"We Have Seen the Lord"

John 20.

There is a word in the Scriptures which says, "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord." I would say to you, Dwell on, rest on, the acceptance of "that finished work," and then go on to learn more and more of Him who has done the work for you.

If you look at Romans 8, and other parts of Scripture, what do you find? That you are made "sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty." Have you ever dwelt in delight on that word - "sons of God" - not sons of men, creatures that might perish, but "sons" of the holy, eternal, unchangeable God! It is something too great for the heart of man to conceive. "Heirs of God," "co-heirs with Christ!" If these truths had full sway on our hearts, what would become of us? How the world would be as an idle nothing! We wait the confirmation of our pretensions before men; but we should walk in the consciousness of being in possession of that which is unfading, amidst everything that is fading, of knowing the truth when everything around is but a lie.

This chapter does not tell us of the work of the Lord Jesus, excepting what is implied by His showing His disciples His hands and His side. (v. 20.) But there is a great deal about the Lord in it, and about the affections of others being drawn out towards Him.

In looking forward to the appearing of the "morning without clouds," what is the brightest part of it to you? Is it not the thought of being the everlasting companions of the Lamb - the following Him whithersoever He goeth?

Let me ask you to turn with me to John 16:16: "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father." It is very difficult to understand this (were the disciples' thoughts), we cannot tell what He saith - "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father." The Lord then speaks of that which depended on His going to the Father. (See vv. 20-24.)

I would now ask you to turn to a verse in John 14: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (v. 18.) The Lord was going to pass out of the world altogether, but at that period - when "the world seeth me no more," He says, "ye see me." We should pass on into everlasting companionship with Jesus. "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." (v. 21.) I need not say that this is spoken as true to us now through the Spirit. "Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, 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 with him." (vv. 22, 23.) The heart is never to be satisfied - there is a void in it that cannot be filled up - by anything, except the presence of Jesus.

Look at the Lord's mysterious manifestations of Himself to His church during the forty days previous to His ascension; very varied were they, and intended, I believe, to be descriptive of the way in which, during His absence, He would manifest Himself according to the varied need of His people. Mary was in one condition, (v. 14,) the disciples with the closed doors in another, Thomas in a third; but in each condition the Lord met and satisfied them with His presence.

There is such a thing, beloved, as knowing the Lord so with us as to he able to realize that word, "Your joy no man taketh from you."

The Lord had been taken from these disciples. Mary weeps at His grave. The two are sad in going to Emmaus. All their thoughts are about this - the Lord is gone. They had hung their hearts and fortunes on Him; they had been attracted by His grace; they owned Him to be the Son of God: whatever they looked for and expected, they expected with Him. They were bankrupt, broken-hearted, dispirited. Their Lord, who was their joy, their hope, their everything, was gone! The great day of solemnities at Jerusalem passed over the grave of Jesus. What a picture of religion without life! "Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice."

The "little while" over, their "sorrow is turned into joy." He comes back to be their everlasting companion. If you could throw yourself into the disciples' circumstances of sorrow at the loss of their Lord, and then of their proportionate joy at His return, you would learn what should be your uninterrupted known joy in having Him to be your everlasting companion. You may have trial and adversity of every description, but still the word is, "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you."

Just consider, besides that cherished faith which you have in the indwelling of the Spirit in you individually, there is another truth equally important; namely, that the Holy Spirit dwells in the midst of you as gathered according to that word, "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." When so gathered, we are called on to expect the Lord in our midst. If we wanted a comment on such a passage, I would say, We find it here. What was it that brought the disciples together? Not the sense of their common bankruptcy, but their common love to Jesus. They had lost Him whom they loved, and they came to speak about Him. Whether it was in the expectation of meeting Him as being really risen or not, still it was the name of Jesus which brought them there.

But there is such a thing as grieving the Spirit.

If it be true that the Lord dwells in the midst of us, and if we come together in the expectation of His presence, we should be able to say when we part, through the sense of His presence, either in joy or in searching power, "We have seen the Lord."

What was Mary waiting for? In the midst of much ignorance and obscurity, her Lord was her object. She would rather have Him dead, than not have Him at all. She wept at His grave, though not questioning about the forgiveness of her sins. If you do not know the realized presence of the Lord, weep for that - that your souls are not knowing abiding fellowship with Jesus. This weeping has nothing to do as to the forgiveness of sins. Do you know the presence of the Lord with you in your assemblies? Do you know it as you walk together two by two? Do you know it, above all, in secret? Be it your unbelief, your haughtiness of spirit, or aught else, that is hindering, this is the proper reason for pouring out your soul in weeping to the Lord. You are washed, you are cleansed, you are justified, but if you have not that which is proper to a pardoned sinner - the known companionship of Jesus - weep for that!

If you meet together without being able to say afterwards, to those who are at the door or absent (like Thomas), "we have seen the Lord" - weep for that! And it should be equally so in our private intercourse, or when alone - the Spirit revealing Christ to us, opening Him to the delight of our hearts, enabling us to say, "We have seen the Lord." May we so walk that the promise of the abode of the Father and His Son Jesus Christ may be realized by us daily.

"Jesus answered and said unto him, 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 with him." (John 14:23.)