Some Thoughts on John 5, 6, 7.

J. S. Bertram.

In John 5 there is a marvellous setting-forth of the Glory of Christ as Son; in John 6, of the Father in rich grace; and in John 7 of the Spirit as the power for testimony. In John 5 the personal glory of Christ and His work shine out in contrast to the Law and man's condition. The blessing which the Law promised was like fruit on lofty branches which fallen man could never reach, hence the Son had come in rich grace as the communicator of power and life. What the Law could not do has been effected by God sending His own Son (Rom. 8:3). The poor man in his despondency in Bethesda (the house of mercy) at the five porches (weakness) said, "I have no man." He was completely unable to avail himself, or find help to do so, of the limited remedial measures provided in the mercy of God, who never left Himself without witness even although there was such failure in Israel. This case depicts man's moral condition, but as in Israel's thirty-eighth year in the wilderness, and consequent upon the brazen serpent incident (which in type sets man aside) they journeyed forward, so in this man's case which is also typical, law and his condition are set aside completely and the Son comes into prominence as the communicator of power, "take up thy bed and walk"; he is now transferred from law to Christ. Such a mighty work only brings a storm of abuse from the Pharisees, which in turn brings into relief Christ's personal glory as Son, here in manhood working in conjunction with the Father for the blessing of the creature, the object of the Father's love, the Father loveth the Son, and as the Father had life in Himself so had He given to the Son to have life in Himself, He stands alone in His holy dignity, the Giver of life. The hour is come and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live. As the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom He will, it is the Son's divine prerogative in that he has taken up manhood. He has also been delegated of the Father to execute judgment. The chapter concludes with a fourfold testimony as to Christ, that of John, Christ's own works, the Father's testimony from the opened heavens and the scriptures; "they are they which testify of Me."

The two incidents in John 6 are again typical, the first setting forth Christ's perfect administrative power for the present, and sufficient left over for the world to come. The second sets forth the moment when He will join the remnant in their hour of affliction and bringing them safely to the haven of rest. These become the occasion for the enforcing of the grand fact of His incarnation and precious death and ascension as man. Thus He becomes available to men for life and the object of faith, these great matters but serve to bring to light the Father in His rich grace, the source of all blessing. The Father sent the Son; v. 28 points out that God the Father sealed Him, and that, as Son of man in regard to the giving of everlasting life. V. 32, the Father is the giver of the true bread from heaven. It is the Father that draws to Christ; and the Father that gives to Christ. This leads us to the grand fact of the Father's will, His pleasure which Christ came to do. V. 45 points out that they who have heard and learned of the Father come to Christ. V. 57 is most remarkable. He is spoken of as the living Father, and Christ lives by or on account of the Father and as a consequence of our eating we live by Christ; a divine order where divine life permeates all, when we are brought to live with or in divine persons.

John 7 gives us the great fact of the Spirit being here resident in the believer, the intimation of this was made on the last day of the feast, the eighth day, thus connecting matters with resurrection glory. The Lord although making Himself available to the thirsty soul on the last day of the feast was speaking and acting in view of an accomplished redemption, and His having gone on high a glorified man, v. 39 bears this out, "The Holy Ghost was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified." Thank God for the Spirit here, the grand witness to a glorified Christ there. There is nothing vague about it. Out of the inwards of those who believe shall flow rivers of living water, this spake He of the Spirit, rivers of blessing, the celebration of the glorification of Christ, carrying the knowledge of God, and refreshment for the soul in its mighty onward flow. Such is known now to faith in a specialised way. "There is a river the streams of which make glad the city of God" (Ps. 46:4). In the celebration of the feast of tabernacles in the world to come the river shall flow from the throne of God and the Lamb. There shall be universal blessing. At present these matters are known only in the Spirit sphere.