The Coming of the Comforter.

John 41:15-31.

J. N. Darby.

366 The second part of this chapter - the power that is in us - begins at verse 15. The Lord says, I cannot stay, but I will send you One who will abide with you. The Holy Ghost is only known by being in us. Christ was before them, they could see Him. Everything that came out from Christ to the world was the manifestation of God, His words and His works, and the world was called on to believe that He was there, the blessed testimony of the goodness of God in the midst of their needs and their wretchedness, and they would not have Him. That is not the way with the Comforter - they cannot see Him. Fruits ought to be shewn; but no person is manifested. When the Holy Ghost came down, there was power that struck them, and fruits of grace where the Spirit works, which are a deeper testimony - for a wicked man can do a miracle, or a dumb ass speak, if God choose. Therefore He is only known where He dwells. The effect of the Spirit is, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." The Holy Ghost brings Christ to our hearts, and He dwells in our hearts. "The world seeth me no more; but ye see me"; and mark what it is connected with, "Because I live, ye shall live also." The power of divine life was triumphant over death, and where a person believed on Him, Christ is brought, through the presence and power of the Spirit, to that man's heart much closer and nearer than if He were on earth. Not that the eye sees Him; but He says, 'I am going to be with you and in you, in a far better way, that the world cannot see or know.' The Holy Ghost testified to the world of all this; but He is not here to be received by the world, but is given to those who believe, and the moment He is given He brings Christ down to the heart. Our immediate intercourse with Christ is established. He comes to us by the power and presence of the Holy Ghost. The One who "loved me, and gave himself for me," that He might redeem me by blood, and who has washed me in His blood, and done everything for me - I have got Him. A poor vessel I am for Him to dwell in, but when we are cleansed by the blood, fit for God, He comes and dwells in me. How far do all our souls know that? He has not left me comfortless, He has come; I know what it is to have Christ, to hear His voice. In the world I have tribulation, but I know what it is to have peace in Him. "Ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also." He is in us, the power of eternal life, and He must die before I die. The life I have got is, "Not I, but Christ lives in me." What a thing to be able to say! He has overcome death, broken all its bands. He lives as man; and if He lives as triumphant over it all, I shall live also. How blessed to have it from His own lips, anxious to have us happy! He says, 'Do not be uneasy, I am going to prepare a place for you, and meantime I will come to you and reveal Myself to you. I will not leave you comfortless.'

367 "At that day ye shall know," etc. (v. 20). The believer I knows the Lord Jesus Christ. The lowly Man down here has gone up there, and he sees himself in Christ, and Christ in himself. We get the consciousness of His standing before God and before the world. I have a place - what a place! - in Christ, where the Father's delight is; delight in His obedience, His perfection, His glorifying God; a place in Christ Himself, with the affections that flow from it: "My Father and your Father, my God and your God." We get at the same time, beloved friends, what we are before the world. If I am in Christ, He is in me, and what I have to do is to manifest the life of Christ, that others may see Christ in my walk and ways and spirit. What a blessing to be able to say, I know I am in Christ and He is in me, as to present relationship! It is God's delight to make us sons with Christ; and His work is so perfect in cleansing us, that the Holy Ghost can come and give us the consciousness of it: it makes us heavenly in our ways. We have seen that we know the place we are going to, we know the way, we know the Father and the Son; and now we get that, in order to have the present consciousness of it, we have the Holy Ghost.

368 Now He takes up the practical realisation of it: obedience is the path. Not only He dwells in me and comforts me, but there is manifestation in the path of obedience. The characteristic of those that love Him will be obedience (v. 21). When we get to this close relationship, the sign of love is knowing the wishes of the person you love. Where Christ is precious, there is attentiveness. It is not, "Can I do this?" but, "Is it pleasing to Him?" Many Christians have not His commandments. Why? Because they have something else. If we had an open ear - wakened morning by morning - we should have His commandments, we should know His mind, and what He wishes. I can find out the wishes of my father if I am thoughtful and attentive. He that has them, and keeps them not, is worse, of course. He that loves Him gets the "secret of the Lord." There are Christians who do not get the manifestation of the delight and favour of Christ; but there it is for them. We are very feeble; but the Lord's heart is true if our hearts are not; and if we loved Him, we should want to have things according to His wish and mind, and that only; if I could please Him I should be satisfied, and should have the present enjoyment of Christ because my heart was walking in obedience. There is the anticipation of what is heavenly when walking in this path. The Father and the Son come and make their abode with us (v. 23). How little we have this manifestation! The Lord's heart is on them, they cannot be happy here; but they are to look for the blessedness of being with the Father, and 'we will come and abide in you, till you can come and abide with us'; but it must be in this path.

369 Mark what He says in verse 27. He has not only made peace, but "my peace I give unto you," as He always does; He has brought us into the same place with Himself. What was the peace of Christ? He was here in uninterrupted intercourse with the Father, carrying His joy with Him. He had "meat to eat ye know not of," joy where all were rejecting Him - the peace of perfect communion. Christ puts us into His place, and we have fellowship with the Father; and when we walk in that, we have this peace of Christ, like Matthew 11:29. Where the will is broken, we have the peace of the man who has no will but the will of Christ, keeping His commandments, nothing disturbing communion. The saint passing through this world in obedience and communion, where there is no self-will, walks in peacefulness, the peace that Christ had! His love will give us all He had; the same place as sons by grace, the same place in heaven, in the glory. His heart is bent on blessing us. He may chasten us if necessary; but He gives the consciousness of being in Him and He in us. The world gives liberally; but it gives away. Christ never does; He brings us into the enjoyment of what He enjoys. Because His love is perfect, He brings us where He is Himself, and His delight is that we are enjoying it.

One more thought, which perhaps is the most wonderful of all: the way Christ shews how completely His heart has associated itself with us, and us with it. We worship Him as the One who is worthy of all worship, but inasmuch as He has exercised love to us, He associates us with Himself, and expects us to rejoice in His happiness (v. 28). What a place to give us! To be able to say, 'I am happy because He is glorified'; our hearts satisfied that Christ, who has loved us and made us happy, is contented! We see Him in the glory due to Him, and we are satisfied. He says, 'If you think of yourselves, you are sorry; but if you were thinking of Me, you would be delighted.' He expects us to be glad in His happiness! Are our hearts there - so resting in the fulness of His work, having His peace and joy in this world, that we can be interested in His glory? Do you accept that place as to the state of your hearts? He has purchased a "peculiar people, to be zealous of good works."

He has brought you to Himself, to have your whole heart wrapped up in His interests, your thoughts, actions, everything for Him. I am sure we shall find our weakness; but are we living enough out of the world (not merely out of its pleasures, but its cares, and enough with Christ, for Him to have a large place in the daily thoughts of our hearts? The more my eye is open on His unspeakable blessedness, the weaker I am; but have we the consciousness from the time we get up in the morning till we go to bed at night, that our hearts are with Christ, as redeemed ones in the place we are going to - a consciousness that He is in us, and we identified with Him? The Holy Ghost is given that we may know what a place it is. The Lord give us diligence of heart to feed on Him, and get our hearts associated with Him, that we may find not only contrast with this evil world, but also know the place into which He has brought us before His Father.