Scripture Jottings.

1. Luke 5:33; Luke 6.

The Lord had been displaying His works, which spoke of a new order in the midst of Israel - the old order; but Israel was unsuited as a vessel to hold the new wine. Hence in chap. 6. He infringes the established order of things by virtually setting aside the sabbath; for, like David of old, He is the rejected and neglected One. The sabbath was the sign of the covenant between God and Israel (Ezekiel 20:12); but the Son of man in the counsels of God has everything put under Him, therefore He is Lord also of the sabbath. The old order could allow the One in whom goodness and grace were being manifested, and His disciples, to be poor and hungry; the latter were doing on account of hunger (Matt. 12:1) what was allowed (Deut. 23:25) after the wave-sheaf had been offered. (Lev. 23:14.) A new piece could not be put upon the old garment, and therefore the old must give place to the new. Hence He asserts His title as Son of man over the sabbath. Then, in verse 6, etc., sovereign goodness asserts its own right to display itself, notwithstanding their thoughts, and to do good on the sabbath days. It cannot be restrained in its actings towards want and woe by the established order.

Consequently new vessels are chosen adapted to hold the new wine which was flowing forth; but first (v. 12) we see Him all night in prayer to God. Who can speak of what was breathed out into the ear of God from the heart of the lowly, dependent Man, who Himself bare our griefs and carried our sorrows, and "when it was day" of the fresh actings in perfect communion with the heart and mind of God? We trace now some of these actings in choosing the twelve to link them in with the outflow of grace. He comes down and stands with them in the plain or plateau, and a great multitude came round to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases. Then the new wine flows out. "The whole multitude sought to touch Him: for virtue went out of Him." How one lingers over such a moment, drinking of the new wine which gladdens the heart as we witness the exquisite tenderness of grace! Virtue went out of Him and healed them all. What of hunger now, as those eyes are lifted up upon His disciples, and "Blessed, blessed," comes from His lips and bespeaks their portion? Poor and hungry, sorrowful and rejected, they might be; but blessed in His company. Blessed above prophets and kings who had been before them, but had never witnessed what greeted now their sight. (Chap. 10:23-24.)

As we linger on such a scene, it may be profitable in our own day to take heed to the tendency there is to revert to that which is ready to vanish away. "No man when he hath drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better." Laodicea is rich and full now. It has reverted to the old order, and got down into the earth, and it excludes Christ. Ignorant of its true condition, it knows not its loss in Christ being outside. In Philadelphia, on the contrary, there is rejection by that which claims to be the established order; but identification with Christ, and a part in that order which has its sphere in the city and temple of my God.

2. Luke 24.

How little do we as saints realize that a new power has already entered this world of death! Man has a vague thought of resurrection at a future day. We too may often speak of it as a doctrine, but there is more - that power has been actually manifested here.

We are well acquainted with another power working all around us - the power of death. It is a power dreaded by man, but familiar to him; it ofttimes compels his attention. The flowers and wreaths that are strewn upon the bier and the grave are tokens of the attention which death receives. It is only knowledge of the new power which can divert our attention; but we are often as really ignorant as the poor affectionate women who went with their spices and ointment to the sepulchre. In chapter 23:55-56, we see them occupied with death - death in no ordinary form, but still with death - "They beheld the sepulchre, and how His body was laid." Then they return and prepare spices and ointments; but the rest of the sabbath-day prevents their doing what would have been wholly out of character. God had ordered that the Lord should not be anointed for His burial in the tomb, but in the house at Bethany, where the presence of Lazarus attested the power of resurrection, and where the odour of the ointment which Mary poured on Him who is the resurrection and the life filled the house.

These dear women are still occupied with the adverse power as they go early in the morning of the first day of the week to the sepulchre. There they find that this new power had been in exercise - the stone is rolled away, and they find not the body of the Lord Jesus. But they are not yet acquainted with it; on the contrary, "they were much perplexed thereabout." And surely we may ask ourselves whether, in the midst of the perplexity caused by the adverse power working here, we know what it is to have confidence in the God of resurrection. How could the power of death hold "the living One"? And yet these devoted women were seeking the living One among the dead. They need not have been ignorant; for the angels remind them of the words He had spoken in Galilee - not when dangers were thickening round Him in Jerusalem; but in the moment when Peter made confession to His person, "about an eight days" before He went up the holy mount, and was there greeted from the excellent glory by the Father's voice - "The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." They remember His words, and retrace their steps from the sepulchre to tell the tidings to the eleven and the rest. With what unbelief are they received? "Their words seemed to them as idle tales;" for not yet were they conscious of the power that had already wrought in this scene of death. There is a strange unbelief in man's heart, familiarized with his own lot, as to the working of the God of resurrection; and yet, without rising up in thought to the counsels of God secured therein, how fruitful has it already been to us. It has given back Jesus to us, a living, blessed Man, as the disciples had known Him in the days of His flesh - in resurrection life, it is true; but the same Jesus, no more to die. This is portrayed to us in what follows. Two are going to Emmaus, talking together of all that had happened, when "Jesus drew nigh, and went with them." As at the beginning of this gospel it was said to the shepherds, "To you is born this day … a Saviour" - and the sign to them was "a babe wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and lying in a manger,"

"Once cradled in a manger,
That Thou mightst with us be "

so at the close of the narrative He whom wicked hands had taken from those sorrowing disciples is given back to them by resurrection power. He walks and talks with the downcast travellers until their hearts burn within them, though as. yet they know Him not; for questionings had still hold of their minds. A vision of angels had been seen, who said that He was alive. Had these two believed the report, it would have detained them at Jerusalem in the attitude of expectation. As it is, another motive leads them elsewhere. What tenderness of love that drew near and went with them! He has to call them senseless and unbelieving; and we may take His words home to our own hearts when we fail to comprehend in any way the pathway He has trodden. As in Galilee, so now, He has to speak of the necessity of His sufferings. "Must not Christ suffer these things, and enter into His glory?" But He tarries on the way, ere He enters into glory, to walk and talk and eat and drink with them after His resurrection. The same Jesus, known to them in the familiar act of breaking bread. What a power has already entered this scene! What fresh companionship with Jesus did it give, though of a new order! What a pledge we have of what is to be enjoyed for ever with Himself. May He interpret it to our hearts.

T. H. Reynolds.