open to us the place where He has gone and to associate us in the fullest way with Himself. "I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also." How simply this gives us our place; the yesterday of my life closed in the cross of Christ; the to-morrow to be with Him in glory, and the present so wonderfully filled with all we have been brought into while here. Are we living in the power of the things that are ours already? Do we know what it is in a little measure to bask in the light of the Father's love? We have the Holy Ghost to be the power of the enjoyment of all these things in our souls, while we are waiting on the tip-toe of expectation for Him to come again, that where He is, there we may be also. What I seek is that we may enter into the power that is given us for the enjoyment of these things. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1 Cor. 2:9). Arrested by this thought, many of us stop there, and put it all off to the future; but the Apostle only quotes this from Isaiah to contrast it with what we have. "But God hath revealed them unto us, by His Spirit." The things that God has prepared in His eternal counsels, are now revealed to us by His Spirit, that we may know them, and enjoy them as our present possession; that our hearts might live in them as a present realty.
"We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen" (2 Cor. 4:18). Do we know anything of such an attitude? Have we been looking at the things which are seen, today, or at the things that are unseen? These things are revealed so that we can look at them. "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:2). Associated with Him, risen with Him, set your mind (N. Tn.). The affections and the mind are distinct things; the Spirit assumes that the affections will follow Christ there, but is the mind there? The cross upon earth answers to the heavenly glory. How fatal the influence of man that comes between me and that risen, glorified, Christ. Are our hearts lingering in the scene out of which He has gone? Or are our hearts and minds set upon Him, where He is in the glory? "Our citizenship is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20). Citizenship was everything to a Grecian, it came before the dearest relationship. All that forms the moral life is in heaven now. How feeble is the grasp of these things! What is the practical power of them? Does everything about us, bear witness to them, so that we are only waiting for Him to come, to take us to Himself, in Whom all our joys and our hopes have centred while here? Not one thing has been withheld from us, and He is engaged in service for us in the glory, so that there may be no hindrance to our enjoyment of these things, so that we may be going about this dark world with our faces lit up, or at all events our hearts, with His love. We have found what satisfies us divinely and for ever.