Resurrection Joy

Now though we see the Lord giving up His Spirit to His Father in perfect peace, yet the resurrection was the great answer of God to His demand of life. That was the power of God entering into the place and seat of death, and taking the Man of His delights out from among the dead in the power of an endless life, declaring Him His Son with power, and giving Him His place according to the counsels of God. It was man set up by the power and according to the counsels of God, and by the love and glory of the Father, where, as regards Christ, He deserved to be, and the Father's delight was to place Him.

He was placed before God and the Father as the One whom He delighted in, and as His Son in blessedness (sin being put away). This was the relationship in which Christ stood as Man before God and His Father. This was the name of God towards Him. A Deliverer from Death and all the consequences of sin which He had borne, and placing Him in righteous glory and infinite delight in His presence as Son. This is the name which, as heard from the horns of the unicorns, He declares to His brethren. Such was His first thought. How sweet is it to see this! The moment He has entered into the enjoyment of this name, of this relationship with God, He must bring His brethren into the same relationship and the same joy. Previously, indeed (unless in the very vague expression, "My brother, and sister, and mother"), He had never called them brethren. The corn of wheat abode alone. Now redemption was wrought out, and He could bring them into the same place of blessing as Himself: His precious love does it at once. "Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare Thy name unto My brethren."

And such we find to be historically the case. Speaking to Mary Magdalene, to whom He first appeared, He says, "Go tell My brethren that I go to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God." He declares to them the name in which He rejoiced with His Father and God, saluting them as His brethren. God is our Father as well as His, our God as well as His. This is most blessed - if indeed taught by the Spirit we enter into this love. But the place the Lord then takes shows how thoroughly He sets us in this place of perfect blessing, where He is Himself. "In the midst of the congregation will I sing praise unto Thee." How sweet to see the Lord leading the praises of the congregation, the poor remnant whom He has gathered by His death and quickened unto joy by His resurrection! Alone, when it was suffering and death for sin, He gathers them all to Himself for the joy He has wrought by it.

And mark the result as to the true character of our praise. Christ, as thus risen into blessedness, having declared to His brethren the name of His God and Father, His praise must be the perfect answer and reflex of this blessing, of this blessed relationship as He enjoys it as man. And after toil and pain, after death and anguish, after wrath and the righteous forsaking of God, oh! what to Him must have been His entering, as risen from the dead, into the ineffable light and joy of God's countenance, in the perfect place into which He had come by that path of life. "Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand pleasures for evermore." Into this He now brings His brethren. He leads the chorus of praise. Thus our praise must be according to the fulness with which Christ knows and enjoys the blessedness of the fruit of His work, and the relationship into which He is entered as man in virtue of it. It must answer to the name He declares to us as heard from the horns of the unicorns and risen, that we may join Him in praising His Father and our Father, His God and our God, or it is out of tune with Him, who leads so blessedly these praises. We must praise with Him on the ground of that blessedness in which He praises, or it is discord.

Oh for a heart to know and, in some measure, to rise to that place and praise which such touching and infinite grace gives us! Nothing can give a deeper, more subduing idea of the grace, the perfect grace, into which we are brought, and of the grace of Him who brought us there, of the complete deliverance and sure relationship which we enjoy, than Christ Himself leading our praises as heard and entering into the place. What must His praises be? But it is in the midst of the congregation He praises. Oh that indeed by the Spirit our voices may be attuned to follow that praise, that leading, inspiring voice of Him who has loved and not been ashamed to call us brethren, and is gone to His Father and our Father, His God and our God!

The degree of realisation of joy, the sweetness and loudness of our joining note, depends, of course, on our spiritual state, but no note that is not founded on the perfect peace and joy of redemption is at all in tune there.

But we have seen that Christ's sufferings from man for righteousness brought judgment on man. His hand will find out all His enemies. But His sufferings from the hand of God for sin bring only blessing, the outflowing of grace alone. This is remarkably shown in Psalm 22. We have seen its character in the remnant of Israel gathered by His grace, and who formed the nucleus of the Church, be they Jew or Gentile. Next, as it will be accomplished in the latter days, He turns to all Israel that His praise may be in the great congregation. (vv. 23-26.) Next, the word goes forth to all the ends of the world, to bring them into this blessed circle of praise. Are they fat of the earth? they eat and worship. Are they, be they who they may, those on whom death lies, who go down into the dust (and no man can keep alive his own soul)? they must be witnesses of this mighty deliverance by the dying and risen Saviour - that is, when the kingdom is Jehovah's and He is governor among the nations. The seed that shall then have been spared shall serve Him, and then it shall flow down to other generations. "They shall come, and shall declare unto a people that shall be born" this great and wondrous work of redemption, that that blessed, lowly, afflicted One "has done this." All is the fruit of redemption and victory. Judgment has stilled its voice. That great deed of atonement, of love and righteousness upon the cross, has left it silent, and gone to make room for the voice of unmingled praise. It is not promise merely now; it is not that they shall be filled who hunger after righteousness, that the meek shall inherit, etc. "They that fear the Lord are to praise Him, the meek shall eat and be satisfied; they shall praise the Lord that fear Him, their hearts will live for ever." Such is the blessed fruit of the perfect atonement for sin which that blessed One, forsaken of Jehovah - awful thought! - has accomplished for us; never so acceptable to Jehovah, never so perfect in obedience, as when, as to His soul, He suffered for us the forsaking of His wrath. Now the fruit, in unclouded light, is unmingled and unhindered praise, which He who had tasted and drunk that dreadful cup of ours first teaches us in the name of Father and God, in which He delights in righteousness and love, and then leads in the blessed chorus of praise in which we shall adore for ever and ever His Father and our Father, His God and our God, in, and through, and with Him.

Now it is for our hearts, through faith; hereafter Israel's and the world's, and the people to be born, the universal witnesses of the power of that work to reconcile and bless, when the kingdom is Jehovah's and He is governor among the nations - for us, though now in suffering, in a better and heavenly way, but to His just praise then in all the earth. J. N. Darby.