Our Lord Jesus Christ: King, Servant, Evangelist and Son of God

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. The Gospel of Matthew: The Kingdom of Heaven
3. The Nativity: Birth of the King
4. Wise Men Seek the King
5. Mission of John the Baptist: The Kingdom at Hand
6. Binding the Strong Man
7. The Sermon on the Mount: The Gospel of the Kingdom
8. Further Principles of the Kingdom
9. Mere Profession in the Kingdom
10. The Lord's Goodness to All That He Meets: Kingdom Blessing for Gentiles
11. Grace to Sinners
12. The Twelve Disciples Sent Forth to Israel: Kingdom Preachers Sent Out
13. The Present Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
14. Jesus Asserts His Title as King
15. The Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven
16. Service in Spite of Rejection
17. Traditions
18. The Church
19. The Mount of Transfiguration: The Glories of the Coming King
20. Offense and Forgiveness: How to Enter the Kingdom
21. Man's Heart Searched Out: Easy for Children and Hard for the Rich to Enter the Kingdom
22. Laborers in the Vineyard
23. Jesus Enters Jerusalem as King
24. Invitation to the Marriage of the Son: A Likeness of the Kingdom of Heaven
25. Eight Woes on Israel's Leaders
26. The Olivet Discourse
27. The Ten Virgins: A Likeness of the Kingdom of Heaven
28. Passover, Garden and Betrayal
29. Trial and Crucifixion
30. Resurrection
31. The Gospel of Mark: The Holy Servant, the Son of God, Immediately at Work
32. The Palsied Man Healed
33. The Man With the Withered Hand
34. The Sower
35. The Man Who Dwelt Among the Tombs
36. Jesus in His Own Country
37. The Depravity of the Human Heart
38. Feeding the Multitudes
39. The Transfiguration
40. Divorce
41. Jesus Rides Into Jerusalem
42. The Vineyard and the Husbandmen: The Lord Speaks in Parable Form
43. The Destruction of the Temple
44. Passover, Garden and Betrayal
45. The Crucifixion
46. The Stone Rolled Away
47. The Gospel of Luke: The Evangelist, the Son of Man, the Universal Testimony of Grace and Peace
48. Birth of Jesus
49. John the Baptist
50. The Temptations
51. Lake of Gennesaret
52. The Sabbath Day
53. Gentiles and Sinners
54. Sowing the Seed by Word and Deed
55. The Disciples Sent to Preach and Heal
56. Seventy Disciples Sent Forth
57. Lord, Teach Us to Pray
58. Future Justice
59. Universal Testimony of Grace and Peace
60. The Man With Dropsy
61. The Shepherd's Heart
62. The Present and the Future
63. The Present
64. Ten Lepers
65. The Troublesome and Insistent Widow
66. Zacchaeus
67. Stewards and Shepherds
68. The Coming of the Son of Man
69. The Passover and the Lord's Supper
70. Trial and Crucifixion
71. Resurrection
72. The Gospel of John: Jesus the Divine Son of God
73. Before the Beginning
74. The Marriage in Cana of Galilee
75. Nicodemus
76. Happy Days at Sychar: Jesus' Ministry Begins
77. House of Mercy
78. Jesus, the Object of Faith
79. Feast of Tabernacles
80. Jesus Teaches in the Temple: His Word Rejected
81. The Pool of Siloam: Christ's Work Rejected
82. The Good Shepherd
83. Bethany
84. I Am the Resurrection and the Life
85. Preparations for Departure
86. Peace
87. The True Vine on Earth
88. Persecution and Martyrdom
89. The Lord's Prayer
90. Betrayal and Denial
91. Behold the Man
92. Resurrection
93. The Millennial Day

Introduction

In the gospels we find the revelation of Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit, to our innermost beings. When we receive this revelation by faith, we discover a new life (new birth) in the finished work of Christ, the work of redemption accomplished for us on the cross. Having this new life becomes the means for our growing in the knowledge of the kingdom of God in its varied aspects of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit as taught by the Apostle Paul in his epistles.
The gospels give four views of Jesus Christ, who will be the Head of the kingdom of God in its vast, eternal, moral character. Jesus will be seen forever, as "God... manifest in the flesh," in man. In Matthew we see Him as the King, in Mark as the perfect Servant, in Luke as the Evangelist, and in John as the Son of God.
May our hearts rise in worship, as we see the King in His beauty, opened to our eyes of faith in Matthew's gospel. The Gentile wise men brought to the child Jesus treasures of gold as they worshipped Him.
What wonder will fill our hearts at the rapture when, for the first time, we will see the only "man" that gave Himself unreservedly to the Father as the perfect Servant Son of God, walking before Him in dependence, obedience and love-the man that was rejected by the world.
Who can still the praise of the redeemed in that day as we see in pristine glory the Friend of sinners, the one who wholeheartedly sought His sheep, who searched for and found the coin of silver in the dust on the floor and who in divine love clasped the prodigal in arms that will never relax as the eternal ages roll on and on.
In John's gospel, the Lord Jesus is seen as a Divine Person coming down from heaven to become a man and to take back with Him the children of God to His own home with the Father. This will be the heavenly family.
May eternal praise begin to fill our hearts as we anticipate the fulfillment of the heavenly calling for those who form the body of Christ-the bride. In union with the Bridegroom she will say, "Come, my Beloved, let us go forth into the field... let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves."
Oh! for Eschol's grapes-for the man of Sychar's well.

The Gospel of Matthew: The Kingdom of Heaven

Because of Christ's rejection by Israel and the Gentiles, the entire world is guilty before God. In grace, He has begun something new, something which in the past ages had been a secret and still is to the professing masses of Christendom (Eph. 3:4-6). We speak of the kingdom of heaven. Man's blessing depends on the death and resurrection of Christ who as man has entered into the heavens; hence, His kingdom is now the kingdom of the heavens.
This present kingdom of heaven does not hinder God from fulfilling His promise to Abraham in a future day (Gen. 17:1-8). In God's time there will be a kingdom on earth in power and glory. It will be spoken of as the kingdom of the Son of man.
There are four parts to the ministry of the kingdom in Matthew: •The three-and-one-half years of the public ministry of the Lord Jesus while on the earth.
•The present two thousand years, when Jesus, the King, is in heaven and the Spirit of God is acting through His servants on earth.
•The period after the rapture of the Church when the remnant of Israel, having returned to their own land, preach in Jerusalem for three-and-one-half years and later to the nations of the whole prophetic earth for the last three-and-one-half years, to the close of the great tribulation.
• The millennial day when Christ will be present on earth to order His kingdom, and the gospel will be preached until "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Isa. 11:9.
Being lost, man's acceptance by God no longer depends on his efforts, but it depends on God's pure mercy to those who, humbling themselves in repentance and confessing their sins, enter the kingdom of heaven.
In Matthew's gospel, as we follow the Lord, the King, humbly serving the Father, we see principles in His ministry that are entirely new, which characterize His kingdom, morally, both during His absence from earth and when He returns for the millennium.

The Nativity: Birth of the King

Matthew 1
The Spirit of God has been pleased to record for us the genealogy and the birth of Jesus, the King of Israel. This should draw forth praise and adoration from our hearts. What deep lessons we learn as we trace through the gospel of Matthew His life, compassion, marvelous wisdom, perfect devotion and obedience to His Father, ending in His suffering and death for the glory of God and for our salvation.
The royal line of Christ, the King of Israel, is traced through three parts of fourteen generations each. It begins with Abraham, the father of faith, who was given the promises which apply to Israel and the whole world. But, in viewing the genealogy, the pride of Israel should be humbled, for in the royal line we find Tamar who played the harlot, Rahab the harlot, Ruth the Moabitess, and David the king who was an adulterer and murderer.
But Israel, not understanding their own disobedience and shame as a nation which has had the highest privileges, has not repented. Israel in unbelief did not understand the essential truth of repentance toward God and, for the time being, forfeited the promised kingdom. Because the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, all promises will be fulfilled in their time.
Mary of the royal line (Luke 3:23) was espoused to Joseph, also of the royal line. But before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. The curse of sin and condemnation came by the woman; Christ came by the woman. An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him to take Mary for his wife, because the child that was conceived in her womb was of the Holy Spirit. Joseph did not know Mary until Jesus was born. The Son, the woman's seed, was called "Jesus" which means Jehovah Savior, and "Emmanuel" which means God with us.

Wise Men Seek the King

Matthew 2
About two years later, wise men from the East, having seen His star, came to Judah inquiring where was the child, the King of the Jews. Hearing these things, Herod, the usurper king, was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering the leaders of Israel together, he demanded of them where Jesus was born. They answered that it was Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2). Calling the wise men secretly, Herod inquired of them when the star first appeared and sent them to Bethlehem to find the child and bring word again to him as to where He was. Herod's intent was to kill Him.
Having departed from Herod, the star reappeared and led them until it stood over the place where the young child was. Then they rejoiced with exceeding joy. Seeing the child with His mother, they fell down and worshipped Him, presenting to Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Outside of His immediate family, the first ones to worship and present gifts to Jesus were Gentiles, not Israelites.
Being warned of God in a dream, the wise men returned to their home by another way. An angel of the Lord instructed Joseph to take Jesus and His mother and to flee into Egypt.
Herod, having been mocked of the wise men, by their returning to their country by another way, slew all of the children of Bethlehem two years old and younger. Rachel wept for her children (Jer. 31:15). After Herod's death, Joseph was instructed to return to Israel with the Child and His mother. Being afraid of the new king, Archelaus, and being warned of God in a dream, they turned aside to the town of Nazareth in Galilee.

Mission of John the Baptist: The Kingdom at Hand

Matthew 3
John the Baptist came from the wilderness of Judah crying, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
The kingdom of heaven in its new form, the form it takes while the King is absent, began at Pentecost, three-and-one-half years after the mission of John the Baptist. Christ had been rejected by Israel and the Gentiles, so the kingdom must take a new form. 'Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power." Psa. 110:3. The form of the kingdom while Jesus is in heaven is His ruling in the hearts of His people on earth. They all, having repented, have a new life.
Israel in pride would not accept a king coming in humility in the manner suggested by His genealogy. They would have a king ruling in splendor, seated on a throne of royalty, clothed with glory and majesty like Solomon in the day of his splendor. But the state of the people of Israel forbad such a display at that time. Rather, humbling in repentance was required. So John the Baptist was sent as a messenger (Mal. 3:1) to preach to and baptize those who repented.
By refusing the King, the nation of Israel was set aside in their blindness to make ready for the kingdom of heaven. They will be blind until they learn to say, "Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord." Matt. 23:39. The day of the kingdom of heaven on the earth is the day of His grace. This being the day of grace, divine intervention by judgment has been delayed for two thousand years.
Israel as a nation, being reared under law, which had ordinances and demands of an outward character, did not understand when John the Baptist introduced that which aroused the conscience and the inner man. This inward ministry did not suit the thinking of the leaders of Israel, but was just right for the poor, the meek, the needy, the publicans, the sinners and the Gentiles. God must have reality in the inner man-a heart that has been brought to Himself through the conviction and confession of sin. Then the sons of the kingdom will walk in the precepts of the kingdom willingly, each with a nature that loves the truth, showing that a work of grace has been done in them.
The clothing of John the Baptist, a raiment of camel's hair with a leather girdle around his loins, and the food that he ate, locusts and wild honey, did not suggest that he lived in luxury, but that he lived in keeping with the message he carried, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." This was a moral highway of repentance. John's example of living a life in keeping with his message is a worthy one for us to consider for our lives.
The custom among kings was to have a servant run before the chariot on formal occasions to announce his coming (1 Kings 18:45,46). So John as a forerunner directed the hearts of his hearers to Jesus the Christ, the son of David, the Son of God and the King of Israel.
Both John the Baptist and his message were foretold in Isa. 40:3: "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord." Being opposed in his preaching by the leaders of Israel, he called them a generation of vipers. They were told to bring the fruits of repentance: obedience and dependence. If they produced no fruits of repentance, the ax already being laid to the root of the tree (man), they would be cut down. These sayings were primarily for the Jew but apply also to the Gentile and to all who would enter the kingdom of heaven.
John spoke of Jesus who, coming after him, would baptize with the Holy Spirit. This took place at Pentecost; it was a new life for the believer in the Spirit. The unbeliever would be baptized with fire, the unquenchable fire of hell.
In a coming day, when Christ will come again in power to set up His kingdom on the earth, He will cleanse His floor, Israel, and will burn the chaff, the unrepentant, with fire. The wheat, the believers, will be gathered into His barn, before the unbelievers are burned.
Jesus came from Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John. John answered that he, John, needed to be baptized by Christ. But Jesus said, "Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." Then John baptized Jesus. By being baptized He identified Himself with the remnant of faith in Israel (Psa.16:3). Christ needed no repentance, but He placed Himself in the company of the remnant who had been baptized for repentance.
As He came up out of the water, the heavens were opened to Him. The Spirit of God came down like a dove to rest on Him, a man, and a voice came from heaven saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Never before had the Spirit of God come down to rest on a man or on the earth. We see the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit witnessing Christ's baptism.

Binding the Strong Man

Matthew 4
Having been led of the Spirit of God into the wilderness and having fasted for forty days and nights, Jesus was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." Jesus is God, but He came as a man. It is not a sin to hunger, but the tempter wanted Him to leave His place of obedience as a man, take over and use the power that He had as Son of God to satisfy His hunger. Jesus, as an obedient man, answered that it was written: "Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." Deut. 8:3.
This temptation confronts all men. The Bible, the Word of God, is more necessary to life than bread, for by the Word through faith we receive eternal life. Bread only benefits this present life. "Bread" suggests all that the flesh desires. The bread must come from God alone. To lust after (desire) anything that God has not given is to sin and fall for this temptation.
Next, Satan took Jesus up to the holy city and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple. He told Jesus that if He were the Son of God, He should cast Himself down: "For it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee." Satan then omitted the clause, "to keep Thee in all Thy ways," and finished with, 'They shall bear Thee up in their hands, lest Thou dash Thy foot against a stone." Psa. 91:11,12. Jesus answered with Scripture, "Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God." Deut. 6:16.
Satan tempted the Lord to act with pride instead of humbly waiting for a word from God for His path. Jesus would not act without a word from God. God hates pride, yet it is one of the temptations that you and I have. Only with our eyes on Christ, who vanquished Satan, can we be kept. It seems that pride goes all the way with us until we leave this world. It manifests itself often unless we pray.
Finally, the devil took Jesus up an exceedingly high mountain so that He could see all of the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said he would give it all to Jesus if He would fall down and worship him. Jesus said, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." (See Deut. 6:13.)
As the Messiah, Jesus had all of the promises, but He would wait the Father's time to avail Himself of them. He would not exalt Himself or disobey. All of the kingdoms of the world were His as the Son of man, but He would want to receive them from the Father's hand. The devil then left Him, and angels came and ministered to Him.
There is a constant temptation towards idolatry. An idol is anything that I set my heart on that takes the place of Christ as my object. There never was a day of idolatry like today. Houses, lands, cars, boats, money, honor, position-whatever gets in between my soul and Christ is an idol. Man faces temptation from three enemies: the flesh, the world and the devil. Our only safety is prayer and obedience.
Jesus, in these three temptations, bound the strong man with three scriptures from Deuteronomy. He acted in simple obedience to the holy Word of God. What can Satan do when Jesus relies utterly on the Father to preserve Him? By His only using three scriptures from just one book of the Bible to resist Satan, God shows that a young convert could resist Satan if he had one scripture for each temptation.
Jesus Begins His Ministry Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom
John the Baptist's ministry was now finished. He had prepared the way of Christ. John the Baptist being cast into prison, Jesus began His ministry with the same message that John used. "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Jesus went into Capernaum, which was to be His own city where He dwelt and did many miracles (Matt. 17:24). It was on the seacoast of Galilee, near the land of Zebulun and Naphtali. For the people of this land, Isaiah prophesied, 'The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." (See Isa. 9:1,2.) It was Jesus, the Creator, who once said, "Let there be light." Gen. 1:3. He became the moral light for these people and ourselves.
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus taught the character of the kingdom of heaven: its principles and its blessedness. By His own life He displayed the moral power of what He taught to overcome the enemy, Satan. In His absence, these teachings apply unto us. They are not laws, but instructions which we as sons of the kingdom love to obey.
The Lord called for men such as Peter, Andrew, James and John to follow Him. It was a personal, not an official, call. (Zech. 10:10.) These fisherman left all to follow Jesus. This call was for the preparation for service later.
Jesus left Jerusalem and Nazareth to labor in the place prophesied of Him-Galilee of the nations (Isa. 9:1,2). Jesus preached the kingdom of heaven and healed many there. His fame reached out to all of Syria, where He healed many. While He came to save, not to heal, He did heal as He passed in and out among men. His compassions would not allow Him to do otherwise.

The Sermon on the Mount: The Gospel of the Kingdom

Matthew 5-7
A character of life is required for entrance into the kingdom of heaven. It is not what is expected of men in ordinary life, such as good manners and payment of one's bills, but it is what accompanies a moral revolution of the soul.
The principles set before us in this sermon belong to the present two thousand years; some will apply in the millennium. Also, they applied during the time that Jesus was here.
In the kingdom of heaven, souls are being prepared for heaven. Besides salvation through the finished work of Christ, the soul is being introduced into a proper understanding of what heaven is like: its manners and affections, its righteousness and compassion, and its praise and worship, which will be our constant occupation. We learn to enjoy communion as it should be, both with the Father and with the Son, and we learn the manner of life in heaven, which will be life in the Spirit.
The principles of the kingdom of heaven were presented to the disciples by Jesus on the mountainside in the hearing of the multitudes. 'The first twelve verses of chapter 5 are the beatitudes: blessings or blessednesses for those found in the kingdom of heaven. They are in contrast with the law, for there were curses as well as blessings connected with the law, but there is only blessedness for the sons of the kingdom.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Being poor in spirit is just the opposite of pride. God hates pride. He has provided a kingdom for the poor in spirit where they will feel at home.
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." For the believer who walks with God, there will be much mourning in this world, because it is not our home. The principles of the world are contrary to those of the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Meekness will be the character of those who, in the last days, will be ready to enter the kingdom on earth.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." This characteristic will be found in the millennial earth, but especially in the eternal state on the new earth where righteousness will dwell (2 Peter 3:13).
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." The whole basis of salvation is God acting in mercy to His creatures-undeserved mercy. Those born again have the same nature, for they have repented and have received divine life.
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." The heart of the natural man, no matter who he is, is a well of iniquity. To His disciples the Lord could say, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." Those who hear the Word of God and believe it are clean, clean every whit. Such are the pure in heart.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." The disciples as peacemakers went forth preaching peace by Jesus Christ. The "children of God" are the Church. They are taught: "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven."
Also, verses 1-16 of chapter 5 are a picture of the remnant of Israel showing their character and position as those who received the Lord's instruction, according to the mind of God. Verse 5 has a special application to those with a future in the earthly part of the millennial kingdom; verses 11 and 12 apply to those with a heavenly future; the remaining verses apply to all in the kingdom of heaven.
Christ displays His moral glory by being the perfect example of these divine teachings. While only He fully lives up to these divine precepts, there is to be moral progress in our souls in these things.
This mountain ministry of Jesus was given before Christianity began. At the same time the principles of the kingdom of heaven were taught by the Lord in view of what was soon to take place after the Lord had gone into heaven. So these principles apply to us now, especially the first sixteen verses.
The Lord did not come to set the law aside, but to honor it. He did so by keeping all of its commandments. However, after Pentecost, the believer, because of the work of Christ, in fulfilling the law, is no longer under it, although it remains a standard for all time for relationship between God and His creature man. Verses 17-48 remind the remnant of Israel of the law given to them by Moses. Until Pentecost they were still under the law as the basis of their relationship with God. And the remnant which will arise after the rapture of the Church will be under the law during the tribulation as well as in the millennium.
In reviewing the different points of the law, the Lord speaks especially of the two basic evils: violence and corruption. In Israel these were judged in their outward form, but now in the kingdom they are judged as God sees the heart and its motives.
The sons of the kingdom are the salt of the earth. Real salt savors and preserves. But imitation salt, like mere profession, loses its savor. The kingdom in its real, salt character preserves the earth from corruption. But there is less savor as there is less and less faith on the earth.
When the kingdom of God in its present mysterious form (Matt. 13:44-48) leaves this earth, moral corruption and violence will know no bounds; life will be intolerable. Seeing that conditions are almost intolerable at present, we will not wait long for our Savior to come for us.
The sons of the kingdom are also the light of the world. Salt savors and preserves, but light directs men. The light that the sons of the kingdom have is Christ in the heart; He is light to the world as He shines out in our ways.
The Father
In this sermon the Lord Jesus brings the "Father" before the hearers (5:16,45,48; 6:1,4; etc.). It is "your Father" showing individual relationship. Those who enter the kingdom need an object and a pattern, so Christ reveals the Father through His own Person. It is not "Abba, Father" as in the Church (Rom. 8:14-16), for the Spirit had not come to indwell the believer until Christ went on high. After the rapture the kingdom will be spoken of as the kingdom of the Father (Matt. 13:43).
In the kingdom, to present a gift to the Lord at the altar when a person is not right with his brother is unacceptable.
"Agree with thine adversary quickly," so "quickly" is the time for a soul to repent and be right with God. To "agree" does not mean that the soul is fully instructed; he may only be able to say, "Lord, save me." Then the soul has a new life, and God is merciful, for "a bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench." With time he learns further truth.
While we are near the end of the period of the kingdom of heaven in its present "mystery" form, these kingdom precepts are also for the remnant of Israel during the seven-year period of trial, just before the millennium when the people of Israel will be gathered to their land again. Now the children of Israel are returning to Israel in great numbers, not by a work of God, but in unbelief. In the tribulation they will be preached to from these scriptures, and they will probably read Matthew and Peter, which show the government of God on His people and the world. They will primarily read the prophets.
To be angry without a cause does not display the character of the kingdom of heaven. To lust after a woman is to commit adultery in the heart. Adultery is the only reason for divorce, except desertion.
If a man "take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also." In controversy, turn the other cheek. Let us allow nothing, even the most precious things or persons, to turn us aside from following Christ and serving Him.
If a man compel thee to do something excessive, do for him twice as much-if he makes you go one mile, go two. "Love your enemies." "Do good to them that hate you." "Pray for them."
Our conversation should be with a simple "yes" or "no." We need not enforce it by swearing-we are without anything to swear by. Should we swear by heaven? or earth?-they are not ours; all belongs to God.
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." We are to display the character of our Father. To follow the Father in our hearts, with no other object, is to be perfect, in that sense.
Being sons of the kingdom, we take on the character of the kingdom; it is our life; we walk in its ways. The Father is our object. We learn the Father through Jesus. Being a son of the kingdom, all these things apply to the Christian.

Further Principles of the Kingdom

Matthew 6
Give gifts to the poor (alms); fast secretly; and pray in your closet.
The disciples' prayer, mistakenly spoken of as the Lord's prayer, is good for us and for all in the kingdom at all times to learn and to express from our hearts these requests in our prayers.
Not only do we need to ask in dependence for food and drink, but also that our relations to others be proper and in keeping with the principles of the kingdom. We desire that the Father's will be done on the earth, as it will be soon in the millennium. We desire that it will be done in heaven, when everything in the kingdom of God will be of God. In God's government in the present kingdom of heaven, if we do not forgive we shall not be forgiven of God. This does not apply to the forgiveness of sins in conversion, but rather to the proper relationship and attitude among brethren. We are not to lay up treasure on the earth because this is not our home. Our treasure is where our heart is, in heaven. Do we act as led by all that surrounds us on earth? Or do we rely on the Scripture to guide us in the daily details of our lives?
The body's light is the eye. The eye fixed on one object, Christ, brings light for the entire body. If the eye is wicked, taken up with Satan's world, the body is dark, having left Christ out; how great is that darkness. Darkness is the moral result of unbelief.
"No man can serve two masters... God and mammon." Mammon means demon of desire, longing for riches, etc. We are to trust God for our food, drink and clothing. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
We are in the kingdom in a mystery, but it is real to us, the king being absent for a time. We are also in the kingdom in spirit and should manifest these principles. Some have the thought that these things belong to Israel. They do indeed, to the remnant. But because Israel has rejected Christ, something new has been introduced to the remnant and Gentiles are included.

Mere Profession in the Kingdom

Matthew 7
Let us not judge another, lest that which we judge in another come back on us. The mote in my eye may be larger than the beam in my brother's eye.
Let us search our hearts before asking the Father for something. He only gives in keeping with the principles of the kingdom of heaven. Otherwise we may consume it upon our lusts.
Christ is the straight, narrow gate. The broad, wide gate leads to hell. Only a few find the straight gate; the rest will not repent from their sins.
There will be those in the day of judgment that have preached in Christ's name, to whom He will have to say, "I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity." Only by repentance and faith in God's Word can we know Christ.
Man is likened to a tree, and the tree must bring forth good fruit, repentance, or be cut down. To enter the kingdom in repentance is good fruit. After entering, more fruit will follow.
The wise man chose a rock to build his house on for eternity; that Rock is Christ. The foolish man chose the sand, Satan's world, for the foundation of his house. The storm came and tested the foundations: on the sand the house falls; on the Rock it stands fast. The fall is great, for it is eternal for the man that does not have Christ as his Savior. And what an eternity-the blackness of darkness forever. In contrast, the man who built his house on the rock will enjoy eternal bliss in the house of eternal light. Here and now is the time for decision.

The Lord's Goodness to All That He Meets: Kingdom Blessing for Gentiles

Matthew 8
Christ heals a leper of Israel. Leprosy is a picture of sin and uncleanness. The leper knows the power of God, but not His will. Christ, who is God, says, "I will." He touches and heals the leper without being defiled.
Healing the Gentile's servant gives rise to the declaration that many Gentiles shall be blessed in the kingdom of heaven together with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness." The "children of the kingdom" are the descendants of Abraham by natural birth who do not share his faith.
We have seen God's goodness to the Jewish leper and to the Gentile centurion, and now we see His goodness to Israel in healing Peter's wife's mother.
The Lord, the rejected One, continues His ministry, not being deceived by some who offered to follow Him. Man must forsake all, as Jesus did, to become His companion down here. He had nowhere to lay His head. The clever foxes and the unclean birds were at home on earth, but not Jesus. He came from His home above, emptying Himself of His glory to become like us, sin apart, to deliver us from so great a death-the death that will come on an unrepentant world.
The storm on the lake brought to light the unbelief of the disciples in the power and goodness of God. Are they the only ones who do not believe in His goodness? How about believers everywhere seeking security in everything and anything but God. Who can preserve us-the power and resources of men, or the power of God in Christ? The disciples had witnessed His power and presence in healing the leper, the centurion's servant and Peter's wife's mother.
We see God's goodness in showing how Christ and those with Him could not perish. We see the power of Christ in stilling the waves by speaking to them. The fishermen disciples knew storms; they knew there would be a long interval after a storm before the waters were quiet. The waters were immediately quiet at the voice of Jesus. May we learn this in our circumstances.
In the country of the Gergesenes, two possessed with demons, exceedingly fierce, came out of the tombs. They knew Jesus as the Son of God, and thought that He had come to torment them before the time. Jesus cast out the demons and by their request they entered a herd of swine nearby. The swine ran down into the lake and were drowned. The whole city, on hearing of this, came out, asking Jesus to depart from them. Could it be that those who were accustomed to being under the power of Satan preferred it to the power and presence of God who came in grace to deliver them? Yes!
Later, we learn of a man with a demon who was healed and who wanted to be with Jesus. Instead, he was sent back to his city to tell about the goodness of God in Christ. He did so and when Jesus returned (a picture of the millennial day), he found the city coming out to be healed. What a contrast between the kingdom of heaven and Sinai! One brings blessing, the other the curse.

Grace to Sinners

Matthew 9
The Lord heals the palsied man, forgiving his sins. Then He calls Matthew to follow Him. Matthew fills his house with publicans and sinners to hear Jesus. The Lord answers the leaders of Israel who object, saying, 'They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." The disciples of Jesus cannot fast when the Bridegroom is with them-to be with Him brings joy, not mourning.
The old garment character of Judaism will not do; there must be a new garment character in the kingdom of God. The old vessels of Judaism that hold the old wine will not do to hold the new wine; they will break the bottles in one year and the wine will be spilled. There must be a new bottle, a new nature, for the new wine, joy.
The Lord was called to restore Israel, the ruler's virgin daughter, in her great need. On the way, he meets the poor woman-the believing remnant and the Gentiles-and He, the rejected One, forms the kingdom of heaven. After the two-thousand-year-span of the kingdom of heaven on earth, the Lord returns and heals the nobleman's daughter-Israel-bringing in the millennium.
The blind and the dumb, pictures of the remnant of Israel, are healed, confessing their sins and need to Jesus. All of the objections of the leaders could not stop Jesus who was moved with compassion by the multitude of Israel, seeing that they were as sheep without a shepherd. He asked His disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers, for the field of souls was plenteous.

The Twelve Disciples Sent Forth to Israel: Kingdom Preachers Sent Out

Matthew 10
The prayers for laborers in the field are answered. He formally calls His twelve disciples to labor. Their testimony to Israel would continue until Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman general, Titus, in 70 A.D.
When called, they were forbidden to go to the Gentiles or to the Samaritans but were sent just to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They were to preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and to heal the sick. They were to provide nothing for their journey; the workman was worthy of his meat. Emmanuel was with them.
In each place they were to abide in the house of one who was worthy, and their peace would rest on it. If unworthy, their peace would return to the disciples. If not received, they were to shake off the dust of their feet against them. Judgment would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for those of that city.
The disciples represent both the Jewish remnant during the three-and-one-half years of Christ's ministry before He went to heaven, and those who preach the gospel of the kingdom during the seven years of tribulation (Matt. 24:14). The latter would preach for three and-one-half years in Jerusalem, and, after being cast out, for three-and-one-half years to the nations about them.
They are warned about those who would deliver them up to authorities. They should not think beforehand what to say to the authorities, because it would be given them when they needed to give answer.
Christ is more precious than family; family life would be interrupted. They would be hated of all nations, and those who endured to the end, the millennium, would be saved. The end would come when the Son of man appeared. The Lord came, not to send peace on the earth, but a sword. A man's foes would be they of his own household. This will be the painful part of their serving: to be rejected, even of their loved ones, be-cause of the cause of Christ.
In a household there may be believers and unbelievers. The latter will walk in a path that is not in keeping with the kingdom and its principles. Such could not agree as to spiritual things with the believer. Be warned, for it is our companions and our habits that ruin us in spiritual and natural things.
Should there be persecution, they were to flee to another city until the Son of man came. Those who rejected His servants rejected Him. They would not have gone over the cities of Israel until the Son of man came. This is instruction for those who preach during the seven years before the millennium.
The title "Son of man" is of greater scope than the title "Messiah." He is Messiah to Israel, but He will come as Son of man over all that God has destined for man.
He that does not take his cross and follow after Christ in His path is not worthy of Him. 'The believer has a cross of rejection in this world. He is not accepted in the world, if faithful to Christ. Do we realize how seri-ous it is to be in the kingdom of heaven?
The sparrow is precious to the Father; not one will fall to the ground without His knowing it. The believer is more precious to God than many sparrows.
One who finds his life in this world shall lose it. To find one's life in the world is to fit into the pattern of the world. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." 1 John 2:15-17.
To lose our life in this world is to follow Christ in His path as He walked down here in dependence and obedience, denying the things that belong to this world. When man was created in the garden of Eden, God put the world in his heart (Eccl. 3:17). Having sinned, the tendency is still in the heart. It will be right to have the world in the heart when Christ reigns on earth.
A cup of cold water given to a son of the kingdom, His little ones, even in the name of a disciple, shall not lose its reward.

The Present Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

Matthew 11
From prison, John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to the Lord to ask if He was the one to come or should he look for another? The Lord showed the two disciples of John His miracles and said, "Show John again those things which ye do hear and see.... And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me." The miracles and preaching proved who Jesus was, without John, yet the Lord valued John in his mission as the forerunner.
Jesus spoke to the company about John. "What went ye out into the wilderness to see?... a prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.... Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding, he that Is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." John was not in the kingdom of heaven; it had yet not begun when he was put to death.
To be in the kingdom of heaven on the earth now is the greatest privilege and blessedness ever given to man. To be with Christ in His kingdom is greater than to know Him in His rejection on earth, as John did, for Christ is now glorified. John belonged to an order of things on the earth of which he was the end-the end of the Old Testament. "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John."
In Matthew, one in the kingdom of heaven is one who, having repented, is born of the Spirit. After the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the believers at Pentecost (when the Church was formed) were baptized by the Spirit into a heavenly family who call God, "Abba, Father."
The new order of the kingdom following Pentecost was among the Jews only until Stephen's death. In stoning Stephen, Israel formally rejected the Son of man's message presented by Stephen in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Jews as a nation were set aside and the Gentiles were brought in with the believing Jews, as is seen in Matt. 13. Later, the city of Jerusalem and its Jewish economy were destroyed by Titus, the Roman general, in the year 70 A.D.
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Those who follow Christ, the sons of the kingdom of heaven, enter in by spiritual energy given by the Father. They take the kingdom morally by force: that is, obstacles are overcome in order to enter the kingdom and, in the world to come, to have eternal life. The basis for entrance is the finished work of Christ, but to enter there must be a response from the heart.
John was the "Elias, which was for to come." To understand this, we must understand that part of the scriptures were written as parables, riddles and dark sayings. The Lord did not mean that John was physically Elias, but that he carried on the ministry of Elias to bring Israel back to God from idolatry. In Mal. 4:5,6, Elijah is spoken of as the prophet coming before the day of the Lord. The character of his mission is to "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." This will be left for Jesus to do (Acts 3:26).
While Israel as a nation has rejected their Messiah, a little remnant has received Him, and so wisdom is justified of her children.
Jesus Reveals the Father
Jesus was rejected and opposed in His ministry by the leaders of Israel. Nevertheless, He thanked the Father who was Lord of heaven and earth, because He had hid these things regarding the kingdom of heaven from the wise and prudent, but had revealed them unto babes, sons of the kingdom of heaven, because it seemed good in His sight.
His rejection opened the door to the Gentiles. In Luke 2:32 we read that Jesus was a light to the Gentiles. In this verse the Gentiles are mentioned before Israel, showing the order, "Many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." Jesus reveals the Father to whomsoever He will, Gentiles or any others.
Sovereign grace alone imparts life and blessing to whomsoever the Lord Jesus wills. God the Father's character of love shines forth on poor, miserable objects of the heart of Jesus in both soul and circumstances. The Lord Jesus' own secret as a man, which He would have us to learn, is total submission to the Father.
Jesus is the sole revelation of the Father. The Father has delivered all things into the hands of Jesus. "No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." 'The Father and the Son are bringing in the fruits of all that will take place through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. (See also John 11:52.)
The Lord asks the little ones, the sons of the kingdom, to take His yoke upon them and learn of Him. He is "meek and lowly in heart" and in Him they find rest for their souls. "For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." Are you and I sons of the kingdom?

Jesus Asserts His Title as King

Matthew 12
Jesus and His disciples pluck ears of corn (wheat) on the sabbath day and eat. The Pharisees object, saying that it was unlawful to pick and eat corn on the sabbath day. To them Jesus said, "Have ye not read what David did, when he was a hungered, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the showbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?"
King David was anointed; so was Christ. Both had been anointed king, but were rejected (Psa. 2:6; 1 Sam. 16:11-13).
The Turning Point for Israel
The Lord told the Pharisees that right where they were was One greater than the temple. He told them that if they knew what the Scripture meant that said, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice," then they would not condemn Him and His disciples, for "the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day."
At this point the covenant made with Israel is all over (Ex. 19:8; Ezek. 20:12-20). Israel had formally rejected their King and Jesus would no longer be addressed as "Messiah."
Now rejected as Messiah, He introduced as Son of man a new order of things with external power. He healed a man with a withered hand and the leaders of Israel sought to kill Him. Knowing this, He left those parts and continued healing all the great multitudes that followed Him, in order that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: "Behold My servant, whom I have chosen; My beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased: I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall show judgment to the Gentiles [i.e. take up their cause]." (See Isa. 42:1.) 'That Thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth." Isa. 49:6.
The Lord feels for the "bruised reed" and the "smoking flax"; those with even the least inward movement toward Him He would not break or quench.
The leaders of Israel attribute His works to Beelzebub (Satan) and the Lord answers, "How can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house." The Lord had bound the strong man (Satan) in the wilderness, and He was now spoiling his house.
One who was not with Christ was against Him. One who gathered not with Him scattered. One who spoke against the Holy Spirit, respecting the testimony that He gave of Christ through miracles and the Word of God, shall not be forgiven, now nor in the coming age (the millennium). Men shall be accountable in that day for idle words and be judged by them.

The Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 13
In this chapter Jesus spoke seven parables. The first was about a sower going forth to sow. The next three show the results in man's (Satan's) hands, which form the vast generation of Christendom-the professing Christian world without life. The heart is reached and a profession is made, but without life and repentance. The last three show the good results of the seed-sowing in the Father's hand. All is after the death and resurrection of Christ.
In Matthew the Lord uses similitudes to teach about the kingdom of heaven. A similitude teaches us about something we do not understand, by comparing it to something we do understand. It often begins with the words "is like unto." The last six parables of this chapter are similitudes.
The sower sows seed for a new crop. The old crop, Israel, failed. Faithfulness was expected of them, but they had no power because the energy of man will not do for spiritual things. It must be the energy of the Holy Spirit in man. The new crop is heavenly, but formed on earth, in the kingdom of heaven. The work of the sower was not to find but to produce fruit in man.
The seed sown by the wayside was received in the heart. But it was caught away by Satan, because the person did not understand it and had no conscience or feeling. To enter into blessing with God we must, like the prodigal of Luke 15, repent of our sins and acknowledge that we are lost.
The next seed was sown in stony places. The heart received it with joy, but is was without deep root. It continued until persecution came because of the Word; then he was offended and it withered away.
Seed sown among thorns, being choked with the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches, became unfruitful. Many have been touched in their hearts, and have broken down under the Word of God at a gospel meeting, only to go back into the world to be lost forever. There is so much shallowness today that it is difficult to know who belongs to Christ.
The seed sown in good ground was like one who heard and understood the Word. (This is the Word, not a similitude.) To hear and understand is to receive the Word by faith in both heart and conscience.
Many prophets and righteous men desired to see what the disciples saw, but could not. The eyes and ears of the disciples were blessed because they saw and heard the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.
Six Similitude of the Kingdom of Heaven
The first similitude likens the kingdom of heaven to a man who sowed good seed in his field, and while men slept, the enemy sowed tares among the wheat and departed. The religious world today is a mixed system which allows evil and good in the testimony of the kingdom of the heaven.
Christ did not sow the tares, but the kingdom fell into the hands of men under Satanic power and direction. When the wheat sprang up, so did the tares. The servants asked why the tares, when the good seed was sown in the field? He answered, "An enemy bath done this."
They asked if they should pull out the tares. He answered, "No, because you might pull out the wheat with the tares." There was no discernment on the part of the servants. He said, "Leave them until harvest time when the angels will gather the tares into bundles, to burn them," and He told them to gather the wheat into his barn. All would remain mixed until harvest. The time is near when the bundles will be gathered for burning and when, by the rapture, He will gather the wheat into His barn in heaven. The bundles are organizations that deny that Jesus is the eternal Son of God.
The kingdom of heaven is likened to a mustard seed, sown in the field. It is the least of all seeds, but when grown it is greater than herbs, for it becomes a tree for the birds to lodge in. The profession of Christianity has become like a great tree, spreading its branches far and wide. It has been filled with wicked spirits (birds) that control in the assembly that which in the beginning was controlled by the Holy Spirit. The tree of Christendom takes in every facet of false profession and pro-vides a home for them.
Men have subjected themselves to the deceits of Satan, because of many inducements: money, position, honor and pleasure, to name a few. Sad that the professing church has fallen so low that it not only submits to worldly wickedness, but in some cases leads in it. The leaders must please the people or lose their jobs.
"The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened." The three measures suggest a limited part of the world, perhaps one third. The woman pictures that which goes on secretly in the house, hidden but evil. Leaven is a picture of evil work-ing. Thus Christendom will be corrupted completely by idolatry and wicked spirits. As the fire in the oven stops the work of leaven in bread, so the fire of judgment stops the leaven of evil.
These first three similitudes show the progressive effects of the sowing of the seed in man's and Satan's hands. It progresses from tares, evil introduced, to the great mustard tree, making a home for evil, and finally to the leaven, where the whole of Christendom is leavened and becomes a habitation of wicked spirits. What began so beautifully at Pentecost has, after nearly two thousand years, become as the professing church, the habitation of demons (Rev. 18:2).
The seed sown on good ground bears fruit in varying measures, one hundredfold, sixtyfold, and thirtyfold, through the ones who hear and understand it. The varying amounts of fruit also picture the downward course that the testimony of the kingdom of heaven takes.
All these things Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables, fulfilling the word of the prophet: "I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."
Sending the multitudes away, Jesus went into the house of the kingdom, not the house of Jewish profession, where His disciples came to Him wanting to know the meaning of the parable of the tares. He tells them more than they ask.
•The Son of man sows the seed; the field is the world.
•The good seed are the sons of the kingdom of heaven.
•The tares are the sons of the wicked one.
•The enemy that sowed the tares is the devil.
•The harvest is the end of the age.
•The reapers are the angels.
•At the end of the age the tares will be gathered and burned in the fire.
•The harvest may cover an extended period.
The Son of man, at the end of the age, shall send forth His angels to gather out of His kingdom all offenses and those who practice lawlessness, and shall cast them into the fire where there will be weeping (remorse) and gnashing of teeth (insubjection). These angels are referred to as "His angels," for the Father had placed all things in the hands of the man Christ Jesus. At that time the righteous, those in the kingdom of heaven that have been saved during the Church period, will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
The first three parables are spoken to the multitudes by the sea (to the world). The last three parables are instruction for His disciples in the new house of the kingdom of heaven. These are given their character by the Holy Spirit and His view of the kingdom. It is the mind and the counsels of God.
In the first of the last three parables the kingdom of heaven is likened to a treasure hid in a field. When a man finds the treasure, he hides it and, for the Joy of it, sells all that he has and buys the field. He buys the whole world in order to have the treasure in it. May this truth touch our hearts.
A treasure may be composed of many pieces, but as a whole it is regarded as one treasure. While made up of many individuals, the Church is one treasure. Christ bought the world to have the treasure, and in that soon-coming day He will make it known that it belongs to Him. The Church will be on display as His treasure (2 Thess. 1:10; Eph. 3:21).
In the next parable the kingdom of heaven is likened to a merchantman who seeks good pearls. He finds one pearl of great price and sells all that he had and buys it. The one pearl is the Church, the body of Christ; it is meticulously formed in the water, the Word, with great care, until it reaches the size that is intended. The Church is washed in the water of the Word (Eph. 5:20-27) until it has the character of its heavenly surroundings in order to feel at home in the Father's house. This is spiritual maturity.
In the last parable the kingdom of heaven is likened to a net that was cast into the sea (masses of the people) to gather of every kind. Having been filled, the net is drawn to shore, and they select the good fish to put into vessels and cast the worthless away. Those in the vessels are believers who will, in glory with Christ, shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. At the end of the age when the net is filled, angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from the Just. The wicked are cast into the furnace of fire where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, while the Just form the kingdom on earth.
Jesus asked His disciples if they had understood all these things. They said unto Him, Yes, Lord! He responded, "Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." This is the ministry of the Spirit in the assembly following Pentecost.
Coming to His own country He taught in the synagogues. The people were astonished, wondering where He had received such wisdom. Some said, "Is not this the carpenter's son? is not His mother called Mary? and His brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? and His sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in Him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house." Because of their unbelief, He could not do many mighty works in His own country and house.

Service in Spite of Rejection

Matthew 14
Herod had slain John the Baptist. Hearing of it, the disciples departed with Jesus by ship to a desert place. The people learned where He had gone and followed Him walking. Jesus, seeing a great multitude, was moved with compassion toward them and healed their sick. At evening time the disciples would send the multitude away to buy food, but Jesus said that they must not depart. He told the disciples to give them food. They answered that they only had five loaves and two fishes. Jesus said, "Bring them hither to Me."
He commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and two fishes and looking up to heaven, He blessed and brake the loaves and fishes and gave them to the disciples, who gave to the multitude. After they had eaten, they took up twelve baskets full, having fed five thousand men besides women and children.
In chapter 13, when the seed was sown, we saw that the good seed brought forth fruit in varying degrees, some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty. Dispensationally we see the testimony decline. First it began well with five thousand men, besides women and children being fed. The early Church at Jerusalem had thousands breaking bread. It was first Jewish in character until Stephen's death. After that, the Gentiles were brought in. That was the fruit, the hundredfold.
The Lord constrained His disciples to get into a ship and to go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitude away. Then He went up into a mountain to pray. It was evening and He was alone. Jesus was a man in the heavens, but alone. He was the only man in the Father's house in heaven. Being a man, He wanted a company of men with Him; He wanted to have a bride.
His people were out on a stormy sea. We are reminded of the "dark ages" where the people of God were reduced to sixtyfold. At the fourth watch of the night Jesus came walking on the sea. The company of believers were now Gentiles, as it is for the most part today. Some of the epistles of Paul were addressed to Gentiles-Ephesians, Colossians, etc. This was a Gentile watch, the fourth watch. (The Jews had three watches per night, the Gentiles four.)
The disciples were troubled; Jesus spoke to them saying,
•"Be of good cheer"-the Lord's coming, the rapture.
•"It is r-the gathering point, unto His name.
•"Be not afraid"-a necessary warning, as we see in watching Peter as He walked on the water.
After the Lord spoke, Peter answered, "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus." The ship is man's religious organization. We must come down, humble ourselves, leave the ship, and go to Jesus.
"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" This is the thirtyfold.
There is much profession today and there are many believers in the world. While not able to destroy the body of Christ, Satan has corrupted the testimony, so that only a few gather to the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ on scriptural ground.
When the Lord began to revive the truth of the one body, the one table and the rapture, then "be of good cheer" was brought to light; it is the believer's hope. Also revived was Jesus as the gathering point- "it is I." The disciples were afraid when the truth was first set forth. How good to have a Person, Jesus, for a center for our worship and praise.
Peter gives us a picture of the condition of the true testimony in the last days, before Jesus comes. Peter, as he walked on the water, was afraid. Do circumstances frighten us when Jesus tells us, "Be not afraid"? This has to do with taking our stand with the two or three gathered to the precious name of the Lord Jesus.
Could you walk on the water of circumstances, if Jesus was with you? Or if He was not with you? The only way that we can rise above circumstances is to have Jesus with us and be trusting in Him.
The Church Caught up —Israel Restored
Coming unto the ship, the wind ceased. Now the ship becomes a picture of the little remnant of Jews after the Church is caught up (Dan. 12:1-3). The little remnant who will preach the gospel of the kingdom for seven years are pictured in this company in the ship. They take the place of testimony, once the Church has left the earth. Of course, no one who has heard the testimony of the gospel of grace and rejected it will be among these witnesses. They that are in the ship, wor-shipping, own Him as the Son of God, that which the Jews refused to do when the Lord was here in the world. The blessing comes again to Israel. The virgin daughter of Israel is being healed.
The people of Genesaret, who before asked Jesus to leave their shore, now, through the testimony of the man healed of the demon, brought the whole city to be healed by Jesus. It is a picture of the millennium. This encourages each of us to be faithful in testimony. It will bring great results. How little we know what a word spoken in season will do!

Traditions

Matthew 15
The Pharisees ask, "Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition?" The Lord answers, "Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God?" Man had so systematized tradition that it had taken the place of God's Word. Man uses the profession of being God's people to cover iniquity with tradition. These things were written for us to be exercised by; have we fallen into traditions? Do we wait on God before we act, whether in our personal lives or in the assembly?
"Tradition may be described as that which is handed down as oral teaching. It may be instruction from God, as in 2 Thess. 2:15;3:6 and 1 Cor. 11:2 (where it is translated 'ordinance), handed down before the Word of God was complete. Or it may be from man, as was the tradition of the elders of Israel, which was strongly denounced by the Lord, and declared to be a subverting of the commandments of God (Matt.
15:2-6; Mark 7:3-13; Gal. 1:14). In Col. 2:8 it is the mere teaching of the moralists of which much has survived to the present day. What man institutes, man holds to most tenaciously.
The present-day denominations are the result of tradition. A certain scripture may be used to start a denomination and is pursued and insisted upon when it is not the mind of God from His Word.
The disciples had traditions so imbedded in their minds that they did not understand. They said that the Pharisees were offended. The Lord told them that these plants were not planted by His Father.
The traditions of the Pharisees came from their hearts, circumventing the scriptures given to them. This shows that the heart of man is corrupt, and unless the person rests entirely on the Word of God and unless he obeys it, he will go wrong. Where tradition is followed, the Word of God is not much used, or used in a false interpretation to hold up the tradition. The leaders of the Jews were blind, leaders of the blind, leading the blind into the ditch.
Peter asked the Lord to explain to them the parable about the mouth defiling. He said that what entered the mouth entered the stomach and from there passed out of the body, but what came out of the mouth was from the heart, a well of iniquity. All evil arises and proceeds from the heart and defiles the man. Among men there are no exceptions. Read the book of Job carefully.
There must be the conviction and confession of sin. The truth is simple when known by a repentant heart. There is nothing so difficult, in man's judgment of truth, but what can be opened by the Holy Spirit, and received by faith.
Inward Purity
Jesus departed to go to the coast of Tire and Sidon. In this cursed land of the children of Canaan, a woman cried to Him for help. She, being a Canaanite, had no rights in David the King of Israel. Her case was helpless and hopeless, except for the promise to Abraham who, as the father of faith, was told that in him would all nations be blessed. We are not told that she knew this.
Her daughter was possessed of a demon, and she cried to the Son of David for mercy; no answer. He told His disciples that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Then she worshipped Him, saying, "Lord, help me." The Lord answered that the children's bread is not for the dogs. She said, "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." The Lord answers, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole."
Her necessity gave her faith to act. With her there was both need and faith in the Person and power of Jesus. This combination always results in blessing. How some of us fail in this. We go on sometimes for days, months, even years in a position of spiritual need, because we do not have faith in the Person and power of Jesus.
No doubt when the woman said "crumbs," the heart of Jesus was touched as it often was in His ministry, and He acted immediately in sovereignty. God was faithful to His promises to Abraham. God's grace rose above the curse of Canaan.
In her we see inward purity. She was only a Gentile "dog," picking up the crumbs from her master's table. There was no display of will, only a heart ready to burst in the presence of Jesus. She had come to the end of herself; she was all vile. Now she received the blessing of healing for her daughter.
Being in the presence of Jesus, her heart warmed in the confidence of a friend who would never leave her.
To be received by Jesus is to be pure in heart. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
What a contrast-traditions and inward purity! One is a well of corruption, the other a fountain of praise. How far Israel had gotten from God! How was it that the Gentiles, who knew not God, were receptive to the truth when Israel refused it? The answer is-the cloak of tradition blinded the heart.
Jesus Heals and Feeds the Multitude
Jesus departed to Galilee and sat on a mountain. Great multitudes came unto Him to hear Him and to be healed. In doing so they glorified the God of Israel. The people loved to be in His presence; they realized His love for them, so they thronged about Him.
Jesus had compassion on the multitude who came unto Him and had nothing to eat. When this need was put before the disciples, they responded, "Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness?" They had only seven loaves and a few fishes.
Jesus commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. Taking the loaves and fishes, He gave thanks and gave them to the disciples who gave them to the multitudes. The Lord was teaching His disciples to fill a place of service for Him. Four thousand were fed, besides women and children, leaving several baskets full. Here we see perfection in the Lord's service to His Father and to man. (Seven signifies perfection, and four, universal testimony.)

The Church

Matthew 16
The Pharisees seek a sign from Him. He gave them a sign again, the sign of Jonas and left them. He had given them the same sign before, but it had no effect on them. When a man knowingly refuses truth, the enemy takes over and such a person will walk in paths that lead him on to his destruction. What a sad thing for the Lord to have to depart and leave them; for them the end would be eternal woe.
Jesus told the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees. Since they had forgotten to take bread before leaving for Magdala, they thought that He was reminding of this. But the doctrine of the Pharisees was the "leaven" that He was warning them about.
Jesus asked His disciples, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?" Some said He was John the Baptist, others Elias, and others Jeremiah. Some of these answers showed hatred, others indifference. Jesus asked, "But whom say ye that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Then Jesus said to Him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [a stone), and upon this rock [Christ) I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven
Having the keys was a personal privilege for Peter. As an apostle, he opened the door of the kingdom of heaven to the Jews (Acts 2:37-40) and to the Gentiles (Acts 10:34-48). Peter could bind and loose on earth, but not in heaven. Now that the apostles are gone, the Church has that privilege and responsibility.
Having been rejected, Jesus was no longer to be spoken of as Christ (Messiah); He was now the Son of man.
The Church belongs to heaven, but is being formed on earth. The kingdom of heaven belongs to earth, though governed by heaven.
When Jesus spoke of His death, Peter rebuked Him. Peter would not have the Lord leave, but rather set up His kingdom. He did not know the Father's will. The Lord rebuked Peter, saying, "Get thee behind Me, Satan," for not savoring the things that be of God-rejection and salvation for man through a perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
The Lord marked out the path for one who was in the kingdom. He said: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?... For the Son of man shall come, in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works."

The Mount of Transfiguration: The Glories of the Coming King

Matthew 17
Some standing before Him would not die before they saw the Son of man coming in His kingdom. Jesus took Peter, James and John to a high mountain apart. Being transformed, His face shone as the sun and His garment was white as light; they saw Him in His coming kingdom glory.
Moses and Elias appeared, talking with Jesus. Peter said to the Lord, "It is good for us to be here: if Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is My
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him."
The disciples fell on their faces. Jesus touched them and told them to arise and be not afraid. Lifting up their eyes, they saw no man save Jesus only. Jesus is the Father's delight. He is God. Think, dear saints, of when we shall enter into heaven, the Father's house, and see our Jesus who, being the Father's delight, has made us "accepted in the Beloved." Eph. 1:6.
Jesus told the disciples not to tell any man the vision until the resurrection of the Son of man. Before the experience could be told, he must suffer death. Later, Peter makes these things known in 2 Peter 1:16-19.
Coming down from the mountain, Jesus healed the lunatic which His disciples could not. They ask the Lord why they could not cast out the demon. He told them that it was because of their unbelief. He also said, "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." Israel's sin was unbelief (Heb. 3:18;12:1). Let us not be guilty of this. What a cost it was for the Lord to pay for our sins to ransom us.
At Capernaum, Jesus' own city, they that received tribute money came to Peter and said, "Doth not your Master pay tribute?" He said, "Yes. And when He was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto Him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free."
Although Jesus was "King of kings," yet he tells Peter that, lest they offend them, Peter should go and cast a hook into the sea and take the first fish that comes up. In its mouth he would find a coin to pay tribute for "Me and thee." We find in Psa. 8:8 that the Son of man has power over the fish of the sea.

Offense and Forgiveness: How to Enter the Kingdom

Matthew 18
When the disciples ask, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?", He calls a little child to Him, sets him in the center and says, "Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Anything that a person values, whether it be persons or things, must be set aside if it keeps one from the kingdom of heaven.
"For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost." All children under the age of responsibility, though they belong to a lost, sinful race, are covered by the work of Christ. They will go to heaven. The Lord values a lost sheep found more than ninety and nine that never went astray.
Do not spread a trespass, but get right with your brother. If he does not hear, take one or two more with you. Should he not listen to them, take it to the Church. If he does not listen to the Church, he will be as a heathen man to you.
What is bound or loosed on earth is also in heaven.
'That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them."
We must remember that this applied when Jesus was here, because this was spoken at that time. The assembly in its present character was not formed until Pentecost. It is a principle of the kingdom of heaven, which is now used in the assembly on earth.
The Kingdom of Heaven Likened to a Certain King
"Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
The Lord likens the kingdom of heaven to a certain king to show what its character is to be in regard to forgiveness. The king reviewed the accounts of his ser-vants.
One servant was called who owed ten thousand talents. Having nothing to pay, he ordered him, his family, and his belongings to be sold to pay the debt. The man begged for time to pay, promising to pay all. His promise to pay all was evidence that he was not yet broken. He could never pay all. It is a picture of the unrepentant Jew clinging to his pride. His master, the king, forgave him the debt, having compassion on him.
This servant (the Jew) had a fellow servant (the Gen-tile) who owed him a hundred pence, a much smaller debt than the one that the Jew owed the king. The Gen-tile asked the Jew for mercy, but he laid hands on him and cast him into prison.
The Lord of the first servant, hearing that he refused to show mercy to his fellow man, called him, rebuked him and delivered him to the tormentors until he paid all. The Jew now is in prison until Jesus comes to deliver him (Isa. 40:1,2). The Lord said, "So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you [the Jew], if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother [including Gentiles] their trespasses." Such an unforgiver does not know God. Jesus departed from Galilee and came to Judea beyond Jordan.

Man's Heart Searched Out: Easy for Children and Hard for the Rich to Enter the Kingdom

Matthew 19
The Pharisees raised a question about divorce. Jesus refers them to the garden of Eden where marriage was instituted (Gen. 2:22-25), where the two, man and woman, were made one flesh. Adultery is the only reason for divorce, except desertion. The disciples say, "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry." All men cannot be eunuchs; it must be given of God.
Children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but He said, "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." What a gracious, tender Shepherd Jesus is. This is the way He acts toward all of His children.
The Rich Young Ruler
A young man inquired of Jesus, "Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?" The Lord said, "Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto Him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
These commandments were all manward. He did not know his own heart. Before he could learn things of the next life, he must learn what was proper to this life. He should love his neighbor as himself. Jesus was his neighbor.
"Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me." The poor were his neighbors. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. His life did not fit the principles of the kingdom of heaven. The Lord said that a rich man can hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. The disciples asked, "Who then can be saved?" He answered that with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Peter said, "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."
Many that are first (Israel) shall be last, and the last (Gentiles and repentant Jews) shall be first. We are in the kingdom of heaven now. How many young men and women brought up in Christian homes have forgotten where their treasure is. If they are believers, their treasure is in heaven. To make riches their idol only shows where their treasure is-on earth-and they, like the young man, will not only go away, but will be forever sorrowful.

Laborers in the Vineyard

Matthew 20
Another Likeness of the Kingdom of Heaven A householder, early in the day, hired laborers for a penny a day. Also, at the third, sixth and ninth hours he hired laborers. (These picture the Jews under law.) At the eleventh hour he found more laborers, and said, Why do you stand idle all day long? They answered that no man had hired them. He then asked them to go into the vineyard and he would pay what was right. The first ones hired were Israelites; the last ones hired at the eleventh hour were a picture of the Gentiles.
When evening came, the steward was told to pay them, beginning at the last ones; they all received the same. The first murmured and said that the last had not worked as long as they, yet they were paid the same. The householder answered, "Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?... So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen."
In providing for the Gentiles better blessing than for the Jews, the Lord shows both His sovereignty and His great love. Salvation does not depend on works, but on the mercy of God.
On the way up to Jerusalem, the Lord took His disciples aside and told them about His sufferings and death. They seemed to understand only a little. He told them how He would be abused by the Gentiles; He would be put to death, and on the third day He would rise again. This was all new and strange to the Jewish mind. They thought that Jesus, when He came as King, would come in honor and glory. These disciples must follow a rejected Christ who anticipated death and resurrection.
The mother of Zebedee's children asked for a special place in the kingdom for her sons. She wanted one to be on the right and the other to be on the left hand of His throne. Jesus asked James and John if they were able to drink of the cup that He was to drink of and to be baptized with the same baptism as He, that is to suffer rejection and martyrdom. They said they were able, and He responded, "Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father."
This request moved the ten disciples to indignation against the two. Jesus explained that honor in the kingdom of heaven was of a different nature than that of the Gentile nations-"Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister." The Lord reminded them that He came to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.
As they walked along, two blind men cried out saying, "Have mercy on us, O Lord, Thou Son of David." The multitude tried to quiet them, but they continued to cry out until Jesus, the one who caused the sun to stand still, stood still. He asked what He could do for them and they said, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened." With compassion the Lord touched their eyes and they received sight. This is what the Lord would do for all Israel if they would receive Him, but they would not.

Jesus Enters Jerusalem as King

Matthew 21
At the Mount of Olives two disciples were sent to a village to get an ass and a colt. They were to loose them and bring them to Jesus. If anyone questioned their actions, they were to answer, "The Lord hath need of them." The prophet Zechariah had prophesied that their King would come, "lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." Zech. 9:9. Having done this, the disciples put their clothes on the ass and colt and set Him thereon.
Vain man would be wise, though he (man) be born like a wild ass's colt (Job 11:12). The colt that Jesus rode on was never broken until Jesus sat on him.
Jesus said that He had need of him. We hear of nothing else that Jesus had need of. Man is that wild ass.
Branches were strewn in the way, also garments. The multitudes before and behind cried, "Hosanna to [bestow blessing on] the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest." God saw to it that the Jews would have this testimony of Jesus as the King. It probably was the same company that cried out later, "Crucify Him, crucify Him."
In the Temple
Jesus went into the temple of God, and those who bought and sold He cast out, the tables of the money changers He overthrew, and the seats of those who sold doves were likewise overthrown. He said, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." (See also Jer. 7:11.)
The people of God must maintain a direct connection with God in relation to their religious or secular life. If they do not continue in dependence, waiting on God individually and collectively, the enemy will come into the void and fill it with confusion-religious and otherwise.
The leaders of Israel saw and heard the children giving praise to Jesus. The leaders were unhappy and asked Jesus if He heard what the children said. Jesus answered, "Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise?"
Jesus left them and the temple and lodged in Bethany. In the morning, returning to the city, He hungered. Having found a fig tree with leaves, but no fruit, He said, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever." The fig tree withered away. He told His disciples that one who had faith, and did not doubt, would not only do what was done to the fig tree, but if they said to the mountain (Israel), "Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea," it would be done. God saw to it that this was done in the year 70 A.D. when the nation (the mountain) was scattered among the Gentiles (the sea).
Coming into the temple, Jesus was questioned as to who gave Him the authority to do the things He was doing. He answered, "I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell Me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; He will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet." So they said to Jesus that they could not tell. And Jesus said neither would He tell by what authority He acted. Their answer clearly showed their moral indifference. They preferred to please men rather than God.
Law or Grace?
Jesus proposed a question for the conscience and the heart. A certain man who had two sons asked them to go and work in His vineyard. The first said, "I will not; but afterward he repented, and went." The second son said, "I go, sir; and went not." The first son who repented is a picture of the remnant of the Jews who repented and were baptized. The second son is a picture of the Pharisees who made a profession but did not obey the Lord. Jesus asked which son obeyed his father; they say the first. The publicans and harlots believed Him, but the Pharisees refused to believe.
The Lord told a parable about a householder who planted a vineyard. Having furnished it with convenient buildings and necessary things, he let it out to farmers and departed to a far country. As the time for fruit drew near, he sent servants to receive the fruit of the vineyard. But the farmers mistreated the servants (the prophets), beating one, stoning another and killing another. Finally, the householder sent his son, saying, 'They will reverence my son." Seeing the son, they said among themselves, "This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance." So they slew him. The Lord asked His listeners, "What will the householder do to those farmers?" They answered that he would destroy them and let out the vineyard to others who would supply the fruits.
The farmers were a picture of the Jew under law with a nature that could not please God. Neither prophets, righteous men, or even the Son could do anything with those who held hatred toward God and His Christ. If they had obeyed John the Baptist, it would have been different. Surely their portion shall be given to the Gen-tiles, while judgment will fall on the nation.

Invitation to the Marriage of the Son: A Likeness of the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 22
To those same rebels, the farmers of the householder, God sends an invitation to a wedding. If they failed under law, surely they would come to this happy wed-ding, the happiest occasion for man on earth. This pictures the gospel of God's grace going out to the rebels.
The dinner was prepared. Oxen and fatlings were killed; all things were ready. This refers to Peter's and Stephen's ministry when the work of Christ was finished and the truth of life and incorruptibility were revealed following Pentecost. But they refused, preferring their farm and merchandise instead of the blessings that the wedding feast pictured.
No matter how unregenerate man is approached, either with the law demanding fruit or with grace providing everything, man still hates God and will not come. As a result, Jerusalem and the entire Jewish economy were destroyed in the year 70 A.D.
There are still many Jews on the earth, but as a whole they remain adamant in their hearts against God and His Christ. After this, the servants were sent out into the byways to bid all that they could find to the wedding. They gathered bad and good, and the wedding was furnished with guests-the destitute and the Gentiles.
One guest was without a wedding garment, which had been provided for all. The king asked why he didn't have on a wedding garment (Christ); he was speechless. To be at the wedding, man needs one thing-Christ, the wedding garment. Concerning any who do not have the wedding garment, we are told what will happen: "Bind him hand and foot [all liberties gone forever], and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Weeping is remorse; gnashing of teeth is insubjection with hatred toward God and His Christ. The condition lasts forever, for there is no repentance in hell. The evil nature of the lost remains the same forever.
The Three Shepherds
After He spoke these parables, there came to Jesus, to catch Him in His words, three shepherds of Israel Herodians, Sadducees and Pharisees.
First, the Herodians ask if it is right to give tribute money to Cæsar., Jesus asks, "Whose is this image and superscription?" They say Caesar's. He responds that they are to render, therefore, unto Cæsar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's. Marveling, they leave.
Next, the Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection, put before Jesus this case. If a man die, having no children, his brother should marry his wife and raise up seed to his brother. They say that there were seven brothers, and that the first married and died childless. All seven brothers marry her and each dies. Finally, she dies, childless, and so they ask whose wife she should be in the resurrection? Jesus answered, "In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.... Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." The multitude who heard this answer were astonished.
The Pharisees, the last of these three shepherds (Zech. 11:8), asked Him, "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus answered, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
The Lord's answer not only showed man's responsibly to God, but also his responsibility to his fellowman, his neighbor. It was a word for the consciences of the Pharisees who hated the Lord Jesus, their neighbor. Thus the three shepherds were silenced.
The Lord asks the Pharisees, "What think ye of Christ? whose Son is He?" They say, 'The Son of David." He then asks, "How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool? If David then call Him Lord, how is He his son?" No man was able to answer or ask any more questions. "Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred Me." Zech. 11:8.

Eight Woes on Israel's Leaders

Matthew 23
The Lord takes up the leaders and shows their Pharisaical wickedness and character. Then He pours out eight woes on them. This chapter closes His public ministry with this solemn Judgment on the leaders of the nation (Ezek. 34:1-3).
Then He opens His heart to the nation, desiring that their children may see the marvelous grace to that nation when He comes again to "turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers." Mal. 4:6.
He laments, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord."
In Psa. 91:4 we read, "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust." This verse answers to the Lord's desire as the true shepherd, expressed in His lament over Jerusalem.

The Olivet Discourse

Matthew 24
The disciples showed Jesus the buildings of the temple. He told them that every stone in the temple would be upturned, which came to pass in the year 70 A.D. when Titus and his Roman army razed the temple.
He sat on the mount of Olives, and the disciples came privately and asked, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world [age]?"
So He answers them. At the end of the age there will come a time of trouble lasting a little over seven years. The first three-and-one-half years are called the "be-ginning of sorrows" and the next three-and-one-half years are called the "great tribulation."
The Beginning of Sorrows
During the beginning of sorrows deceivers shall arise pretending to be Christ; beware of them. Do not be troubled about wars and rumors of wars. Nations shall rise, one against another; there will be famines, pestilence and earthquakes in different places. (Read also Rev. 6, which covers the beginning of sorrows.)
All through the seven years of trial there will be many who will pretend to be Christ. Today we have many wars going on in many places. Most of them are not prominent. Then there will be more wars that will be prominent and will affect the Jews, especially during the great tribulation which follows the beginning of sorrows.
In the beginning of sorrows a covenant will be made between the head of the Roman people and Israel. Then it will be broken in the middle of the seven years. A ruler appointed of God will arise, possibly like one who is appointed president of the league of nations today in the West. He will have the power over all nations for a brief time and there will be peace. Civil war will break out, not necessarily between armies, but every man against his neighbor. Many will be slain at this time. If the rider on the white horse in Rev. 6 carried a bow for distant warfare, this one carries a great sword for close combat, terrible in its consequences.
There will be famine, especially affecting the poor and working class, the rich being immune for the moment. Finally, a part of the earth will be killed by the sword and by famine. There seems to be a mention of a religious war, probably against the remnant of Israel and others who carried a testimony to the God of the earth. Those who are killed will later be raised with other martyrs for heaven.
Finally, the rulers of the various nations will feel the awful pangs of war when governments will be broken up and chaos will spread over the western world. The mighty men and their subjects will call for the mountains to fall on them because of the wrath of the Lamb, but the wrath of the Lamb will not come until three and-one-half years later. All these things are the beginning of sorrows.
The Great Tribulation
The Lord speaks to the disciples as though they personally would be the ones going through this period of trials. But two thousand years stand between His discourse and its fulfillment. The disciples prefigure the little remnant of Jews who will give a testimony of the coming kingdom and the King.
This remnant will be a testimony for the Lord in Jerusalem for the first three-and-one-half years and then for the last three-and-one-half years (the great tribulation) among the Gentile nations of the prophetic earth (Dan. 12:3). These servants will be afflicted and killed; they will go forth as sheep among wolves (Psa. 79:1-4).
The men of the earth shall hate and betray one another, being deceived by false prophets. Affection for Christ will grow cold as iniquity abounds. Those who continue through these hardships shall be saved for the coming kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom of the Son of man shall continue to go out to all nations of the prophetic earth. Psa. 96 is the gospel of the kingdom.
In the middle of the seven years, the abomination of desolation-idolatry-will be set up publicly. During the last three-and-one-half years of Judgment, idolatry will have full sway in Jerusalem, especially the temple. Before the end of the seven years, a man will be worshipped in Jerusalem (2 Thess. 2:4). There will be an attack by the king of the north.
This idolatry causes the remnant of faith in Israel to flee unto the mountains. Persecution for not worshipping the idol and from the nations who seek to destroy them will be so severe that they must flee quickly or be killed (Dan. 9:27). Those who flee must not stop to retrieve anything from their houses, but must leave immediately. Circumstances will be difficult for mothers with children. God in mercy thinks of the fact that it might be winter and cold, and that they would want to keep the sabbath days, being under the law.
The tribulations of this period will be greater than had ever occurred before or ever would occur after. Unless the time was shortened, there would be no flesh left; for the sake of the elect Jews, the time would be shortened.
Israel is the carcass; the eagles represent Judgment under Christ (Job 39:27-30). The great tribulation period ends at verses 27 and 28.
Immediately following the great tribulation, the sun shall be darkened (the leader of the western confederacy, the revived Roman Empire, is destroyed) and the moon shall not give her light (the antichrist is destroyed in judgment).
At the coming of the Son of man, the twelve tribes will mourn (Rev. 1:7). This anticipates His coming to the earth in judgment (a sign). It will actually be His coming first to reveal Himself to the tribes of Israel just restored. His appearing is to the remnant of Jews; only at the mount of Olives is the sign (Acts 1:11).
The ten tribes, the elect of Israel, will be gathered to join the two tribes already in possession of their position in the kingdom as those who reign with Christ (Zech. 12:7). Together they will form one nation, the kingdom of Israel (Mic. 5:3). At the same time all of the neighbor nations will have been gathered back into their own lands (Isa. 13:14).
Chapter 24:1-44 outlines the coming judgment on Israel and their condition at that time. Verses 36-44 are a picture of the condition in Israel just two-and-one half months before the end. Chapter 24:45 to 25:30 is the judgment on Christendom-those who profess to be Christians and are not real. Chapter 25:31-46 will be the judgment on the living nations (Gentiles). This judgment will be final.
These judgments take place in the prophetic earth, which is bounded by the perimeter of the four world monarchies spoken of in Dan. 2 Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and Roman (and her colonies).
The Servant in the Household
In the profession of Christ, the Christian profession, there are those who serve in the assembly as those who shepherd and help the saints. There are faithful and wise servants as well as evil ones.
The faithful and wise ruler is one who has found grace to provide meat for the people of God during the Lord's absence. Such servants are much needed today. The servant will be blessed when his Lord returns; He makes him ruler over all of His goods.
The evil servant who is over the household says in his heart, "My Lord delayeth His coming," so he begins to smite his fellow servants, and eat and drink with the drunken. The Lord will come on him suddenly and give him his position with all hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Ten Virgins: A Likeness of the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 25
Ten virgins went out to meet the Bridegroom with lamps (torches). They were divided into groups: five wise and five foolish. The foolish took no oil (the Spirit indwelling) with their lamps. The wise carried vessels of oil with their lamps. Because the Bridegroom tarried, they all slept. There was a cry at midnight, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him."
The virgins rising, prepared their lamps by trimming them. The foolish asked for oil, but it was not the time for finding oil; it was too late. While they went to buy, the Bridegroom came and those who were ready went in to the marriage hall and the door was shut. Later came the other five virgins, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us." He responded, "I know you not."
Then the Lord gave a warning to all: "Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." I trust that my reader is aware of the opportunity now to be "wise"; now may be the last opportunity to find the Savior. A person may be a professor, one who carries a lamp. But unless you person-ally receive the Lord Jesus in your heart and trust in His precious blood, you are not saved. Soon the door of salvation will be shut and you will be lost for all eternity, headed for the blackness of darkness forever. If you are really saved, you will have oil (the Holy Spirit indwelling) in your vessel (your being) and you will enter into the marriage feast at the heavenly wedding of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7).
The Traveling Man and His Talents:
Another Likeness of the Kingdom of Heaven A man going into a far country delivered his goods into the hands of his servants. To one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his own ability. Then he went into a far country. In trading, the servant with the five talents gained five, the one with the two talents gained two, and the one with the one talent hid his in the earth.
A long time passed. Then the lord returned and reckoned with his servants. The one with five talents brought them plus five other talents, saying, "Lord... behold, I have gained beside them five talents more." The one with the two gained two additional ones. To each of them the lord said, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."
The commendation was for the good and faithful servant. The servant probably was telling out the goodness of his master faithfully. What a lesson for our souls. Is this true of us? Shall we really enter into the joy of our Lord? It seems that the reward is much like the service. The service was one of joy in seeking the salvation of souls. During the one thousand years of the kingdom on earth, we shall have the privilege from heaven to reign with Christ and to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom throughout the entire millennial day. This will be His joy as well.
The servant with the one talent came to his lord and said, "Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine."
What a confession! This servant is like one who has had the highest truths ever given to man, and yet, instead of increasing the Lord's money by being faithfully engaged with his Lord's interests in heavenly things, his talent-his whole life-was hidden in the earth. Besides this, he attacked his Lord and his Lord's motives. To him, the Lord was a hard, unrighteous man, so the Lord judges him by his words. He was cast into outer darkness to remember for eternity a wasted life without God and without Christ. Scripture says to the rich man in hell (eternal punishment), "Son, remember." There the worm (the conscience) does not die and the fire (judgment) is not quenched, forever.
The one talent was given to the one who had five talents. The one who excels in the enjoyment (joy) of heavenly things in service to his Master will be given an abundance, but the one who does not value his Master or his goods will have everything taken from him. This is a solemn warning to those in the kingdom of heaven who are not real. It is the result of the rejection of the new order of the kingdom, the order being despised by Christendom.
Judgment of the Living Nations
Next we learn what will take place on earth when the Son of man returns as King to judge the nations. There are three companies in this world: the Jew, the Gentile (nations or heathen) and the Church of God. Chapter 24 began with the judgment on Israel. Then came the judgment on Christendom. Now we come to the judgment on the living nations of the prophetic earth. God does not judge until He first gives a testimony. The Jews will have a testimony of the kingdom; the nations also will have a testimony of the kingdom.
The condemnation will be on each individual of the nations (the goats) who rejects the messengers who bring to them the good news of the coming kingdom. The Lord is spoken of as King to these Gentiles because the message to them is of a kingdom that God is setting up over the whole earth with Jesus as the King. The Lord separates each individual among the nations "as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." The sheep are on His right hand, and the goats on His left.
The sheep are blessed of the King's Father, not their Father, and He shall say, "Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." They are blessed, for they had cared for His messengers, who preached the gospel of the kingdom to all nations, as though they had cared for Him.
The condemnations on the goats are immediate and final. They are sent to everlasting punishment because they not only had not cared for the Lord's messengers, but they also had refused the message of grace given to them.
In Matt. 24 in reference to the Jews, Jesus is spoken of as the Son of man. With respect to Christendom, the Lord Jesus is spoken of as Lord, while among the nations He will be known as King. Having completed the solemn pronouncement of eight woes on the leaders of Israel and the Judgments on Israel, Christendom and the nations, the Lord begins to speak to His disciples about His death.

Passover, Garden and Betrayal

Matthew 26
The chief priests and rulers assembled, seeking a subtle way to take and kill Him. They would not do it on the feast day, because that day was holy, but God overruled as to when and how all took place (Matt. 27:62). We turn from that awful scene where those who were in the highest place of blessing and religious honor met together, seeking a way to slay the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:8).
We see a woman coming to Jesus with very precious ointment which she poured on His head while He sat at meat in the house of Simon the leper. This could be the very time and place spoken of in John 12:1-3. Mary worshipped and Lazarus sat at meat with Jesus, while Martha served.
This household scene is a picture of the heavenly family and their eternal occupation-worship, fellow-ship and service (Rev. 22:1-3). What a gracious and fruitful end is accomplished by Jesus in His ministry and fellowship in the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus (Luke 10:38-42; John 12:1-7). What a picture of heaven to have souls, both loving and spiritually mature, so occupied. The Lord is seen on earth in the loving care of members of His heavenly family, a respite for Him after pronouncing judgment on the Jews, their leaders, Christendom and the nations.
Judas and the other disciples react very strongly to Mary's act of pouring the ointment on the head of Jesus, not understanding why it was done. They say, "To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor." The Lord answered, "Why trouble ye the woman?... For in that she hath poured this ointment on My body, she did it for My burial." In every place that the gospel is proclaimed, the act of this woman will be announced as a memorial for her.
Judas Betrays Jesus
Judas makes a covenant with the chief priests to sell Jesus into their hands for thirty pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12). Then he starts looking for an opportunity to do it.
While Jesus and the disciples keep the passover feast, He tells them that one of them would betray Him. He said, "He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me.... But woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born." Judas went out into the night, never to return to be with the Lord or the little group of disciples.
We are sure that Judas never would have done what he did at the start of his course, but as he moved on in company with the Lord in His service, doing the same miracles, demon power began to take over because he hardened his heart against the overtures of mercy that he himself preached. He did not lie on the breast of Jesus as John did. Coming under the power of demons, he erred in his heart and became a thief (John 12:6). Finally, Judas was overcome by his evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God (Heb. 3:8-12).
"I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly." Prov. 5:14. Could it be that one of us, surrounded by believers, by not continuing in communion with the Lord Jesus, could begin to take the course that Judas took? Would we harden our hearts against the truth, err in our ways, and finally, by departing from the living God, prove that we had no life after all?
Shall I ask, "Where am I in my soul now?" Surrounded by believers, it is easy to profess to belong to Christ. I ask this also of all, even those who take the lead among God's people. Has Satan deceived me? Have I hardened my heart? Am I erring in my ways? If so, there is but one step between me and death.
These are the last moments of the kingdom of heaven on the earth. The god of this world, Satan, is busier now than ever before to destroy confidence in God and His Word. Sin does not begin in open rebellion, but by hardening of the heart. Communion is interrupted, little evils creep in which we might brand as incidentals, but which are omens of greater events to come.
For one who is professedly in the Lord's service, work can become so time-consuming that no time is left for communion. Then the heart grows cold, service becomes mechanical, and Satan has opportunity to install false notions through reasoning, so that the person begins to believe them, departing from the Word of God. If there is life, the Lord will, by various means, recover the soul. If not, an evil heart of unbelief will cause the person to depart from the living God. Such was Judas. One evidence of departure is to criticize our brethren.
In the case of Judas we see how Satan works to bring in apostasy among God's people. Apostasy is departure from known or professed truth. Soon apostasy will entirely overcome the profession of Christianity. Its leaven will leaven the whole lump (Matt. 13:33). Most do not understand the power of Satan. If one is not in communion, reading the Word of God and praying, the enemy will come and fill the void, and the fall will be great.
Here we have the two or three gathered to His name, with Jesus in the midst. It is a preview of the assembly. With Jesus, the disciples partake of the Lord's supper. As they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new (in a different manner) with you in My Father's kingdom."
This eating of the bread and drinking of the wine was His last supper with the disciples. Bread is an emblem, not only of Christ's body given for us, but, as a result, a symbol of eternal sustenance. Wine is an emblem of His blood shed for the remission of sin, and, as a result, a symbol of eternal joy. Judas had gone out and was not present at the Lord's supper (John 13:30); Satan had entered into him.
After singing a hymn they went out to the mount of Olives. Jesus told His disciples that they would all be offended because of Him that night. He said, "It is writ-ten, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad [Zech. 13:7]. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee." Peter said that he would never be offended; all the disciples said the same. The Lord said to Peter, "Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice." Will we ever learn that the flesh profits nothing? Peter's heart was right, but he did not yet know that his strength lay only in the grace that God bestows.
Gethsemane
Jesus told His disciples to sit while He went apart and prayed. Taking with Him Peter, John and James, He said to them, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me." Then "He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." Three times He prayed the same words.
Of Him the Word says, "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from [out ofl death, and was heard in that He feared." Heb. 5:7. Only God the Father will ever know the sorrow that Jesus suffered in His entire being as man, when He became sin for us. All that we know is what is written here and in some expressions found in the Psalms and the book of Isaiah.
There never was anything like Gethsemane. There He counted the cost; at Calvary He paid the debt. How could we ever know what He passed through in His soul as He anticipated being abandoned of God, facing the "horns of the unicorns," and bearing for us the righteous wrath of God against sin? How could we ever know what went on in His heart as He was made sin, the One who knew no sin? Our hearts are stirred to praise Him now and evermore.
Jesus said, "Behold, he is at hand that doth betray Me." A great multitude came, led by Judas who said, "Hail, Master," and kissed Him. Jesus said, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" One of the disciples struck a servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." If the Lord had asked, the Father would have given Him twelve legions of angels. But if He had, how would "the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. The high priest and council sought false witnesses against Him; they wanted to put Him to death. They found two false witnesses, but Jesus was silent before their false testimony.
The high priest commanded Jesus by the living God to tell whether He was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered, 'Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Having accused Jesus of blasphemy, the high priest asked the council, "What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death." Then the people spit on Him and abused Him.
Peter, after following Jesus at a distance entered the high priest's palace and warmed himself beside the enemies' fire. When a maid accused him of being with Jesus, he denied it. On the porch another maid saw him and said, "This fellow was also with Jesus." Peter denied with an oath. Others that stood by accused him. He began to curse and to swear, saying, "I know not the man." Immediately the cock crew. Peter went out and wept bitterly, remembering that Jesus had said, "Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice."

Trial and Crucifixion

Matthew 27
In the morning, the chief priests and elders, having taken counsel against Jesus to put Him to death, bound Jesus and led Him away to Pilate. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, hung himself, casting the thirty pieces of silver on the floor. With them the Jews bought the potters' field.
Pilate asked Him, "Art Thou the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, 'Thou sayest." Being accused, He answered nothing. While Pilate was on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message: "Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him." Pilate offered to release either Barabbas or Jesus. The people, urged on by the rulers, chose Barabbas. Pilate sentenced Jesus to be crucified, while washing his hands and saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person." Then answered all the people, "His blood be on us, and on our children." Barabbas, the murderer, was then released to them.
They stripped Jesus, putting on Him a scarlet robe and on His head a crown of thorns. Jesus would not take anything to relieve His pain as He was crucified. Over His head was placed the written accusation, "This is Jesus the King of the Jews." As they watched Him suffer, they mocked Him, saying, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him."
From the sixth hour to the ninth hour there was darkness. Then "Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" When He had cried again with a loud voice, He yielded up His Spirit.
"The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."
The Gentile "centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus... feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God."
The women who ministered to Jesus in Galilee were there watching from a distance. Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man who was Jesus' disciple, begged Pilate to give him the body of Jesus. He prepared the body and laid it in a new tomb, which would have been his own, and rolled a great stone over the opening and departed. Pilate gave permission to the leaders of Israel to set a watch over the tomb.

Resurrection

Matthew 28
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the sepulcher at the end of the sabbath in the dusk of the next day. The angel of the Lord had descended from heaven and rolled back the stone and sat on it. Because His face was like lightening and His clothing white as snow, those who kept the sepulcher shook with fear and became like dead men.
To the Mary’s the angel said, "He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.... Tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you." On the way to tell the disciples, they met Jesus, who greeted them, saying, "All hail." They came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him.
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had told them He would meet them. When they saw Him, they worshipped, but some doubted. He told them, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [age]. Amen."

The Gospel of Mark: The Holy Servant, the Son of God, Immediately at Work

Mark 1
Mark begins his gospel with John the Baptist, who ran before the Lord Jesus as His messenger, to announce His coming. Jesus is presented as the Servant Son of God, and so nothing is said here of His being of the royal line of Israel's kings.
The Ministry of John the Baptist
John the Baptist proclaimed the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Those of the land of Judah and Jerusalem were baptized by him in the river Jordan. Baptism signifies "death," and baptism in the river Jordan typifies the believer's death with Christ.
The food and dress of John the Baptist told out, as well as his life, what his mission was. He, a servant of God, was to introduce to men the true Servant Son of God, which was John's first testimony.
The Baptism of Jesus
John baptized with water, but Jesus baptized with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Coming from Galilee, Jesus was baptized by John in the river Jordan.
Both Matthew and Mark tell us that He saw the heavens opened and that, coming out of the water, the Spirit, like a dove, descended upon Him. Luke, in keeping with the subject of his gospel, says simply that "the heaven was opened." The voice from heaven said, 'Thou art My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
The Temptation in the Wilderness
Jesus was immediately driven by the Spirit into the wilderness and tempted of Satan for forty days. What a mercy this is for us who believe-Jesus, the perfect Servant, as man, met, vanquished and bound our enemy, thus setting us free.
Jesus was with the wild beasts, but they were not wild to Him. After Adam lost his place over the creation by sinning, the beasts feared him, the head of the creation, and now they are afraid of us and we of them. The Lord Jesus lost nothing; he is perfect man. He commands the fish of the sea, the beasts, the waves of the sea and even the demons. In the millennial day, the curse having been removed, the wild beasts will be tame. The lion and the lamb will lie down together.
The angels ministered to Jesus. He was Lord over them as man; they were His servants. They also serve us, for whatever place Jesus has as man, that is our place (Heb. 1:13,14).
To show the attitude of a true servant, we see words like "straightway' and "immediately" repeated often in this gospel. The servant responds in this way to his master. There is an urgency to accomplish what his master wills.
The Holy Spirit descended as a dove upon Him. As a result of this, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. The Spirit is the power of the believer's life. The believer was baptized with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It will never be repeated or added to because "God gives not the Spirit by measure." John 3:34 JND.
Jesus was victorious over Satan in each and every temptation. If we live in the power of the Spirit (that supposes that we do not live in the flesh), in complete dependence on God, having Judged all evil in us, we may have complete victory over Satan.
The Beginning of Jesus’ Ministry
After John the Baptist was put into prison and his mission completed, Jesus began His public ministry and life of service. It is the "meat offering" spoken of in Lev. 2. The fine flour speaks of the consistency of His life, nothing to interfere with His service; the oil speaks of the Holy Spirit in complete control of the Servant, and the frankincense speaks of the fragrance going up to God as a result.
Jesus, in preaching, gave the same message as John the Baptist-"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." As the prophet, he taught continually.
Nazareth
Until He began His ministry, Jesus lived in Nazareth with His mother and family. Then He dwelt in His own house in Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee (Matt. 13:57). Jesus called for repentance. There must be a deep, moral change in man or he cannot enter the kingdom of God. To be fit for that kingdom of God, which is of a moral character, one must have new birth (be born again). See John 3:7.
The Calling of Peter and Andrew
Walking by the sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two fisher-man brothers, Simon Peter and Andrew, casting a net into the sea. Jesus called them to come after Him and promised that He would make them fishers of men. The casting of the net into the sea suggests the work that they had before them of preaching the gospel.
These two brothers worked together and Jesus did not separate them, but they continued to work together for Him, not catching fish, but men. The Lord Jesus did not disturb anything here that He did not need to in fulfilling His purposes. His grace is seen at every turn (the meat offering). Without hesitation, the two brothers forsook their nets and all, to follow Jesus. We should forsake all to follow Jesus, to enter the kingdom of God.
The Calling of James and John
A little further on Jesus saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee, in the ship mending their nets. He called them; they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants.
The Lord does not call one away from a responsibility that He has laid on him unless others carry on the responsibility. The father Zebedee had hired servants to help him.
Mending nets would make us think of John's minis-try to minister to God's people in the last days when all has broken down. The net could speak of the assembly. Peter as a pioneer gathered souls to form the assembly; John mended the net in the last days.
The disciples with Jesus entered into Capernaum, only a short way from Bethsaida where Peter, Andrew, James and John lived. Here Jesus taught in the synagogue on the sabbath day. He taught with authority and they were astonished at His doctrine.
The Healing of a Demon-Possessed Man
In the synagogue was a man possessed with a demon. Seeing Jesus, he cried out, saying, "Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God." Rebuking the demon, Jesus told him to hold his peace and come out of the man. The demon, having torn the man and cried with a loud voice, came out. The amazed people said, "What new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him."
This was the first healing in the Lord's ministry. The Lord bound the strong man, Satan, and now He was delivering his goods by setting the man possessed by demons free from Satan's authority. It was by the Holy Spirit of God that the man who had been possessed of the demons was set free.
There are two powers in this world. Man is not free, having sinned, but is under the power of Satan, unless he is a believer. Having been cleansed by the precious blood of Christ, the believer is under the power of the Holy Spirit.
The demon knew who Jesus was. Things are not hidden in the spiritual world as they are on the earth. The time will come when all who have been possessed with demons, who have no faith, will be destroyed in hell (Isa. 24:21-23). In the new order of the kingdom of God, the power of testimony is by the Spirit. For a demon to testify is only confusion. The Holy Spirit alone can testify of Jesus. Thus the fame of Jesus went out to all of the region round about Galilee.
The Healing of Peter’s Wife’s Mother
Coming out of the synagogue, Jesus and His fishermen entered the house of Simon in Bethsaida. Simon's mother-in-law lay sick of a fever. They told Jesus who raised her up, and she ministered to them.
It was evening; the sun was setting; Jesus had finished His first full day's work healing and casting out demons. Yet He continued to heal diseases and cast out demons, even after a day's work was done. All of the city gathered at the door. What a sight!
Have there not been similar sights many times when the gospel was preached? How sad that some come only for the excitement when they could be healed and given eternal life.
The Praying Servant
Early in the morning, before daybreak, Jesus departed to a solitary place and prayed. Later the disciples followed after Him and said, "All men seek for Thee." He answered, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also." Jesus had prayed before the day began; He would not receive either publicity or flattery. His service was in love, always. After prayer they go to the next town and a leper was there ready to be blessed-what precision of timing for the perfect, praying Servant.
A Leper Healed
At the beginning of Jesus' ministry a demon was cast out. Then Peter's wife's mother was healed. Now a leper is about to be cleansed.
The leper came kneeling before Jesus and beseeched Him, saying, "If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean." As soon as he had asked, the leprosy departed and he was cleansed.
Leprosy is a loathsome disease. It gives a picture of man in all his uncleanness, from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot. The leper was an outcast.
What the leper needed was cleansing. This Jesus did with compassion by touching him. Jesus could not be deified, but He could heal. He said, "I will; be thou clean." Jesus is characterized by purity and power.
The leper in disobedience did not go to the priest for a testimony; he gave his own testimony in the city. As a result, Jesus could not openly enter the city, but had to confine His ministry to those in the desert places who came to Him.

The Palsied Man Healed

Mark 1
Jesus entered Capernaum and the news spread that He was at home, not on a journey. The people came and He preached the Word to a full house.
Four men brought a palsied man for healing. Not being able to enter by the door, they uncovered the roof and let down the man on his bed before Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the palsied man, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." Hearing Him say this, some said, "Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?"
Perceiving their unbelief, Jesus said to them, "Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (He saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house." The palsied man immediately arose and carried his bed, while the people said, "We never saw it on this fashion."
The Lord went again to the seaside and as the multitude came to Him, He taught them.
The Calling of Levi (Matthew)
Seeing Levi at the tax office, He told him to follow Him. Levi followed. How many times have men heard Jesus say, "Follow Me," and turned away, for some, to their eternal ruin. How sad for one who hears the Savior's call for the last time and turns from it.
Eternity is before you, sinner-why will you linger unto your doom? "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 2 Cor. 6:2.
As far as we know, Levi was not sick; he was not a leper; he did not have a demon, but he was a sinner through and through. He was like all men before they are saved, but the Holy Spirit moved Levi to leave his lucrative business and follow Jesus.
At Levi's house many publicans and sinners gathered to sit and eat with Jesus. When Jesus ate with these sinners, the leaders of Israel objected to His disciples. Jesus responded that they who were well did not need a doctor, only those who were sick. He said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Fasting
The disciples of the Pharisees and of John the Baptist fasted, while the disciples of Jesus did not. The leaders of Israel asked, Why? Jesus replied, "Can the children of the bridegroom fast, while the bridegroom is with them?... When the bridegroom shall be taken away... then shall they fast." Fasting is connected here with mourning-a part of Christian experience while Jesus is absent and until He returns to take His own home.
A New Garment and New Wine
To sew a piece of new cloth on an old garment would make the rent worse. For one to attach Christianity to Judaism, or to put the old man (nature) together with the new man, would never do. They are incompatible. They are as different as night and day.
There must be a new garment (character) formed by the Spirit of God, by new birth, or all is lost. Such a new garment lasts forever because it is of God.
The same principle is true with wine, which speaks of joy. It cannot be put into old bottles (sheepskins). This new wine (joy) will break the bottles (the skins only last one year) and the wine will be spilled. There must be a new nature if there is to be a new, eternal joy.
The old bottles of our life on this earth will not last long, perhaps 60 to 90 years. What is this in comparison to eternity, with a new body of glory and eternal joy? Are you wise? Take Christ as your Savior and you will have a new bottle (new nature and life) and new wine (eternal joy). The old man cannot be renewed. He must be put in the place of death, of which baptism is a figure. 'The answer of a good conscience." 1 Peter 3:21.
The Sabbath Day
As Jesus and His disciples passed through the corn (wheat) on the sabbath day, the disciples plucked and ate the corn as they went.
Without doubt, Jesus did miracles on the sabbath day to make the Jew realize that the covenant of God with Israel, which was sealed by keeping the sabbath, had over and over again been broken. If God was rejected, of what good were ordinances? God was there in the Person of Jesus and He was rejected.
Under the law one could eat from the field if he were hungry, but no corn could be taken away from the field. The difficulty was that it was done on the sabbath. Jesus answered the Jews who questioned what the disciples did by referring to David and his followers. Being hungry, they went into the house of God and ate the showbread which was only for the priests.
If Christ, like David, was rejected, of what good were ordinances? The rejected Christ was free to act as He willed, because He is Lord of the sabbath. 'The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath."

The Man With the Withered Hand

Mark 3
In the synagogue there was a man with a withered hand. The leaders watched Jesus to see if He would heal on the sabbath day. Often when one is working and prospering in the gospel or some other service, there are those who do nothing but watch and criticize. Those who are busy doing good, even in secular things, have no time to speak against another.
The Pharisees manifested hatred without a cause. Jesus asked the man with the withered hand to stand forth. He asked if it were right to do good on the sabbath day or evil-to save life or destroy it? But they held their peace. Looking on them with anger and grieved for their hardness of heart, He asked the man to stretch forth his hand and it was restored like the other. The leaders went away and took counsel how they might get rid of Him.
The Pharisees were legalists. Lest they violate the sabbath, they would rather have a person remain sick than be healed on that day. Also, they demanded of others what they would not do themselves. May we search our hearts lest there be in us the tendency toward legalism.
As Jesus and His disciples withdrew to the sea, multitudes followed Him, coming from many places as far away as Idumea. Because of the crowd He spoke to His disciples that He should have a small ship to speak from. As the people pressed on Him to touch Him, He healed many. What a Savior! Demons fell down before Him, acknowledging Him as Son of God, and were charged by Jesus to not make Him known.
The Disciples Ordained
Jesus called to Himself on a mountain those He would have to be His disciples. Twelve were ordained to be with Him, to preach, to heal and to cast out demons. Later, they were sent out two by two. The twelve were Simon who was surnamed Peter, James and John, to whom He gave the surname Boanerges (which means "the sons of thunder"), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alpheus, Thaddeus, Simon the Canaanite and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him.
After this they enter into the house, probably Jesus' house. Such a crowd gathered that Jesus and the disciples could not even eat. His relatives thought that He was out of His mind.
The scribes accused Jesus of casting out demons by the prince of the demons. Jesus answered that Satan cannot cast out Satan. A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. Satan cannot divide against himself.
If one were to enter a strong man's house to spoil his goods, the strong man must first be bound, then his house could be spoiled. Jesus bound the strong man, Satan, in Mark 1:12, and now was able to deliver Satan's goods.
Jesus said that all sins will be forgiven a man (if the man repents), except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Old and New Relationships
Old relationships have been set aside to bring in new ones. It is no longer Israel by covenant, but those who do the will of the Father who are in the new relationship with God. 'Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." John 6:28,29.

The Sower

Mark 4
Again the Lord entered a ship and taught many things by parables.
He began with the parable of a sower who went forth to sow. Some of his seeds fell on the wayside and were devoured by the fowls. If the Word (the seed) sown in the heart is not valued, souls are drawn away by Satan. There is profession because the Word is sown in the heart, though there is no fruit.
Some seed fell on stony ground which immediately sprang up, but it was soon withered by the sun, having no root. Immediately they received the Word gladly, and because they had no root in themselves (repentance), they endured only for a time. When affliction or persecution arose for the Word's sake, they turned aside and so there was no fruit. Repentance forms the root.
Some fell among thorns and immediately the thorns growing up choked it. There was no fruit. How the thorns, the cares of this life, take up man's time so that he neglects the important things, the eternal things. Beside the cares, there are other thorns such as the pursuit of riches, an unequal yoke in business or marriage, and the lust of desire for other things.
Those who hear the Word and receive it in the heart and conscience bear fruit, some thirty, some sixty and some a hundredfold. The increase from thirty to sixty to one hundred is an encouragement for the servant to labor energetically so that there might be fruit to his account.
If man only knew the meaning of this parable and believed it, his soul would be saved from hell. One who is not interested will suffer eternal loss.
Testimony
A candle should be set on a candlestick. This speaks of testimony-being out and out for Christ. The candle should not be hid by our business (the bushel), nor should we be lazy (the bed) about our testimony.
There is nothing hid-the day will come when everything will be made known. We should take heed to what we hear and do, because we will receive again what we do and more will be added to it. If one does not value the Word of God in his heart, it is mere profession, and whatever he may seem to have spiritually will be taken away.
We little realize that the work in our souls is the work of the Holy Spirit. Day after day and night after night passes, finally the seed springs up and grows: the blade first, then the ear, and after that, the full corn in the ear. Such is the work of the Holy Spirit in our souls. When Jesus returns for the harvest, the fruit, or lack of it, will be seen.
Mustard Seed
The kingdom of God is likened to a grain of mustard seed which is smaller than other seeds. After sowing and growing, it turns out to be greater than all herbs, producing large branches (Christendom) for the birds of heaven (demons) to introduce evil doctrine into the Christian testimony. This answers to the great profession of Christianity which is without life, having given up the truth and turned to fables.
In public He spoke only by parables; alone with His disciples He explained their meaning.
The Ship in the Storm
Sending the multitudes away, Jesus was taken just as He was into the ship. Other little ships were also with Him. A great storm of wind arose, beating water into the ship until it was full. Being asleep on a pillow in the hinder part of the ship, Jesus was awakened by the disciples saying, "Master, carest Thou not that we perish?" Arising, He rebuked the wind, saying to the sea, "Peace, be still."
The other little ships no doubt weathered the storm because He was on the sea with them. However, they were not in the ship that He was in with His disciples.
When the wind ceased there was a great calm. One word from Him shows He is the Creator. Rebuking the disciples, Jesus said, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" Today Jesus is just as interested in us as He was in the disciples in the boat.
Fearing greatly, they spoke together, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" The fishermen knew that after a storm the waters would not be calm for hours. This to them was a great miracle, because the waters were immediately calm.
We cannot criticize the disciples when we surround ourselves with things that show that we do not trust the Lord. Can we not trust Him?

The Man Who Dwelt Among the Tombs

Mark 5
Going over the sea of Galilee to Gadara, Jesus met a man with an unclean spirit who lived among the tombs. He, having been bound with fetters and chains to no avail, was uncontrollable. This unhappy man was crying and cutting himself with stones. Seeing Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped Him, begging Him not to torment him.
What a picture of man. Every man in some degree, bound by Satan, is in constant torment if not saved through the blood of Christ. This is a glimpse of the condition of those who will spend their eternity in hell.
The activity of demons goes on in large measure among the heathen Gentiles. In modern civilization all of the drugs, alcohol, pleasures and the multitude of other sins bear their fruit in torment, if not now, then later.
These things produce a deep aching in the soul that only Jesus can heal. Jesus said, "Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit." He was asked his name. He an-swered, "My name is Legion: for we are many." The demons asked Him to send them into a herd of swine nearby. After Jesus gave them permission to go, the herd of about 2000 swine ran down into the sea and drowned.
The swinekeepers fled to the city with the news, and the people came out to see for themselves. When they saw the man who had been possessed, sitting, clothed and in his right mind, they were afraid. Those who came and saw spread the word, and the people begged Jesus to depart out of their coasts.
Could it be that man is so engrossed with his sinful life that he would rather remain in his sin than have Jesus in his presence? Would he rather be indwell by a demon than by the Spirit of God?
While the others wanted Him to leave, the delivered man begged to go with Jesus. He did not permit him to go, but told him to return to the city and to tell his people what great things the Lord had done for him and had had compassion on him. So the man went and did it.
Jairus and a Certain Woman
Jesus returned by ship to the other side. Near the sea a great crowd gathered to Him. Jairus, a ruler, came to Him and entreated Him for his daughter who was at the point of death. Jesus, Jairus, and a crowd started toward his house.
Hearing of Jesus, a woman who had had a disease of the blood for twelve years and who had spent her living on many physicians without receiving help, came up behind Him and touched His garment. She thought that if she could only touch His clothes she would be healed and immediately she was. Jesus, conscious that power had left Him, said, "Who touched Me?"
The disciples asked how anyone could know who touched Him in a throng like that. But Jesus looked around to see her who had touched His garment. Trembling, the woman came and fell down before Him, telling Him the truth, all of it. Jesus said, "Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague."
Jesus went on to the house of Jairus and, taking the hand of Jairus's twelve-year-old daughter, said unto her, "Talitha cumi... Damsel, (I say unto thee,) arise." Immediately she arose and walked. Jesus commanded them to give her food.
The woman with the blood disease is a picture of those in the day of grace who come by faith because of their need as sinners. The raising of Jairus's daughter is a picture of the restoration of Israel as a virgin in the latter day. The healing of the woman comes between Jairus's cry for help and the raising of his daughter.

Jesus in His Own Country

Mark 6
Jesus returned with His disciples to Galilee, His own country. He lived in Capernaum, not far from Galilee. Going to the synagogue on the sabbath, He taught and many of the hearers were astonished. They asked where He got His wisdom. The people where He grew up and lived were offended at Him and said, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not His sisters here with us?"
Jesus told them that a prophet has no honor in His own country and house. Laying His hand on a few sick folk, He healed them. Marveling at their unbelief, He went into the villages teaching.
Jesus Sends His Disciples Forth to Preach
In chapter 3:14 the Lord ordained the twelve disciples to be with Him, and He sent them forth to preach. How important for a servant of the Lord, and all saints as well, to be in communion with Him before going out to present Him to others.
In this chapter Jesus calls His disciples to Him and sends them forth by two and two. In Luke 6:13-16, we learn which two go together. Two voices give adequate testimony.
The disciples, in leaving on their journey, were to take only the immediate necessities. They were to lean on the Lord who always supplies His servants with what they need as they go. Entering a house, they were to abide there until their mission in that city was finished. They were not to go from house to house for food and rest.
If they were rejected, those who rejected them would be visited with a judgment far worse than what came on Sodom and Gomorrah, because they now had more light: 'That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." John 1:9. If rejected, on leaving they were to shake off the dust from their feet for a testimony against the rejecters.
The ministry of the disciples followed the pattern set by the Lord's ministry. They preached that men should repent; they cast out demons, and they healed the sick, anointing them with oil.
Oil is a figure of the Holy Spirit. The anointing of the sick with oil, while healing, showed that there was a power outside of themselves that did the healing. Jesus used no oil.
The Death of John the Baptist
King Herod heard of Jesus and said it was John the Baptist who had risen from the dead. Some time before, at Herod's birthday party, the daughter of Herodius, the unlawful wife of Herod, had danced before him. She pleased him and he asked her to make a request. At her mother's urging she asked for the head of John the Baptist. So John was slain by Herod and then buried by John's disciples.
All of this came back on Herod's conscience. Little did Herodius know that the terrible deed, which she had her daughter do, would remain on her conscience. "Where their worm [conscience] dieth not, and the fire [constant torment] is not quenched." Mark 9:44. The executioner, Herodius, Herod and the daughter will have this deed on their consciences forever, unless they repented.
The king didn't want John the Baptist to die; he often heard him gladly. Being in bad company, he could not change what he had promised the dancing girl. How important to keep the right company, because it is our companions and our habits that ruin us.
Returning to Him, the Lord's disciples gather to tell Him what they had done and taught on their missionary journeys. Jesus took them in a ship to a desert place to be alone, to rest awhile outside of the city. The people outran their ship and were there when they arrived, so Jesus and His disciples had no rest.
We observe the constant, loving service of the Lord Jesus to the Father as He tirelessly waited on the people to whom the Father had sent Him. When Jesus saw the people, He was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep without a shepherd, and He began to teach them many things, and so fulfilled His work as the Prophet and Servant of God.
That evening the disciples said to Jesus, "Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat." Jesus said, "Give ye them to eat." Without faith the disciples inquired, "Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread?" Jesus asked how many loaves they had. They answered, "Five, and tvvo fishes." Yet little is much if the Lord is in it. Is it not true that the servant will always have to con-fess that Jesus takes what little we have, if given to Him, and turns it into an abundant blessing?
All were told to sit down in companies of hundreds and fifties on the green grass. How much we learn here. It might have been a desert place, but where Jesus was, there was blessing-green grass. Having blessed the loaves, He broke them and gave to His disciples who set them before the people, and the fishes as well. They ate and were filled.
Break Thou the bread of life,
Dear Lord to me,
As Thou didst break the bread
Beside the sea;
Beyond the sacred page
I see Thee Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee,
O Living Word.
About five thousand men ate of the loaves and fishes. There must have been as many women and children, or more. The gathering of twelve baskets full of the pieces that remained reminds us that the Lord was thinking of a remnant of a latter day-the millennium.
On a Turbulent Sea
Jesus constrained the disciples to enter a ship to go to the other side, to Bethsaida, and He sent the multitude away. Then He went up into a mountain to pray. This reminds us of our Great High Priest who is interceding for us before we find ourselves in trouble.
At evening, the ship being in the midst of the turbulent sea, Jesus was alone on the mountain. He saw them as they toiled in rowing. He came walking on the sea and would have passed them. Supposing Him to be a spirit, they cried out. He spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid."
This could be a dual picture. It reminds us of the remnant of Israel in a latter day, under the great tribulation, when the Lord's feet finally stand on the Mount of Olives and He delivers His own. This could also be a picture of the Church in the last days before His corning for us.
Three things are noted:
•"Be of good cheer"-the promise of the Lord's coming.
•"It is I"-the gathering place, where He has promised to be in the midst.
•"Be not afraid"-the enemy will do all that he can to discourage the Lord's people as they near the end of their stay here.
He walked up to them and entered the ship and the storm ceased; they were amazed and wondered. Then they went on to Gennesaret where he healed the sick. When Jesus returns, He will heal all who are sick. This is intimated by His going to Gennesaret, the place where the people told Him to depart from their coasts.
What a blessing followed. It was because the man, who had been possessed with a demon, obeyed when told to go home and to tell his friends what great things the Lord had done for Him. Surely this is a lesson for us. May we not give up or get discouraged. Blessings will come, and faith will be rewarded in that day.
What a blessing for many sick souls who will endure "to the end" of the great tribulation, after the Church has been taken home to the Father's house. On earth, the sick will be healed, the blind will see, and blessing will finally reach from one end of the earth to the other (Isa. 11:9). What a Savior!
The sick asked only to touch the border of Jesus' garment. The border was to have a ribbon of blue, the heavenly color, and speaks of His heavenly origin (Num. 15:37-41). Many touched it for saving grace. I trust that all who read this account have touched the border of His garment.

The Depravity of the Human Heart

Mark 7
The Pharisees found fault when the disciples did not wash their hands before eating. It has been said that sin and religiousness often go hand in hand.
This washing rule was a tradition. A tradition may be a man-made rule, insisted on in a religious way by legal individuals. It also may be "instructions"-principles approved by Scripture (2 Thess. 2:15 JND).
The Lord reminded them of Isaiah's rebuke to Israel, This people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me." Isa. 29:13. The Pharisees rejected the commandments of God in order to keep their own traditions. May it not be so with us. How careful we should be to observe and follow the principles of Scripture.
Nothing from without defiles a man, but what comes from within, from the heart. The Lord revealed in detail to the people the heart in all of its wickedness. There is no remedy for this condition, but the cross of Christ, where all of our sins are put away forever; then a new heart (a new nature) is given to those who believe.
Tire AND SIDON
The Lord quietly entered a house where there was a need, hoping that no one else would know. But He could not be hid.
A Syrophenician woman, whose daughter was possessed by a demon, asked Jesus for help. He told her that the children (Jews) must first be filled; the children’s bread must not be cast to dogs (Gentiles). She answered, "Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs." For her saying, the demon departed from her daughter. The woman was under the curse (Gen. 9:25), but there is no curse where Jesus blesses.
One Deaf and Dumb
Coming to the sea of Galilee through Decapolis, Jesus finds one who is deaf and dumb. They ask Jesus to place His hand on him. Taking him aside and put-ting His fingers into his ears, the Lord spit and touched the tongue of the man who was deaf and dumb and said, as He looked up to heaven, "Be opened." His ears were opened and his tongue was loosed and he spoke plainly. These things were published abroad, and the astonished people said that Jesus did all things well. What comes from man defiles; what comes from Jesus heals.

Feeding the Multitudes

Mark 8
After three days the great multitude with Jesus had nothing to eat; coming from far away, they would faint if sent away without eating. The disciples wondered how in the desert could these have their need for bread satisfied. Jesus asked what was available. There were seven loaves and a few small fishes. Jesus, having blessed and broken the loaves, commanded the disciples to serve the food to the people. After all were full, His disciples took up seven baskets full of the food that remained. Seven speaks of perfection, also completeness.
A Sing From Heaven
The Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven. Why did Jesus sigh deeply in spirit? The Son of God was in their midst and none could convince Him of sin. He did works that no other man did. He went about doing good, asking nothing again, yet in the face of such testimony, they asked for a sign from Him. Jesus said to them that He would not give them a sign.
Their behavior opens up for us the blindness in the unregenerate heart of man. Jesus "came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." John 1:11,12.
If they had received Jesus in their hearts, the sunshine in all its brightness would have entered their souls. They would have become the children of God and have entered into His kingdom. But in their persistent blindness, they asked for a sign, when He, the One who was brighter than the sun that He had created, was there.
Leaven of the Pharisees
The Lord had told the disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod. The disciples thought that He had reprimanded them because they had forgotten to take bread, but He was seeking to warn them of the evil with which they were surrounded among God's earthly people. Yes! there were not only enemies without, but also within.
The Lord reminds them of the five loaves and the two fishes, also the seven loaves and the few fishes, as much as to say, "Where is your faith?" They were so concerned with the natural food that they did not listen and understand about the leaven of the Pharisees. Are we so taken up with natural things that we do not pay attention to God's warnings about the evil that threatens our souls?
The Blind Man of Bethsaida
A blind man was brought to Jesus. The people asked Jesus to touch him. Taking the blind man out of town, He spit on his eyes, and put His hands on him, asking him if he saw. He, looking up, said, "I see men as trees, walking." After putting His hands on him again and having him look up, he saw clearly. Jesus sends him away, instructing him not to go into or tell anyone from the town.
When you think of a newborn child, you understand how long it takes for the child to correctly see different objects. With them there is no distinction between a round or a square toy. Thus it is with a new believer. He hasn't yet come to understanding. Patience is needed for one to help him. Jesus, the perfect Servant, teaches us important lessons. The believer, as he grows, needs the Holy Spirit to open up the truth to him. Prayer provides the opportunity for the Spirit to open the holy Word of God to enlighten more and more.
Caesarea and Philippi
Jesus asked His disciples, "Whom do men say that I am?" They said, "John the Baptist: but some say, Elias; and others, One of the prophets." He asked who they would say He was. Peter answered, 'Thou art the Christ." The answers show the difference between human reason and the Divine intelligence, which the disciples had. They were told not to tell anyone this thing.
Jesus told His disciples of His rejection, suffering, death and resurrection. In response, Peter rebuked the Lord for what He had said about His death. Jesus answered, "Get thee behind Me, Satan: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men."
Making His rejection known to the people and the disciples, He said that the path of faith, following a rejected Christ, would be to deny oneself, take up one's cross and follow Jesus. If one would spare his life here, he would lose it. Losing his life for the gospel and Jesus' sake, he would find it.
The subject is not salvation, but keeping or losing one's life-the time spent on earth. There is no profit in gaining the world and losing one's soul; what would you give in exchange for your soul? Souls are daily being sold for money, riches, houses, lands, wives, husbands, position, honor and many other things.
One who is ashamed of Jesus and His words in an adulterous generation would find the Son of man ashamed of him when He came in the Father's glory with the holy angels.

The Transfiguration

Mark 9
Some of the disciples were to see the kingdom of God come in power before any of them would die. Six days later Jesus led Peter, James and John up into a high mountain, where they were alone. The Lord Jesus Christ was transfigured-a complete bodily change took place. His raiment was white as snow and shining. Whatever was seen of Christ as man, physically or otherwise, will be true of all of the children of God in the kingdom of God.
Elias (Elijah) and Moses appeared. Elijah was the reformer who taught the people to return and observe the law, and Moses was the giver of the law. They were talking with Jesus.
Peter said, "Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias." Being afraid, Peter did not know what to say. A cloud overshadowed them, and then came a voice out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved Son: hear Him." Then all disappeared except Jesus and the disciples.
Coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them to tell no man of the transfiguration until He was raised from the dead. The disciples kept this saying among themselves, wondering what the rising from the dead should mean.
They asked Jesus why the scribes said that Elias must come first to restore all things, and how it was written of the Son of man that He must suffer much and be considered as nothing. Jesus said that Elias had indeed come, and, as it is written, they had done to him whatever they chose. He spoke of John the Baptist, who was beheaded.
Coming to His disciples, He found that a great multitude had gathered about them and the scribes were questioning them. The people were amazed when they saw Jesus, and they ran and saluted Him. He asked the scribes what they had questioned the disciples about. One of the crowd answered, saying that he had brought to Jesus his son who was afflicted with a dumb spirit. The spirit tore him and made him gnash his teeth so he pined away. The man said that he told the disciples, but they could not cast him out.
Then Jesus said, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto Me." When he was brought, the spirit tore the boy and falling on the ground he wallowed, foaming.
Jesus asked his father when this started, and he answered that it was from childhood, and that the spirit had cast him into fires and into waters to destroy him. The father implored Jesus, "If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." Jesus said, "All things are possible to him that believeth." The Father cried, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."
As the people came running, the Lord rebuked the foul spirit, saying, 'Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him." Crying out, the spirit tore him and came out of him, and he appeared as one dead. Jesus took him by the hand and caused him to rise.
Coming into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could not we cast him out?" Jesus answered, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." How often we put service before communion. The Lord had called the disciples to be with Him, and then sent them out to preach and heal. Had the disciples prayed as each new opportunity arose, they would have been able by divine intelligence to enter into what Jesus said. What a valuable Jewel communion is for the believer!
Passing through Galilee, the Lord did not want any of the people to know that He would be delivered up to men who would kill him and that He would rise the third day. The disciples did not understand about His death and resurrection, though they had been told more than once.
Jesus, being with them in the house at Capernaum (probably His house), asked what they disputed about in the way. Since it was about who should be greatest, they didn't want to answer and kept silent. He called the twelve together and told them that one who desired to be first would be last of all and servant of all.
How strange that the disciples could not see that the essence of serving was to be nothing themselves and to make Christ everything. They had followed Jesus in His service, seeing Him hide Himself when He could, watching Him heal and ask nothing in return, and witnessed Him allowing Himself to be humbled before the elders of Israel.
Setting a child in the midst of them, after taking him in His arms, Jesus said that one who would receive such a child in His name received the Father who had sent Him.
He Followed Not With Us
John told Jesus that they forbad one who was casting out demons, because he did not follow the disciples. Jesus said not to forbid him, because one who would do a miracle in Christ's name would not speak evil of Christ. "For he that is not against us is on our part."
If a cup of cold water was given in Christ's name to one of Christ's, the giver would not lose his reward. It would be better for one to be cast into the sea with a millstone around his neck than to have offended a little one who believed in Jesus. If one's own hand, foot or eye offends, cut them off. How much better to enter into life maimed than to have one's members and be cast into hell-"where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Three times this verse is quoted in this chapter. How solemn. It should exercise all of us, saved or unsaved.
The worm is the conscience. A soul in the torment of hell will be constantly and forever reminded of their past life and of all their willful deeds which put them in that place because they did not repent. The fire of hell is constant torment that lasts forever. The term "lake" suggests that whatever enters, remains; there is no outlet. Such is the lake of fire.
Everyone will be tested by fire (God's character). By repentance and receiving Christ we are given God's character as it is seen in Christ. This is pure grace and is true of the weakest believer. There is nothing so positive as grace, and no substitute for it.
"For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt." "Salt is... that energy of God within us which connects everything in us with God, and dedicates the heart to Him, binding it to Him in the sense of obligation and of desire, rejecting all in oneself that is contrary to Him (obligation that flows from grace, but which acts all the more powerfully on that account)."
Everything that we have done as unto the Lord will be tested at the judgment seat of Christ as to its reality. How can you season salt that has lost its savor? Salt can savor all but itself! To have salt in ourselves is to allow the Word of God to test everything that we do. "But the fruit of righteousness in peace is sown for them that make peace." James 3:18 JND.

Divorce

Mark 10
Jesus came into the coasts (borders) of Judah on the further side of Jordan, and He taught the people. He is not only seen in this gospel as the holy Servant Son of God, but also as the Prophet of God.
The Pharisees questioned Him, asking if it were lawful for a man to divorce his wife. Jesus answered, "What did Moses command you?" They said that Moses allowed divorce. Jesus told them that it was because of the hardness of their hearts that he wrote this. "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.... What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."
In the house Jesus was asked of the same matter. He told them that one who puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. It is the same with a woman.
Children
When young children were brought to Jesus so He could touch them, the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus was very displeased, saying, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God." One who would not receive the kingdom of God as a little child would not enter.
Pursuit of Riches
A man came running and kneeled before Jesus, saying, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" Jesus asked, "Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but one, that is, God." When Jesus put the commandments which applied to man before the inquirer, he answered that he had kept them from his youth.
Jesus, looking at him, loved him, but said to him, "One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions."
To His disciples Jesus said that it would be hard for those who had riches to enter the kingdom of God. It would be simpler for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for one who was rich to enter the kingdom of God.
The Jewish disciples connected earthly blessings and riches with Israel. So they were astounded at what had just taken place with the young, rich man. They did not yet realize that the old order of things in Israel had to give way to the new order of the kingdom of God. All must be given up down here for the coming riches up there in heaven. Then they asked if anyone could be saved. Jesus said that what was impossible with men was possible with God.
Peter, thinking of the path that he had chosen, said, 'We have left all, and have followed Thee." Should we leave anything for Christ's sake, we shall receive in return a hundredfold, not only in heaven, but in this life also. Jesus said, "Many that are first shall be last; and the last first."
Jesus and His disciples passed on toward Jerusalem. The disciples were afraid because He was telling them of His sufferings and death. He told them of the mocking and scourging and being crucified and that He would rise the third day.
The two brothers, James and John, told Jesus that they wanted to sit at His right hand and His left hand in His kingdom. He asked them if they could drink of the cup that He was to drink of (rejection and death) and go through the baptism that He would go through. They said, "We can." He said, "Ye shall... but to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared." The other disciples were unhappy with James and John.
A person cannot be used much of the Lord as long as self and self interests have first place. At present the kingdom is a path of self-denial, rejection, suffering and perhaps even death, but in a coming day those who choose this path shall experience the exceeding riches of His grace.
The subject of position-one being above another-has always been in the back of the minds of many, religious or otherwise. Jesus never sought a place of prominence in this world. Now the Father has given Him the first place. The Lord told His disciples that their positions in the kingdom of God were not like that of the nations about them. If one would be great in the kingdom of God, he should be a servant.
Was not Christ the Servant of God? Did He not serve tirelessly, day in and day out? What an example the Lord has left for us. How opposite the kingdom of God is from the natural path of fallen man!
Being first down here doesn't produce joy, but service for Christ does. "For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many."
Jericho and Blind Bartimeus
Jericho was the city of the curse, an apt picture of this present world (1 Kings 16:34). At Jericho, Elisha (a picture of Christ who came later) cast healing salt into the spring with bad water (2 Kings 2:21). At Jericho blind Bartimeus sat begging and Jesus, the healer, came.
Hearing of Jesus, Bartimeus cried out, "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me." Some charged him to be quiet. But Bartimeus had nothing to lose and much to gain, so he cried loudly, 'Thou Son of David, have mercy on me." Like Bartimeus, a man's opportunity to find the Savior might happen only once. This blind man, with violence, took the kingdom of God by force (Matt. 11:12).
Jesus stood still. The sun stood still in Joshua's day, but Jesus is the One who created the sun. Picture the Creator of all things, the high God, the One in whom we live and have our being, down on this wicked earth, stopping at the cry of a beggar. The blind man was more important to Him than the sun. The sun had no heart, no voice to praise the Lord Jesus for all His mercies, but Bartimeus did.
Do we realize how important each of us, saved sinners, is to Himself? Heaven will be filled with His praise throughout eternity, for Jesus stopped at the cries of beggars like ourselves.
Jesus commanded them to call the blind man. 'They said unto him, "Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee." He, casting down his garment (character), came to Jesus. What little self-esteem (character) he had left he now casts at Jesus' feet. Jesus asked, "What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" The blind man responded, "Lord, that I might receive my sight." And Jesus said to him, "Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole." Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Jesus Rides Into Jerusalem

Mark 11
In Matthew, Jesus begins the gospel as King. In Mark, Jesus begins as the perfect, holy Servant Son of God, and takes His place as King as He rides into Jerusalem in splendor.
Nearing Jerusalem and Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, Jesus sent forth two of His disciples to bring a colt from a village. He told them that when they entered the village they would find an ass's colt tied, unbroken. They were to loose him and bring him to Jesus. If any man objected, they were to say, 'The Lord hath need of him."
The colt is a picture of the natural man who, unbroken and willful, needs to be tied. By bringing the colt to Jesus, it becomes submissive. So is man who has been delivered from Satan's power. The ass is the only thing that Jesus had need of in all of His creation. His "delights were with the sons of men" who have gone astray, like a wild ass snuffing up the wind and going his own way. Jesus comes and redeems man and prepares him here on earth for companionship in heaven, His own home.
Coming to the village, they found the colt which was tied to the door, where two ways came together, and they loosed him. To those who objected they said, "The Lord hath need of him."
The two paths remind us that when one is given an opportunity to be saved there is a decision to be made. When found, the ass is tied to the door. Christ is the door. Man must make a decision deep in the heart, for or against Christ. Such decisions are made alone with God.
Bringing the colt to Jesus, they put their garments on the colt and Jesus sat on him. Some spread their garments in the way, others cut down branches from trees and laid them in the path before Jesus (Zech. 9:9). Both they who went before and those behind cried, "Hosanna; Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest."
When Jesus came into the temple, He looked around on all things. When evening came, He went to Bethany with the twelve.
The next morning, coming from Bethany and being hungry, He saw a fig tree with leaves. Hoping to find fruit, He found nothing but leaves (no fruit of repentance, but only profession) because it was not the season for figs. Jesus put a curse on the fig tree (Israel after the flesh) that no man should eat fruit from it forever. The disciples heard Him.
Coming to the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus cast out those who sold and bought in it. He overthrew the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He would not allow any man to carry vessels through the temple. He said, "Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves." (See Isa. 56:7.) For this the leaders of Israel sought to destroy Him.
In the evening the Lord went out of the city and in the morning the disciples saw the fig tree, dried up from the roots. Peter called the Lord's attention to it, saying that it was withered away. Jesus answered, saying to the disciples, "Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith."
Israel after the flesh was the mountain and Titus, the Roman general, destroyed Jerusalem and all that was attached to it and scattered the people among the Gentiles (the sea of nations).
Governmental Forgiveness
Before the cross and the day of Pentecost, there was no preaching of forgiveness as a permanent thing, as a result of the work of Christ. Forgiveness was something that had to be repeated from time to time. If a man sinned he was cursed until he repented; if he repented, all was well (Ezek. 33:14-19).
"And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." This is not conversion, but daily living for the believer. He must have the spirit of forgiveness, like the Lord Jesus.
The elders of Israel asked by what authority He did these things. Jesus said, "I will also ask of you one question, and answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer Me." To answer would put them in trouble with the people, so they did not answer.

The Vineyard and the Husbandmen: The Lord Speaks in Parable Form

Mark 12
To the leaders and rulers of Israel the Lord spoke a parable. He said, "A certain man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged a place for the wine vat, and built a tower, and let it out to husband-men, and went into a far country."
When the crops were in, he sent a servant to gather the fruit. The farmers mistreated him and sent him away empty-handed. The owner sent others and they were mistreated or killed. Finally, he sent his well-beloved son, saying, "They will reverence my son." But he was killed and cast out of the vineyard. Then the owner would come, destroy the farmers, and give the vineyard to others.
This parable showed how God sent prophet after prophet to Israel. They were beaten, stoned and killed. Last of all He sent Jesus, but they hated Him. 'The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner." (See Psa. 118:22.)
Knowing that the Lord had spoken this parable against them, the rulers and elders sought to lay hold of Him, but did not for fear of the people.
The Three Shepherds
"Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred Me." Zech. 11:8.
Certain of the Pharisees and the Herodians (shepherds of Israel) were sent to catch the Lord Jesus in His words. They asked if it was part of the law (of Moses) to give tribute to Cæsar or not. He asked them to bring Him a penny. He asked them whose image was on the coin. They said Caesar's. He said for them to render to Cæsar what belonged to him, and to God what belonged to Him.
The Sadducees (shepherds of Israel), who do not believe in resurrection, also came, saying that Moses had written that if a man died, leaving his wife a widow with no children, his brother should take her to be his wife. They said, what if seven brothers each in turn took the same women to wife and died, with the woman dying last. Whose wife would she be in the resurrection?
"And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven." God spoke unto Moses, saying, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob... He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye there-fore do greatly err."
Then a scribe came asking which was the first commandment of all. Jesus said, "The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." These two commandments are more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.
The scribe answered, "Thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but He." Jesus answered, 'Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask Him any question." The scribe would have Jesus know that there is one God. Jesus made it clear in His ministry that He was God. Jesus accepted the measure of faith that the scribe evidenced in his answer.
While teaching in the temple, Jesus asked why the scribes say that Christ is the son of David, "for David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool. David therefore himself calleth Him Lord; and whence is He then his son?"
Jesus said that they should be warned of the scribes. They love to go in long clothing, and to be saluted in public places, and to have the chief seats in synagogues and the high rooms at feasts and they devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. Greater Judgment is reserved for such.
At the treasury, Jesus watched how they put money in the box. Many rich people put in much. But there was a certain poor widow who cast in two mites, the smallest coins that could be offered. Speaking to His disciples, Jesus said that this poor widow had given more than they all. They gave of their abundance, while she in her poverty cast in all, even her living.

The Destruction of the Temple

Mark 13
As He was going out of the temple, the disciples of Jesus pointed out the magnificence of its stones and buildings. Jesus then foretold its destruction by saying that there would not be a stone unturned. This happened in 70 A.D. when the Roman legions of Titus set fire to the temple and then destroyed it stone by stone to get its melted gold.
Discourse at the Mount of Olives
Sitting on the mount of Olives, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked privately, "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?" As usual, the disciples learned more than they asked.
First, Jesus warned His disciples to be careful lest they be deceived. Many would be deceived by some pretending that they were Christ. Wars and rumors of wars were not the end. The rising up of nations and kingdoms one against another, earthquakes, famines and trouble would only herald the beginning of sorrows.
The Great Tribulation
Although the great tribulation would fall on Israel, the Gentiles would pass through the hour of temptation (Rev. 3:10) at about the same time. The disciples would be beaten and delivered up to councils and be brought before kings for the Lord's sake, as a testimony against them.
The gospel will be preached among all nations (of the prophetic earth). (During the millennial day, all of the world will hear the gospel of the kingdom; Isa. 11:9.) The preachers shall not meditate beforehand on what they shall say, because they will be given words at the right time, seeing that it is not they but the Holy Spirit that speaks.
Entire households will be pitted one against another; some will be put to death. The disciples will be hated of all nations for Christ's sake. Those who endure to the end shall be saved; others will succumb to idolatry. All believers endure to the end except the martyrs. The end is the millennium. The martyrs have a heavenly portion.
It has been said that all of the world will be idolatrous, except those who believe the gospel of the kingdom. This will be after the Church is taken up. The setting up of the abomination of desolation (idolatry) in the holy place (Dan. 9:27) will be the sign to flee to the mountains, for there will be desolation by a desolator-the Assyrian.
In Dan. 11:31, "the abomination that maketh desolate" is spoken of also, but it takes place before the events of Dan. 9:27. What was done in Dan. 11 was done by a heathen king, but it helps us to understand what is meant by the expression "the abomination of desolation." History suggests that at that time, because of hatred for the holy place of God's house, this king sacrificed a swine on the altar. Some have thought that the abomination in the holy place was the beast of Rome, but he has nothing to do with Jerusalem at the time of the heathen king. Besides, he does not appear until near the end of the tribulation. Others have thought that it is the antichrist, but he does not appear as such until after the beast of Rome appears. The term "abomination of desolation" does not refer to a man (idol) standing in the holy place, but merely to idolatry.
When it is time to flee, those who are on the housetop are not to enter or return to the house for any reason. They are to flee. Those in the field should not turn back to retrieve anything; they are to flee in haste. It is the Assyrian (the King of the North) and his allies who will attack.
It will be difficult for a mother with children. They are to pray that the time to flee will not be in winter. The affliction will be greater than ever has been or ever will be again. Except the Lord shortens the number of days none will be saved; for the sake of the elect, the days will be shortened. There will be false Christs and at the end false prophets who would seduce, if it were possible, the very elect with signs and wonders (Rev. 13).
After the Tribulation
The sun (the supreme ruler on the earth at that time; Dan. 7) shall be darkened, then his kingdom will crumble and he will be destroyed by the Lord's coming out of heaven (2 Thess. 1:7-9).
"And the moon shall not give her light." The "moon" is the subordinate power, the antichrist, the leader of the Jewish apostasy, who deceives the nations. He shall be frightened, then run to his doom, together with the western powers at Armageddon (Zech. 11:17).
'The stars of heaven" are the ten kings reduced to seven when the little horn (the personal beast) comes into power. They will turn to apostasy before being destroyed at Armageddon (Rev. 19).
The powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. These are the angels who will be relieved of their duties over the universe to take up their new position as keepers of the gates of the city, new Jerusalem. The universe from then on will be under Christ and the Church (Rev. 21:12,22,23).
Christ will gather the elect (the ten tribes), after the kingdom is set up in Judah, at Jesus' coming to the mount of Olives (Zech. 12:7;14:4; Isa. 27:6).
The Fig Tree—Israel As a Nation
When the branch is tender, the two tribes repent (Joel 2:13-17). Then the ten tribes return weeping (Jer. 50:4). Following this, the leaves come-the glory of the nation. Finally, summer comes-the millennial day. On some figs, the fruit appears before the leaves. Repentance Is the fruit.
Even though heaven and earth will pass away, the Lord's words will never pass away. Only the Father knows the time. The disciples are to watch and pray as the time draws near.
Christ is as one on a journey who commands his servants to watch, giving them authority in his absence. The porter is commanded to watch. Otherwise the Lord might find His disciples sleeping-so watch.

Passover, Garden and Betrayal

Mark 14
After two days, at the time of the feast of the passover and unleavened bread, the leaders of Israel sought to take Jesus deceitfully and kill Him, but they hesitated, saying, "Not on the feast day," because they feared a tumult by the people.
The Alabaster Box of Ointment
While Jesus was in Bethany, sitting at the table of Simon the leper, a woman came in with an alabaster (stone) box of very precious ointment of spikenard. Breaking the seal, she poured it on Jesus' head.
How refreshing this action was for Jesus in His rejection and sorrow. What a fragrance must have filled the house and what intense, deep meaning accompanied such a display! She had anointed His body for the burial.
Being in communion, she anticipated His death and the moment had come to anoint His body, before death, with such sweet fragrance, her soul being filled with Himself. This no doubt was the result of her sitting at the Lord's feet learning of Him (Luke 10:38-42). How much she understood of these things we are not told, but when the soul is in communion, the person acts as moved by the Spirit. Her spirit was filled with Himself.
The disciples did not enter into this. Often in Scripture the Lord sets a woman or women before us to teach us what should be the response of the inner affections, for we who are men are often hard-hearted, even at a time like this when our affections should be touched (1 Sam. 10:26). How this act of devotion buoyed up the spirit of Jesus just before the cross!
Some asked indignantly why this waste of the ointment was made. It could have been used for the poor. It was valued at three hundred pence (a year's wages). The world called the anointing with spikenard a waste; the Lord called it an honor.
Jesus said, "Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me. For ye have the poor with you always... but Me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint My body to the burying.... Throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her."
Judas goes to the Jewish leaders. They gladly agree to pay him thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus (See Zech. 11:12).
The Passover Feast
On the first day of the week, when the passover lamb was to be slain, disciples of Jesus inquired where He wanted them to prepare for Him to eat the passover. Two were chosen to go into the city where they would meet a man with a pitcher of water. They were to follow him. "And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us." They found all things as He had said and made ready.
We have instruction here for both the passover (Jewish) feast and the setting up of the Lord's table for the Christian. To the spiritual mind the passage gives instruction as to where and how Christians should gather to remember the Lord's death at His table. Later, the Apostle Paul received a revelation about this for the Church (1 Cor. 11:23).
That evening the Lord came with His disciples and they ate the passover. The feast was a slain lamb with unleavened bread.
At the table Jesus told them that one of them who ate with Him would betray Him. Being sorrowful, they inquired one by one, "Is it I?" He said that the one who dipped with Him in the dish would betray Him, and that "the Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born." Judas dipped with Him and went out; it was night (John 13:30) both literally and in the soul of Judas.
The Lord’s Table
Having eaten the passover, Jesus took bread and blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, "Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And He said unto them, This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new [in a new way] in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives."
Jesus told His disciples that they all would be offended because of Him that night, as it was written, "Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered." Zech. 13:7. "But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee."
Peter said that he would never be offended, even if all others were. Jesus told him that that very night, before the cock would crow twice, Peter would deny Him three times. Peter insisted very strongly that he would die with Him rather than deny Him. They all said the same.
Gethsemane
At Gethsemane Jesus said to His disciples, "Sit ye here, while I shall pray." Taking with Him Peter, James and John, Jesus began to be oppressed in spirit and amazed. He said unto them, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch." And He went forward a little and fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. There never has been and never will be again a time like Gethsemane. It was at Gethsemane that Jesus anticipated being made sin. He is the Holy One from eternity who knew no sin. He paid the price at Calvary.
"Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from [out of ] death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." Heb. 5:7-8.
In all the perfection of manhood and by the cross in perfect obedience to the Father, He has obtained eternal salvation for us. As eternal God, He was never in the position to obey; as man, Jesus had to learn obedience. In order to be man in perfection, he had to learn what it cost to obey. This He did at Gethsemane when he said, "Nevertheless, not what I will, but what Thou wilt." See Heb. 10:9,10.
Returning to the disciples, He found them sleeping and said to Peter, "Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak."
He prayed again, repeating the same words. Returning, He found the disciples sleeping, and after the third time in prayer He returned and said, "Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth Me is at hand."
Into the garden came Judas with a crowd sent from the elders, carrying swords and staves. Immediately Judas came up to Jesus and said, "Master, Master; and kissed Him." Jesus asked if they had come against a thief with swords and staves. "I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took Me not: but the Scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook Him, and fled."
The men laid hold of a certain young man who followed Jesus, having a linen cloth about his naked body. Leaving the linen cloth, he fled naked. They took Jesus and led Him to the house of the high priest. Peter, following at a distance, entered the palace and sat among the palace servants around the fire.
The elders sought witnesses who would testify against Jesus and cause Him to be put to death, but they found none.
Jesus was asked by the high priest, "Answerest Thou nothing?" and Jesus held His peace. Then the high priest asked Him, "Art Thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
Rending his clothes, the high priest said, "What think ye?" Having heard His (supposed) blasphemy, they condemned Him to death. Some then spit on Him and some buffeted Him, striking Him with their hands.
Peter’s Denial
Down in the palace court one of the maids came up to Peter and said, 'Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth." Peter denied it. Then going out onto the porch, he heard the cock crow.
Another maid said that he was one of them. Peter denied again. Later, others said, "Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto." Beginning to curse and swear he said, "I know not this man of whom ye speak." And the second time the cock crew.
Peter recalled the word that Jesus said to him, "Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny Me thrice." When he thought about it, he wept.
Peter fled, followed afar off, warmed himself by the enemies' fire, denied his Master three times, and wept bitterly. Perhaps that is why, after the Lord's resurrection, the angel said, "Go your way, tell His disciples and Peter." Peter needed the personal reassurance of the Lord's love for him.

The Crucifixion

Mark 15
In the morning the chief priests, after consulting with the elders, scribes and Jewish leadership, bound Jesus and took Him to Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate asked Him, "Art Thou the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Thou sayest it." Before Pilate, the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He remained silent. Pilate asked Him why He didn't respond to the charges; still He answered nothing.
On the feast day the Roman governor released one prisoner chosen by the people. One candidate was a murderer named Barabbas. Pilate asked if they wanted the release of the King of the Jews. They preferred Barabbas instead. Then Pilate asked, "What will ye then that I shall do unto Him whom ye call the King of the Jews?" They cried out, "Crucify Him." Then Pilate said unto them, "Why, what evil hath He done?"
The crowd grew more agitated, so Pilate, desiring to content the people, released Barabbas but scourged Jesus and ordered His crucifixion. The soldiers led Him to the hall called Pretorium. There, calling their band together, they clothed Him with purple, put a crown of thorns on His head and, saluting Him in mockery, said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" Then they smote Him on the head where the crown of thorns lay. Spitting on Him, they bowed their knees before Him in mock worship.
Their cruel mockery finished, they removed the purple robe, put His clothes back on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him. These were martyr sufferings. They compelled Simon, a Cyrenian who was passing by as he arrived from the country, to carry the cross.
Arriving at the crucifixion site, Golgotha (the place of a skull), they gave Him myrrh, a pain deadener, to drink, but He refused it. After nailing Him to His cross, the soldiers cast lots for His clothes. It was 9 a.m., the third hour of the day.
Over His cross Pilate had written the "crime" for which He was being crucified. He wrote: The King of the Jews Two thieves were crucified with Him, one on the right hand and the other on the left, fulfilling the Scripture which said, "He was numbered with the transgressors." Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame (Heb. 12:2).
Those who passed by the cross mocked Him, saying, "Save Thyself, and come down from the cross." The leaders said among themselves, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save." They also said that if Christ would descend from the cross they would see and believe. There must be more than seeing and believing. There must be repentance and abhorring of oneself.
From the sixth to the ninth hour there was darkness everywhere. "At the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Some thought that He called for Elias. They gave Him vinegar (sour wine) to drink from a sponge.
"And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom." The centurion, seeing that Jesus so cried out and gave up the ghost, said, "Truly this man was the Son of God."
There were many women at the crucifixion who followed Him from Galilee and other places such as Jerusalem, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome.
Jesus was crucified on the preparation day, the day before the Sabbath. When evening came, Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counselor who waited for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and begged for the body of Jesus. Marveling that Jesus was already dead, Pilate called the centurion to him. Assured by the centurion that Jesus was dead, he released the body to Joseph, who took Jesus down from the cross and wrapped Him in fine linen. He laid Him in a sepulcher hewn out of the rock, putting a stone up to the door.
After man had done all that his wicked heart had devised, God saw to it that Jesus was buried as a King of Israel should be buried. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses and Salome beheld where He was laid. Joseph had bought fine linen; the women had brought spices. They both, in their hearts, had pre-pared ahead of time to care for the body of Jesus. Joseph now comes out fully in confessing Jesus, having been before a disciple secretly.

The Stone Rolled Away

Mark 16
The Sabbath having passed, at sunrise on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James came with the sweet spices, which they had brought to the sepulcher to anoint the body. As they walked along, they wondered who would roll away the heavy stone covering the tomb entrance. Arriving, they saw that it had been rolled away.
Entering the sepulcher, the women saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment. They were amazed and alarmed. He told them not to be alarmed-Jesus was risen. They could see the place where the body had been laid. He instructed them to go and tell Jesus' disciples, especially Peter, to go to Galilee. There they would see Him as He had told them before His death. Being afraid, they fled from the sepulcher and said nothing to any man.
Having risen early on the first day of the week, Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene who had had seven demons cast out by Him. She went and told the disciples that Jesus was alive and that she had seen Him. Mourning and weeping, they didn't believe her.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
Jesus appeared in a different form to two of the disciples as they walked in the country. They immediately returned to the city and told the rest of the disciples, but they did not believe them either. Then Jesus appeared unto the eleven as they were eating. He rebuked them for the hardness of their hearts and unbelief, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.
The Divine Commission
He said to them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." There would be signs that would follow those who believed. In Jesus' name they would cast out demons and speak with new tongues. Serpents would be tame to them, poisonous food would not harm them, and they would lay hands on the sick who would then recover.
After speaking to the disciples, Jesus the Lord rose up into heaven to sit on the right hand of God. The disciples went forth to preach everywhere, with the Lord working with them and confirming the word with miracles.
How beautifully the perfect holy Servant Son of God completes His given work promptly and with moral glory. No glory is too great for Jesus. Amen.

The Gospel of Luke: The Evangelist, the Son of Man, the Universal Testimony of Grace and Peace

Luke 1
Luke, in his gospel, traces the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ back to Adam. The moral teachings of this gospel take in all of mankind, not being limited to any nation or class. God faithfully shows His special interest in Israel by setting forth details concerning the birth and life of Jesus found nowhere else. He fulfills His promise to mankind-"thou shalt bruise His heel." Gen. 3:15. It is the only gospel written to a man-"most excellent Theophilus."
Jesus is the subject of the gospel. Grace and peace are in connection with the Son of man as He made His way through this world which He had made. He was rejected, but dispensed grace and mercy with compassion on every hand. Surely the Son of God was here in this world displaying moral power in man.
The events and teachings of this gospel are arranged in a moral order, this order being implanted in the heart of Luke by the Holy Spirit. In Mark's gospel the story is given in chronological order.
The gospel has a moral character, for in it the depths of man's heart, the hidden moral springs, are opened. As hearts in all of their wickedness are exposed, Jesus, where there is faith in His Person, brings grace to bind up each heart and meet the need of each sin that is exposed. The deeper the sin is, the greater His grace.
The moral character of man is exposed, not for God who knows all things, but for us who do not know our own hearts. Only when we see ourselves as we are before the eye of God, can we appreciate grace in its fullness. And when we see ourselves as God sees us, we are made more humble.
What is written in Luke is the truth that is "surely believed among us" who are saved. Luke made sure that Theophilus was instructed in things that are given of God, not just by men. Luke learned from eyewitnesses and those who were ministers of the Word, yet what he wrote was divinely inspired.
The Son of man goes forth as the Evangelist to all, both Jew and Gentile, to open before all the heart of God and the heart of man. The gospel records a testimony from God, which is open to all mankind. Luke himself was probably a Gentile, and we see in this gospel several Gentiles who are the objects of the grace of God through Christ Jesus. Not only are hearts opened, and a testimony open to all, but there are many other things open to our gaze in the gospel. Several of them will be found in chapter 24. (To highlight these two themes, the words Gentile and open are in italics.)
Zacharias and Elisabeth
There was a certain priest named Zacharias. He and his wife, Elisabeth, were righteous before God and blameless in keeping the ordinances. In Zacharias, God was showing His faithfulness to Israel by having a priest in the temple at the time of the birth of Christ. Both of them were old and Elisabeth was barren; not to have a son to carry on the inheritance was a reproach in Israel.
While Zacharias was in the temple burning incense and the people outside were praying, the angel Gabriel appeared, standing by the right side of the altar. Fear fell on Zacharias when he saw him. The angel said: "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.... Many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb."
Zacharias asked, "Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years." The angel answered the doubting Zacharias by telling him that he would be dumb until the child was born. When he left the temple, the people realized that he had seen a vision. Zacharias went to his own house and Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself for five months. Their child was to be called John the Baptist, and his work was to prepare a people ready for the Lord through repentance.
Gabriel Sent to Mary
In the sixth month Gabriel was sent to Nazareth to Mary, who, being a virgin, was espoused to Joseph of David's lineage. The angel addressed Mary as one highly favored of the Lord: "Blessed art thou among women." Mary was troubled, but the angel said, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God," for she was to bring forth a son and "call His name Jesus."
Being great, Jesus, the "Son of the Highest," would reign on the throne of Israel, and of His kingdom there would be no end. In this we see God's faithfulness to Israel in fulfilling what He had said to Adam and Eve and later to Abraham and to David.
In Matthew's account the angel came to Joseph in a dream; in Luke all was open. Both Zacharias and Mary were occupied with their regular duties; all was so natural. We receive hints here as to the character of this gospel-the spirit of openness.
Mary inquired how such a birth could come to pass, seeing that she did not know a man. Gabriel answered, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Mary responded, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me-according to thy word."
It was never said of Adam that he was holy. No man can claim holiness in himself. Only Christ is holy, and that from His birth in this world as a man. He is the same as the One of whom it is said, "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isa. 57:15.
Jesus is the only man of whom it can be said, He came in flesh. Every other man was born here without a former existence. Jesus existed from eternity, taking a body which He never had before. He was God when He lay in the womb of Mary. Not one drop of Adam's blood was in His veins, because He was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit.
"Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God." 1 John 4:2,3.
Mary’s Visit to Elisabeth
Mary was told that her cousin Elisabeth had been with child for six months. When Mary visited her, Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, saying, "Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."
Mary, from the fullness of her heart, mellowed in the presence of God, said: "My soul cloth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.... He hath holpen [helped] His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever." The seed spoken of is Christ (Gal. 3:16). The setting is Jewish. God, in His faithfulness, is answering the cry of the remnant of Israel, "How long?'
Birth of John the Baptist
When John was born, some tried to persuade Elisabeth to name him after his father, but Zacharias called for a writing pad and wrote the name of John. From the time Gabriel had spoken to him in the temple nine months before, to that moment, Zacharias had not been able to speak.
Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David.... And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
John grew, and, being strong in spirit, he lived in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.

Birth of Jesus

Luke 2
Everyone had to pay their taxes in their home town. So Joseph and Mary left Nazareth in Galilee to go to David's town of Bethlehem in Judea to pay, for Joseph was of the lineage of David.
While in Bethlehem, Jesus was born and laid in a manger in the animals' stable, there being no room for them in the inn. What an inhospitable reception man gave the Lord of glory when He was born. The shepherds were watching their flock by night when the angel of the Lord came to them and the glory of the Lord shined around them; they were very frightened. The angel said, "Fear not," and announced good tidings of great joy for all people. In the expression "all people," we notice another touch of the universal character which is ingrained in Luke's gospel. These tidings were not only for the Jews but were for the Gentiles as well.
The angel said to the shepherds, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." And the sign for them was to see the babe in a manger. With the angel came a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, while they said, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good plea-sure in men" (JND). The angels had never seen their Creator before (1 Tim. 3:16).
Going quickly, the shepherds went to Bethlehem to see what had come to pass. They found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. Then they published abroad the angelic message. Mary wondered at these things, keeping and pondering them in her heart, while the shepherds returned to their sheep, glorifying and praising God for what they had seen and heard.
Jesus "came unto His own [the Jew], and His own received Him not." John 1:11. But He did receive praise, worship and honor from the shepherds and later from the Gentile wise men.
The Incarnation
The incarnation is the sinless entrance of the Christ as man into the old creation, wholly apart from the evil of it, yet manifesting God in it. As risen from the dead, He is the Head and beginning of the new creation, presenting man to God according to God's own counsels. He is the pattern man, man as God brings him to Himself, firstborn among many brethren. Now, God can see man in His own image, holy and without blame before Him in love-man is brought to Him in a nature (His own moral character of holiness and love) in which He can find delight, infinite delight, because it is His own nature.
Yet He came as the poor man of whom it was said: 'This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: there was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great [moral] bulwarks against it. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools." Eccl. 9:13-17.
What wondrous wisdom was His who delivered the city, the city which will be seen in the millennial day. In the meantime many have been delivered by the wisdom that was displayed at the cross of Jesus.
Simeon and Anna
Just and devout Simeon was told that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Christ. Taking the babe Jesus in his arms, he blessed God, saying, "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel."
Simeon was prophesying that many that were first (Israel) would be last, and the last (Gentiles) would be first. Israel was first showered with blessings, but they turned to idols; now they are last. The Gentiles by sovereign grace repented and received Jesus as Savior; now they are first.
In blessing Mary and Joseph, Simeon said to Mary, `This child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against [Isa. 8:18]; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also;) that the thoughts of many hearts [soldiers, priests, kings, scribes, Pharisees, the women, the thieves, the centurion and many others recorded in Luke 23:47] may be revealed." All of these things came to pass at the cross.
The prophetess Anna, a widow for 84 years, was about 110 years old. She departed not from the temple, but served God by fasting and prayers, night and day. True-hearted Anna did not allow her service to become a mechanical routine. "She coming in that instant" must mean that she saw the babe Jesus at the same time as Simeon.
How faithful God was to Israel. These two older people, both having the gift of prophecy, spoke of Jesus to the little remnant who had waited and looked for Jesus to come. The remnant of Mal. 3:16-18 still. existed 400 years later at the birth of the Christ.
Having completed the presentation of the Lord Jesus to God, Joseph and Mary sacrificed (two pigeons) and returned into Galilee to their own city of Nazareth. All Israel should have witnessed what took place in Bethlehem and in Jerusalem. How much we miss if not in communion with God.
Jesus As a Boy
Jesus grew and became strong in spirit, full of wisdom, and God's grace was upon Him. At twelve years of age the family went to Jerusalem to the feast of the passover. As they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind, without His parents knowing it. Having gone a day's journey, they looked among their acquaintances and, not finding Jesus, they turned back to Jerusalem to look for Him.
After three days, Jesus was found in the temple, hearing and asking questions of the doctors (teachers) who were astonished at Him. Not realizing who their Son really was, His mother rebuked Him for not telling them where He was. He answered, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" He returned with them to Nazareth and was subject to them.
Subjection was a new experience for Jesus. As God He had always commanded. Here He learns to obey (Heb. 5:8). One day's journey away from the Lord, Mary learned, required three days to get back to Him. She kept His sayings in her heart. As He grew from boyhood to manhood, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Only in Luke's gospel do we get a glimpse of the early life of the Lord Jesus.

John the Baptist

Luke 3
Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests, but "the word of God came unto John." What disorder! two high priests at one time. Yet the grace of God sent the message by John the Baptist. John's message was the "baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."
Of John it had been prophesied: "As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth... all flesh shall see the salvation of God." (See Isa. 40:1-5.)
The valley speaks of the soul that is humble, ready to listen to God's Word. The hills and mountains speak of proud hearts, like those of the Pharisees and scribes, who will not listen; judgment will overtake them. The crooked speaks of man's ways. The healing of the sick, the lame and the lepers by Jesus are the rough places which are made smooth. Salvation is offered to all mankind.
To the multitude who wish to be baptized John says, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within your-selves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." Man is likened to a tree. If he bows to the Word of God in repentance, he bears good fruit; if not, he will be judged.
The people ask what they must do. He says that he who has two coats should give one to a person who has none, and with food likewise. The publicans also ask, and He tells them not to take more than the tax requires. The soldiers were told not to use violence, nor to make false accusations, but to be content with their pay, showing that corruption and violence, the two main forms of evil, will end the age-the man (beast) will be characterized by violence and the woman (Babylon) by corruption (Rev. 17).
In speaking of Christ, John says that, although he baptizes with water, the One coming after him baptizes with the Holy Spirit (at Pentecost).
Israel is the floor that will be purged. The wheat, believers, will be gathered into His garner, but the chaff, unbelievers, will be cast into unquenchable fire, which burns forever. If men only knew what lies just ahead for them, they might be ready to inquire about salvation from the coming wrath. Think of it: unquenchable fire! eternity! punishment for one's sins for eternity!
Heaven Opened
When Jesus was baptized, He was praying and the heaven was opened for all. Matthew and Mark just record that the heaven was opened to Him. The Holy Spirit descended in a bodily form as a dove upon Jesus, and a voice from heaven said, 'Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased."
Because the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, because of His becoming a man, and because of the cross, we too, who are believers, receive the indwelling Spirit. "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit." 1 Cor. 12:13.
John the Baptist was shut up in prison for reproving Herod. John being in prison and having accomplished his mission, Jesus, who was about thirty years old, began His ministry.
The genealogy is given from Jesus to Adam rather than from Adam to Jesus, for the mischief affecting the entire human race began with Adam, so Jesus the Savior goes all the way back to Adam to correct it. The work of Christ covers all men, even those in their graves, if they have had faith (Rom. 3:25). What a Savior,

The Temptations

Luke 4
Luke records the wilderness temptations of Jesus in a moral order, the order in which they have their strongest effect on men naturally (1 John-2:16):
The flesh for youth;
The world for the middle-aged;
The devil for the aged.
All of us may be affected by any of these temptations at any age. But man is most readily tempted by the lust of the flesh in his youth. It would be a rare thing for a young man to be deeply affected by doctrine to the point of being tempted away from the Lord. His temptation would rather be the world or the flesh, or following the exercise of another. As man grows older, the devil has more opportunity to attack with doctrine through the pride of life.
Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where He was tempted by Satan. After being tempted for forty days without food, Jesus was hungry. What an opportunity for Satan to try to cause Christ to sin. But Jesus could not sin. His whole trust was in the Father. Satan said that if Jesus was the Son of God, He should command the stone to be made bread. But the Father had not told Jesus to make bread, so He would not do it. Jesus answered him, saying, "It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God."
Jesus is shown all the kingdoms of the world in a moment. Satan said that he would give all to Jesus if Jesus would worship him. Jesus answered, "It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve."
Next, Jesus was led to Jerusalem and set on a pinnacle of the temple where Satan said to Him, "If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down from hence: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee [Satan omitted 'in all thy ways'): and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone." And Jesus answering said to him, "It is again written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." (See Psa. 91:11-12; Deut. 6:16.) Having completed every temptation, Satan left Him for a season.
Jesus vanquished Satan with three scriptures from the book of Deuteronomy, showing that any believer, young or old, well-read or just saved, can meet Satan with just one scripture from the Word of God for each temptation. Returning in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, He went into the synagogue and taught.
The Acceptable Year of the Lord
Coming to Nazareth, Jesus went into the synagogue on the sabbath day and began reading Isa. 61. When He had read the words, "to preach the acceptable year of the Lord," He closed the book and said, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears."
It was the acceptable year of the Lord when Israel should have repented and received their Messiah, but they rejected Him. So Judaism was set aside and the new order, which included all men, was brought in. Later the Church was formed at Pentecost, and Jesus gathers: "And not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." After the judgments of the tribulation, all Israel will repent and receive their Messiah (Ezek. 36:25-38).
Two Gentiles
Jesus spoke of many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, but only to Sidon (a city of Gentiles) was the prophet sent, to a widow in the days of famine that she might have food. As for lepers, though many were in Israel, only the Gentile, Naaman the Syrian, was cleansed. When they heard this, those in the synagogue were filled with rage and sought to destroy Jesus, but He passed on to Capernaum.
A man with a demon was delivered. The demon knew who He was, but Jesus rebuked him; Jesus would not take a testimony from a demon (Acts 16:16-18). It is interesting how those in the unseen world are cognizant of things that we do not know. The casting out of the demon was the first miracle that Jesus did as recorded by Luke.
Simon’s Wife’s Mother Healed
Peter's mother-in-law was stricken with a great fever. But no matter how great the fever was, the great physician was able for it. Peter and the rest prayed that Jesus would heal his mother-in-law. How fitting was this prayer, and for a special reason. How could Peter, who was called to the ministry, leave his wife with a sick mother-in-law? Again the compassion of Jesus is shown out. If the fever was great, so was the healing. She immediately arose and ministered to them.
The word great is used over and over again in this gospel. The rejection and sufferings of Christ were great, and so will be the glory that follows, which we shall share with Him, because we are His bride and will be in His home. Everything will be great in that day.
As the sun set on the first day of Christ's ministry, Jesus continued to heal and cast out demons as He taught, not stopping for rest. Then, the following day, He went into Galilee to preach in other cities.

Lake of Gennesaret

Luke 5
The people crowded around Jesus to hear the Word of God. Nearby at the shore of the lake were two ships with the fishermen there cleaning their nets. The Lord asked Peter to thrust his ship out a little from the land so He could speak to the multitude. He entered Peter's ship and sat down and taught the people on the seashore.
After speaking, the Lord asked Peter to launch out into the deep and let down his nets for a draft. Peter answered, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net... [enclosing] a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake." He called for help, and soon both ships were so filled with fish that they began to sink.
Peter learned at this time what most people never learn: that the whole person is bad. He said, "I am a sinful man, O Lord." He was all sin. What a lesson to learn. Job learned this lesson as well as Peter. The Lord did not depart from Peter, nor did Peter depart from the Lord. Jesus does not speak any more about sin, but grace makes Peter a fisher of men. Peter was told to put down his nets (plural). What would have happened if Peter had put down all of his nets instead of just one?
Leprosy—Uncleanness
A leper, seeing Jesus, fell on his face and said, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean." Touching him, Jesus said, "I will: be thou clean." And immediately the leprosy departed from him. The cleansed leper was told to go to the priest for a testimony, and as a result great multitudes came together to hear Jesus and to be healed. Between healings, Jesus went into the wilderness and prayed.
One day when Jesus was teaching, a large company of Pharisees and doctors of the law were sitting by from every town of Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem, "and the power of the Lord was present to heal them." How different an attitude was formed with the poor, the blind and the lame who were healed! A person must feel his need for a Savior to be healed. These elders were Just as much in need as the poor, but they did not feel it.
Levi and a Great Feast
Jesus said to a tax gatherer, Levi, "Follow Me." He arose, left all and followed Jesus. There did not seem to be any outward affliction that needed healing, but the Lord saw what was in the heart of Levi-he was a sinner and needed Jesus.
Levi made a great feast for Jesus in his own house. There was a great company of publicans and others who sat down with Jesus. How near Jesus came to the sinner-to us.
The Pharisees, with the scribes, spoke against the disciples because they ate and drank with publicans and sinners. Jesus answered, "They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
Some asked why the Lord's disciples didn't fast. He answered, "Can ye make the children of the bride-chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?... When the bridegroom shall be taken away from them... then shall they fast."
The Garments and the Wine
A new piece of cloth is not compatible with an old garment, nor old wine with a new wine bottle. Christianity is not agreeable with the traditions of the past. A new character is needed to enter into the new order of grace. New wine will break the old bottles (sheepskins)
and the wine (new Joys) will be spilled. There is no capacity in the old bottles for the new wine (joys) of the kingdom of God. The new wine must be kept in new bottles, then both are preserved-the new joys of a new nature. "No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new; for he saith, The old is better." Are not men slaves to habits?

The Sabbath Day

Luke 6
The Pharisees questioned the disciples who were plucking and eating corn (wheat) on the sabbath day. According to the law, anyone might enter a field that belonged to someone else and eat, but he was not to take any grain with him. The Pharisees objected to it being done on the sabbath day. Jesus answered by speaking of the rejected King David and his followers, and how they ate the showbread which was only for the priests. The Son of man is Lord of the sabbath.
The Man With the Withered Hand
As Jesus taught in the synagogue on another sabbath, He saw a man with a withered hand. He said to him, "Stand forth in the midst," and he did so. Jesus asked the leaders if it was lawful to do good or to do evil on the sabbath. Looking on them, He told the man with the withered hand, "Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other." The leaders of Israel consulted what they might do to Jesus.
Choosing His Disciples
Before choosing His disciples, Jesus prayed all night. The Lord is often seen praying in this gospel.
First the Lord called His disciples. Then He gave them their work to do, and sent them out in pairs. Only in Luke do we see which ones served the Lord together. The Lord made no unnecessary changes in the lives of His disciples. Peter and Andrew were brothers who fished together; they were chosen to preach together. The same was true with James and John. The two named Judas worked together. We assume that Judas (or Jude), the brother of James, did not in the least suspect that Judas Iscariot would be the traitor. The very fact that Jude worked alongside Judas Iscariot might lend itself to giving him a background of an apostate for when he wrote about apostasy in the book of Jude (if he was the author).
Jesus and the disciples went down from the mountain and met a great multitude in the plain. The people from Judea and Jerusalem, and from the seacoast of Tire and Sidon came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. Some troubled by demons were delivered, and many sought to touch Him. He healed them all.
Blessing
Jesus addressed the disciples and presented blessings and woes. They begin with joy and a promise of heaven, but end in sorrow for those who reject Christ.
"Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets."
At that time the disciples did not know that they would be martyred after His resurrection; later in time of need they would remember these blessings for their comfort.
Woes
"Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep [Luke 16:23-31]. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets."
We are to love our enemies, and return good to those who hate us. Our blessing should be on those who curse us, and we are to pray for those who abuse us. If a person takes our cloak, we should not forbid him to take our coat also. We should give to those who ask us. If they take our goods, we are not to ask for them again, but do good unto others, as we would have them do to us. We are to do good and lend, not hoping for anything in return. Then our reward shall be great as the children of the Highest.
We are to be merciful like our Father. If we judge, it will return on us. We are to forgive, and we shall enjoy forgiveness. This is forgiveness in a governmental way. Not until Jesus died on the cross would sins be forgiven and men have eternal life. Under the law, if one repented of evil, whatever sins had gone before would be forgotten. If one did not repent, his sins would still be there to remind him of his insubordination to God (Ezek. 18:20-28).
We are to give generously, because in the measure we give we shall receive again. We should remove the beam (sin) from our own eye in order to see the mote in our brother's eye.
No corrupt fruit comes from a good tree, nor good fruit from a corrupt tree. Each tree is known by its own fruit. We cannot gather figs from a thorn bush, nor grapes from a bramble. So a good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, brings forth that which is good, for out the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks.
Truth and Obedience
The Lord said, "Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" This is a solemn question, especially for us today, because we have already entered the period of Laodicean indifference, when the Spirit must say: "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth."
To whom is the Lord speaking? Is it not to those who profess the highest truths of our day? Listen! "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." Rev. 3:14-22.
A person may say, I have all of the truth (I am rich); I do not need anything. The one who is wretched is the one who is doing his own will. God's will is the right will. If we do our own will, it is sin, which is abhorrent to God. It produces wretchedness.
If we have not the truth tried in the fire-the truth walked in, and for which we may have suffered and been persecuted-then probably we are only professors. Have we bought the truth? If we have not made the truth our own, we are poor. White raiment is the public testimony of the truth that we have, for it is the truth we have that has formed our character. If we are clothed with truth that we walk in, we are not naked spiritually before God. We are blind if we do not have the Holy Spirit to guide us daily in our walk.
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me."
Why did God give us His Word? Was it not so that we can walk in a godly way that brings honor to Christ? Are we slowly sinking back into our former life of self-will and acting to please ourselves? What determines our pattern of dress? Have we searched the Scriptures to know God's mind? It is all there; let us search for it.
Have we received the love of the truth? The Word of God is the truth; do we love it? If we do, we love Christ who is the truth. "Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." 1 John 2:3. "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." 2 Thess. 2:10. One who, by walking in it, receives the love of the truth is saved.
Building a House
Of one who does come to Jesus to hear and do His sayings, the Lord says: "I will show you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built a house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock [Christ]. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built a house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great."
This illustration suggests that each person is building a house. It is a moral picture of our life in this world as we prepare for the world to come.
The House Built by Wisdom
"Through wisdom is a house builded; and by under-standing it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches." Prov. 24:3,4.
Wisdom is used in building the house. Wisdom comes from God if we are dependent on Him. The house must protect from the storms of life and from decay; it must be comfortable in summer and winter. The activity of house-building suggests moral principles that we know well. But the question before us is: Do we do these things we know well, or do we only say them? The believer will do them.
"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off." Prov. 24:13,14.
Man is so constructed that there is an almost infinite capacity in the mind and heart for truth, and also for evil.
For the believer, what has been learned of Christ will fill our souls by the Holy Spirit forever. It is what is good in our lives here-memory of heavenly things, moral principles, all that is developed by the Holy Spirit in our souls during our stay on the earth-that will be what we have when all else passes away.
This will be true also of the lost. The memory of all the evil that has filled the heart in this life will fill the memory then, "where their worm [conscience] dieth not, and the fire [of unsatisfied desire] is not quenched." Mark 9:48.
The Spirit of God likens this to a house. Here and now is the foundation laid by wisdom, and by understanding it is established (Prov. 24:3). Christ is the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24). Also, the various chambers (capacity) are filled through knowledge, with all pleasant and precious riches. Understanding is the result of applying wisdom to knowledge.
"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste." Prov. 24:13. The person who has been so engrossed in the Word of God that he makes it his life, will find it good. The honeycomb is something different. It has many cells (capacity), each filled with the "honey" gathered in meditations on the Word of God and stored previously. This honey is "sweet to [our] taste" because it has been digested and stored in the heart and mind.
This is the pattern for ministry: not just something eaten that is good, but the ministry of the Spirit comes from the cells that have had the honey digested and matured in them. "Every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is a householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." Matt. 13:52.
"And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights." 1 Sam. 30:11,12. Only that which is sweetened in the sun (raisins, joy) and that which brings hope (figs and Christ) will cause the spirit to be refreshed. The fig tree is a picture of all Israel restored.
Thus, we have the chambers of the house filled with all precious and pleasant riches through knowledge. "So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation [hope] shall not be cut off." Prov. 24:14. "A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength." Prov. 24:5.
Do we apply ourselves like those who know that they are gaining for eternity? Our character (soul) is formed by the Word of God, applied by the Spirit through our conscience and heart. It is Christ, and Him alone by whom the Holy Spirit fills and leaves an imprint written on the chambers of our hearts.
We have spoken of the eternal portion of the believer formed in this world, likened to building a house on the rock (Christ). But what about the lost? Their minds have a similar capacity, but each cell holds the memory of evil and wickedness. They build on the sands. This is "their worm [that] dieth not." The worm is the conscience-it is their worm, not someone else's; it is what has been stored up during the present life by Satan's influence (Mark 9:46).
What would it be like to stand, day and night, while the mind constantly rehearses the evils of one's life that were perpetrated, hidden things that none but God knew? Everything is open there; nothing is hid. Everything that is hidden shall come to light. Can there be any punishment greater than this? We read that "the ruin of that house was great."
Think of losing your soul! What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Can you suggest something better than a life and an eternity of sweetness (honeycomb), storing up in the cells for the time to come when we enter our eternal home with Jesus? Is there something that you like that you would exchange for it? Is it money, honor, popularity, knowledge, gift, friends? These all will pass away, but not the honeycomb; it lasts forever. Trust Jesus now; tomorrow may be too late.

Gentiles and Sinners

Luke 7
At Capernaum Jesus met with a centurion whose servant was sick and near death. He had gone to the elders of the Jews that they might ask the Lord to heal his servant. There were certain qualities mentioned to Jesus about the centurion that were unusual. He, being a Gentile and of those who held Israel captive, had built the Jews a synagogue. They said that he loved the nation of Israel.
As Jesus went with them, a messenger came to tell the Lord that He should not trouble Himself, because the centurion was not worthy that the Lord should visit his home. He said that he was a man in authority who said to his servants, "Come, and he cometh... do this, and he doeth it," so the Lord could just say the word and his servant would be healed. Returning, the messenger found the servant healed. The Lord said that He had not found faith like that in Israel.
Nain
The Lord and His disciples, with much people, went to visit Nain. At the gate of the city they met a funeral procession for the only son of a widow who, in losing her son, lost the inheritance. Today there were many people with her; tomorrow she would be alone. Seeing her, the Lord had compassion on her, saying to her, "Weep not." He touched the bier and the bearers stood still.
Jesus said, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise." He arose, began to speak, and Jesus gave him over to his mother. This brought fear on all, and they glorified God and acknowledged that God had visited His people. The news spread to Judea and the adjoining regions.
John the Baptist's disciples visited him in prison and gave him the news. He sent two of them to Jesus, asking, "Art Thou He that should come? or look we for another?" At that time Jesus was healing many, casting out demons and giving sight to the blind. Answering them, Jesus told them to return to John and tell him what they had seen and heard: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the gospel is preached to the poor, and, finally, "Blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me."
The messengers having departed, Jesus began to speak well of John the Baptist. He asked if they went out into the wilderness to see a reed shaken with the wind, or a man clothed in soft raiment? Those who live in ease with expensive clothes are in kings' courts. If they went out to see a prophet, he was more than a prophet.
The Scriptures speak of John this way: "Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall pre-pare Thy way before Thee. For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."
Jesus valued John and his faithfulness, and also the fact that he introduced Jesus to Israel. But the Lord did not need John to prove who He was; His own works did that. On another occasion Jesus said, "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father." John 15:24.
Many, in being baptized of John, justified God, while the leaders rejected the Word of God by not being baptized. The Lord likened this generation to children calling one to another and saying, "We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her children."
The Woman Who Was a Sinner
Being invited, Jesus entered a Pharisee's house to eat. Knowing this, a woman of the city came bringing an alabaster (stone) box of ointment and wept as she stood behind Jesus. She washed His feet with tears, wiping them with her hair, while she kissed His feet, anointing them with the ointment.
What a change had come over this woman who had been living in sin! Being at the bottom, she had found Jesus. Nothing else mattered. Her expensive ointment was nothing to her any more; she gave all to Jesus. Finding no purpose in naming the woman, her identity is left out. She is known only as the "sinner."
Simon, who had invited Jesus, knowing this woman and her character, judged Jesus as being no prophet or He would also have known the character of this woman. Simon had judged this woman in his own mind, not publicly, but Jesus knew his thoughts and said to him, "Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee." And he said, "Master, say on."
"There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell Me therefore, which of them will love him most?" Simon answered, "I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most." Jesus said to him, 'Thou hast rightly judged."
Then, He turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest Me no water for My feet: but she hath washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest Me no kiss: but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And He said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven."
Those present questioned, "Who is this that forgiveth sins also?" Ignoring them, Jesus said to her, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."
Simon had an experience that he will never forget. We are not told whether Simon bowed to Jesus and repented or not. If he didn't, this experience will ring in his ears for eternity.

Sowing the Seed by Word and Deed

Luke 8
Jesus traveled everywhere with His disciples, preaching the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. There were women, such as Mary Magdalene who had been delivered from seven demons, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, Joanna, Susanna and others, who ministered to Him of their substance.
These women are seen later at the tomb with their spices to embalm Jesus, after His death. How timely was this quiet service, done voluntarily from the heart by the leading of the Holy Spirit. One of these women, Mary Magdalene, received and carried to the disciples the Lord's first message after His resurrection (John 20:17,18).
Parable of the Sower
To the many people who were gathered together, Jesus presented a parable of a sower sowing seed. The seed was the Word of God, which reached hearts in different ways.
The seed sown by the wayside, which was being trodden down and devoured by the birds, is like those who hear, but the devil takes the Word away out of their hearts where it is sown, lest the Word should penetrate their consciences and they be saved.
It would be best if all who attended a gospel meeting would quietly go to their own houses and pray, rather than visit with one another after the meeting. It is often in this way that the enemy succeeds in plucking away the seed, lest it reach the conscience. Excitement that follows a gospel meeting often takes away the solemnity of the message.
Some seeds were scattered on a rock, but after springing up they withered away when the sun shone on them. Such are they who, when they hear, receive the Word with joy, but having no root (no work in the conscience) they fall away at the time of temptation.
The seeds that fell among the thorns were choked with the cares, riches and pleasures of this life, leaving no fruit.
The seed sown in good ground bore fruit. It is those who, out of an honest and good heart, keep the Word that they have heard and bring forth fruit, a hundredfold with patience. To go on with the riches and pleasures of this life does not show forth an honest and good heart in view of what Christ has done for us.
For believers, the path of rejection and fasting is in order. By fasting we may be denying ourselves things that are good in themselves but that do not fit the pattern of the kingdom of God. We are to deny self. Advanced civilization has undermined Christian living. If we follow a rejected Christ, we follow in His steps (1 Peter 2:21 JnD).
The Lord Jesus was not taken up with the pleasures of this life: its adornments of art, science, honor, position, money or popularity. His was a path of sorrow, because He was not of this world. His origin was from heaven, and He has gone back to His home from whence He came. There He enters into the eternal joys with His Father. He was a man of sorrows because He was not of this present world, which later crucified Him. He was the happiest man on earth, because He
was in constant communion with His Father, the source of all joy.
A Candle
A lighted candle (testimony) should not be covered with a vessel (business, worldly activities) or under a bed (spiritual laziness), but it should be set on a candlestick so that those who would enter might see the light. "For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad."
We are to be careful as to how we hear. Our heart at all times should be open so that the Word sown can reach our conscience. If it does not reach the con-science, there will be no progress, nor fruit, in the things of God. If we, through hearing, receive truth, more will be given to us. If not, what we have will be taken away.
To consider the things of Christ as something that we can add at will to our lives is Satan's deceit. Christ is our life. The necessities of this life must be taken care of, but we must not be overcharged with them. That which is permanent, eternal things, must be our life and object; all the rest may have their place, but will soon pass away.
"When I was a child [immature], I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man [mature], I put away childish things [that which is immature]." 1 Cor. 13:11.
Jesus' mother and brethren came in the crowd, wanting to see Him. Hearing of it, Jesus said, "My mother and My brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it."
The Storm
As Jesus and His disciples crossed the sea of Galilee to go to Gadara, Jesus fell asleep in the ship. When a storm descended on them and filled the ship with water, the disciples awoke Jesus, saying, "Master, Master, we perish."
Think it over! If Jesus is with us in the ship in a storm, will we perish? Are not our souls bound up in the same bundle of life with the Lord our God (1 Sam. 25:29)? If nothing can harm us when with Him, is it faith to say, "Master, Master, we perish"? Then Jesus rebuked the wind and the turbulent water, they ceased, and there was a calm. Where there is perfect trust, He can still the storms in our lives and make them into a calm. Perhaps our difficulty in trusting Him is that we have not as yet gotten to know Him. To know Him is to love Him; this will cast out fear. If we know Jesus as our Bridegroom, we surely will trust Him for the storms that arise in this life.
The Gadarenes
In Gadara a demon-possessed man, who had for a long time lived without clothes in the tombs, seeing Jesus and falling down before Him, cried with a loud voice, "What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of God most high? I beseech Thee, torment me not."
The man had often been bound with chains and fetters, but when the demon had caught him, he had broken all restraints and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. Jesus rebuked the demon and commanded him to come out of the man. When Jesus asked him his name, he answered, "Legion," having many demons in him.
The demons asked Jesus that they not be sent out into the deep, but rather be allowed to go into the herd of swine feeding nearby. This they did, and the swine choked in the water. Those who witnessed what happened fled, telling it in the city and country.
Going out to see for themselves what was done by Jesus, they found the man clothed "and in his right mind." This made the people afraid. When they learned how the man was healed, they asked Jesus to depart from their coasts, being overcome with fear. Are men so used to evil and Satan's presence and power that they prefer it to the healing power of Jesus and would rather He would depart from them?
The man who had been healed asked Jesus if he might be with Him, but Jesus said that he should rather return to his own house and tell what great things God had done to him. This he did and the tremendous results of his testimony are recorded elsewhere. May this be a salutary lesson to those who preach the gospel.
Jairus and the Woman
Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue of the Jews, fell down at Jesus' feet and asked Jesus to come to his home, because of his daughter who lay dying. In appealing to Jesus for help, Jairus depicts the Jews (represented by Jairus, a leader in Israel) seeking help for the nation.
Meanwhile, a woman with an affliction for twelve years had spent all of her living on doctors without being healed, and her condition was getting worse. She thought that if she could only press through the crowd and touch the garment of Jesus she would be healed. She did so and immediately she was made well. Jesus asked, "Who touched Me?" When the woman saw that the matter was known, she confessed all to Jesus. He said, "Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole."
The woman, coming into the story while Jesus and Jairus are on their way to his house, shows the two thousand years of Christianity on the earth, with Israel as a nation being set aside and the Church brought in. It does not necessarily follow that this woman was a Gentile. The Church was first formed of Jews. The Gen-tiles came in later.
Following this, Jesus continues to the home of Jairus and heals his daughter, saying, "Maid, arise." Her spirit came again, and she arose immediately. Jesus commanded to give her food. In a coming day such will be the rising from the dead for the virgin daughter of Israel.
The astonished parents were told to tell no one. Jairus was a ruler of the synagogue. He was among the leaders of the nation. His action, of going to Jesus for help, shows what will be seen among the elders of Israel when Judah will be restored. In Joel 2:12-17, the elders cry to God, "Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?"
In Matt. 12:14, the rulers took counsel to kill Jesus. This was the official rejection of Jesus by the elders of Israel. When Israel returns to the Lord, it will be the elders who lead in it (Joel 2:16,17). Jairus is a picture of this.

The Disciples Sent to Preach and Heal

Luke 9
The Lord called the disciples together and gave them power and authority over demons, and to cure dis-eases. He sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. They were to go empty-handed and to abide in the house where they were received until they departed from the village. Should they not be received, they were to shake off the dust from their feet as they left.
Herod was upset when he heard of Jesus, for some were saying that He was John the Baptist risen from the dead. This stirred Herod's conscience. Herod said that he had beheaded John, so who was this man? He wanted to see Him.
When the disciples had returned from their labors, they told Jesus all that they had done. Do we do this? We should. Jesus took them to Bethsaida to a desert place to rest, and the people, knowing this, followed Him.
Feeding the Five Thousand
That evening the twelve said to Jesus, "Send the multitude away, that they may go... and get victuals: for we are here in a desert place." Jesus told them to give the people food. The disciples said that all they had was five loaves and two fishes, unless they went and bought bread.
He instructed the disciples to set the five thousand men down in companies of fifty. Then, looking up, Jesus blessed the food and gave to the disciples to give to the multitude. All ate and were filled. Twelve baskets of leftovers were taken up. They represent the food for the remnant that Jesus will feed in the millennial day (Psa. 132:15).
Jesus was alone praying. I believe that this is true without exception: Jesus prayed to the Father alone. The disciples were with Him, perhaps a stone's cast away. The Lord prayed publicly when He gave thanks. They did not pray.
Who Is Jesus?
Jesus asked them who the people said that He was. They answered that John the Baptist, Elias or one of the old prophets had arisen. The Lord asked, "Whom say ye that I am?" Peter answered, The Christ of God."
They were not to tell this to any man because Christ was rejected. From now on He was the Son of man.
How different the reasoning of the multitude from the faith of one under the control of the Holy Spirit. The people reasoned; the disciple spoke by revelation from the Father as to who Jesus was. Whether in testimony or in teaching, each should be under the control of the Spirit and be able to teach the truth. If they cannot speak with authority, they should not speak at all.
The Lord brought before the disciples His rejection, death and resurrection. To follow Christ we must deny ourselves-not deny some things, but ourselves, our person-take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. These were new thoughts to the disciples. They said that He was the Son of God, but they did not acknowledge that they walked with Him in separation, because they did not pray when He prayed. Several times in this chapter the disciples failed because they did not pray. What a lesson for us.
If we lose our life in this world by taking a path of rejection, we will find it in the next world. What would the advantage be to gain the world and lose our souls? If we are ashamed now of Jesus and His words, the Son of man will be ashamed of us when He comes in these three glories: His own glory, the glory that the Father put on Him, and His glory over the holy angels.
The Kingdom of God
Jesus tells His disciples that some among them would not die before they had seen the kingdom of God. About eight days later Jesus took Peter, James and John up into a mountain to pray. While praying, Jesus was changed before them; His countenance was altered; His raiment was white and glistering. Moses and Elias appeared, talking with Jesus. These appeared in glory, speaking of His death at Jerusalem.
Peter and the other two disciples were sleeping. When they awoke, they saw His glory and Moses and Elias who stood with Him. How often we have to confess that we do not see His glory because we are not more occupied with His death. In this the disciples failed.
As Moses and Elias departed, Peter said, "Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said." If Peter and the others had been praying, they would have been able to say the right thing.
The Glory Cloud
While he was speaking, there came a cloud, and over-shadowed them. They feared as they entered into the cloud, and a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son: hear Him." After these words, Jesus only was seen.
This experience was only for the three disciples, not for Moses and Elias. They will not be in the Father's house; the disciples will. It is a picture of heaven and the glory of God-the kingdom of God where righteousness, peace and the joy of the Holy Spirit dwell. It is Jesus' own home where He dwells with the Father.
The disciples told no one of their experience until after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 1:16-18).
Down From the Mountain
How good to have seasons of refreshment, but in this world they do not last. Again the disciples were face to face with the work which had been assigned to them. A man with an only child besought Jesus to look on his son, who was under the power of a demon. The disciples had been asked to cast out the demon, but they could not. They had been given power and authority over demons and sickness, but they had not been praying.
How true this can be of ourselves. We go on from day to day in self-confidence, from one blunder to another and lose so much, when by praying there could be blessing to others and to ourselves. So the disciples failed again.
Jesus said, "Bring thy son hither." While coming, he was thrown down by the demon, but Jesus rebuked the demon, healed the child and delivered him to his father.
Lessons for Disciples
Later the disciples ask Jesus why they could not cast out the demon. Jesus told them that this was the kind that could not be cast out without prayer and fasting. How kind a rebuke to the disciples after they had made one mistake after another. Before the chapter is over, we may find as many as seven mistakes that the disciples made because they did not pray. Let this be a lesson to us so that we may learn dependence on the Lord.
Jesus again reminds His disciples that the Son of man must be delivered up. He reminds them time after time, but they do not understand. When the death of Christ should be before us, we too, like they did, may reason together which one of us should be the greatest.
Jesus knowing their thoughts, sets a child beside Him, saying, "Whosoever shall receive this child in My name receiveth Me; and whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth Him that sent Me: for He that is least among you all, the same shall be great." How often we fail because we do not pray.
John tells Jesus of one who was casting out demons in the name of Jesus, and he said, "We forbade him, because he followeth not with us." Perhaps we should inquire who are the "us." Is this not the tradition that corrupted the Jewish testimony-outward forms instead of a work in the heart-positive, personal soul-prompted service for Christ, rather than the appointment of an office? An office was necessary, but what good was it without a heart for souls and the prayer of dependence?
What were the disciples who had been called by divine appointment doing? They had lost the power of testimony because they did not pray. After coming down from the vision of the kingdom of God on the mountain, they could not cast out the demon. So they would forbid one who had been appointed to do so when they couldn't. Jesus told them not to forbid him, "for he that is not against us is for us."
Jealousy in spiritual things is terrible. Here in the actions of the apostles we have opened before us what our hearts are naturally, without the power of the Spirit.
The time had come when Jesus should be received up. Had He not glorified God on the earth? Everything was finished, but one thing: God's love for sinners must be manifested at the cross, so Jesus steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem where all of the prophets had been slain.
Jesus sent messengers before Him, and they entered a village of the Samaritans where they were to make ready for Him. Because His face was set to go to Jerusalem, they would not receive Him.
On seeing this, James and John said, "Lord, wilt Thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?" (See 2 Kings 1.) Turning, Jesus rebuked them, and said, "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." They were still of the Jewish spirit of the old order, and not of the new order of the kingdom of God-peace. "For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."
Many said they would follow Christ, but, when tested, they were not able. They did not know that they were not sufficient for themselves. One man said he would follow Jesus anywhere, but he was reminded of rejection. Another would let Jesus wait until he buried his father. Another would follow after he said good-by to his loved ones. "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (See 1 Kings 19:19-21.)

Seventy Disciples Sent Forth

Luke 10
Besides the twelve apostles, Jesus sent out seventy more messengers, by two and two, to go before His face to the cities and places where He was about to visit. They were to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out some to labor in the harvest, because the harvest was great and there were few laborers in the field.
The messengers were sent out as lambs among wolves. They were not to carry extra things and, in view of the importance of their mission, were not to stop and greet anyone by the way. At the first house that they entered they were to say "peace" to it. Providing the son of peace was there, their spirit of peace would rest there. In the first house that received them, they were to partake of food and drink; they were not to go from house to house.
In each city they were to heal the sick and say to the people, "The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you." Should a city refuse to receive them, they were to say in the streets that the kingdom of God had come to them, and they were to wipe off the dust from their feet as a testimony against the city. Sodom's sin was not as bad or fatal as the sin of rejecting the testimony of the kingdom of God.
Woes on Favored Cities
In the province of Galilee the three cities of Bethsaida, Chorazin and Capernaum received more attention than others in the ministry of Jesus. They had a clear testimony of the kingdom of God, accompanied with healings and the casting out of demons, but they rejected Christ's ministry, both His words and His works that proved who He was.
Capernaum was His home town and it received a larger share of His ministry. Without a doubt, they in Capernaum had seen proofs of who Jesus was, and they had been exposed to the kingdom of God. Their judgment was the greatest because the testimony was great.
Have you accepted the invitation into the kingdom of God to follow a rejected Christ to where there is no rejection? or do you continue with a mere profession without Christ, waiting to be judged with Christendom that will receive the greatest of all judgments ever to be measured out? If you hear the messenger, you hear Christ. If you despise the messenger, you despise Christ. Anyone who despises Christ despises the Father who has sent Him.
On their return from the mission, the seventy messengers relate with joy how the demons were subject to them through the name of the Lord Jesus. Jesus said to them, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions... and nothing shall by any means hurt you." Your power will be complete over Satan. "Rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven."
What a valuable lesson for us all. The power is of God; the messengers only make the message known and heal in Christ's name. They have no personal credit to rejoice about. They are to rejoice now and through eternity that their names, based on pure grace, are written in heaven. The testimony and healing will be forgotten.
The Introduction of the New Order of Heavenly Thing
Jesus rejoiced in spirit, thanking the Father for hiding these heavenly things from those who in themselves were wise, and revealing them to babes, the children of wisdom, because it pleased the Father for Him to do so. To us, the babes, Jesus reveals the Father, whom He knows.
The Father delivers all things to Christ, because He will be the Head of the vast moral kingdom of God in heaven and on the new earth. It will be called the kingdom of the Son of man (Matt. 13:41). His glory as man is so great that only the Father can know Him.
Privately, to the disciples, He says, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
Life and incorruptibility have been brought to light in the gospel (2 Tim. 1:10). What is it that they see? What do they hear? Never before had such deep truth been revealed to man. They were not merely to know, but they were to be part of the heavenly family, to be part of the bundle of life bound up with the Lord our God, to be in the bosom of the Father as babes, to be a part of the bride of Christ, to have part in the ruling of the universe, being the mother of all living. This is the epitome of God's counsels in the exaltation of Christ, who has been so rejected here. It is His glory that is in view, but He must have us, for whom He died, with Him. The Spirit brings out these truths after Pentecost.
The Good Samaritan
The following account is, in part, a picture of the things of which we have just spoken. A lawyer stood up to tempt Jesus. He said: master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He was not referring to eternal life as we know it. Such was not known in the Old Testament or before Pentecost. They only knew what is spoken of in the law: 'The man which doeth those things shall live by them." Rom. 10:5.
Jesus answered the lawyer, What is in the law? How do you read it? He responded, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." Jesus said, You have answered right. Do this and you shall live. Then the lawyer, by asking, "Who is my neighbor," sought to justify himself. He did not know that Jesus was his neighbor.
Jesus said that there was a certain man traveling from Jerusalem (the place to meet God in His temple) down to Jericho (the city of the curse) who fell among thieves. What would you expect of one who leaves God out of his life and traffics in the city of the curse, the world without God? Stripping him of his raiment (character), the thieves wounded him, leaving him half dead. The world and Satan have no time for one who is down. It is sad to have to say that such is the religious world too. In this story we have a picture of Adam and his children, sinners by nature and by practice.
By chance, a priest came by and, seeing him, went to the other side of the road. Also, a Levite looked on him and passed by on the other side. "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him: and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou like-wise."
Jesus was neighbor to the man who was beaten by thieves. The priest and the Levite, having position religiously but without heart or compassion, leave the man in his wounds and pass by. Jesus had compassion and went to him, binding up his wounds (this was done at the cross), pouring in oil (comfort and joy) and wine (the medicine for healing, repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ).
Disregarding His own comfort, Jesus put the man on his own beast-"who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree." Jesus brought the man to an inn (the assembly) and took care of him (leaving the believer with hope, the rapture and the coming rewards). When Jesus left this world He left two pence: a Great High Priest and an Advocate. What more could be done for us? Such is our Neighbor.
These blessed things that the disciples see and hear introduce life and incorruptibility to us.
Mary and Martha
Following this, Jesus entered Bethany where Martha and Mary lived with Lazarus their brother. "Martha received Him into her house." Mary sat at the feet of Jesus listening to His words. This is a picture to us of those who see and hear the things of Jesus that the believer is taught by the Holy Spirit during the two thousand years of the Church's history on the earth.
Martha, in preparing food for Jesus and the family, was distracted by the cares of this life and missed the things that were important, things that she, like her sister Mary, should hear and see.
Having come up, perhaps from the lower floor, she spoke to the Lord, "Dost Thou not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Speak to her therefore that she may help me. But Jesus answering said to her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; but there is need of one, and Mary has chosen the good part, the which shall not be taken from her" (JND).
We do not know why Martha was not in the state of soul for this, but she was distracted and was thinking of practical things, which were proper in their place. Do you think that Jesus would have minded if they had no supper, providing Martha would sit at His feet listening to His words of grace?
Martha was distracted, troubled about much serving. Are we not often troubled like this? Serving is right in its place, but it should not take the place of sitting at Jesus' feet to listen, and we should not be troubled in serving. The kind rebuke given to Martha by Jesus must have had its effect, because later she served in the Spirit (John 12).
Mary drank in the Word as she listened to her holy Friend, Jesus, the Son of God. What a privilege! Is it not a little bit of heaven? We have the same privilege.
Christ had taken over in Mary's life. Mary, here, learned His Person, His kindness and grace. She learned that He would die. She understood, when Martha did not understand, what Jesus said about their brother Lazarus in John 11. These things are learned, not merely by hearing a sermon, but by sitting in His presence, alone, listening spiritually to Him. Many, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did by raising Lazarus, believed on Him. How full Mary's life was because she had sat at Jesus' feet.

Lord, Teach Us to Pray

Luke11
How much need there is for prayer. Dependence is man's proper place. If so, do we pray? Do we, like the disciples, ask, "Lord, teach us to pray"? It is good to know how to pray, but the neglect of prayer is also before the disciples. In the ninth chapter, the disciples, through neglect of prayer, made one mistake after another. They were not able to do their work; they had no power. Now they say, "Lord, teach us to pray."
There may be gift-the disciples had been given authority over demons and the gift of healing-but the gift is useless unless we pray. We need to be taught to pray. Many things take up our time, and we forget that nothing can be done for God except in dependence.
The Lord's answer is the disciple's prayer (often spoken of as the Lord's prayer). By it He teaches that there is a proper way to address the Father. We are to pray to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus. It should be our desire that the will of God be done on earth as well as in heaven.
We desire also that the kingdom might come so that everything might be set in order on the earth. (For believers today we have the hope of the heavenly kingdom which will never end.) We are dependent for our daily bread, and we should pray for it and give thanks for it.
There is a governmental forgiveness of sins which depends on our forgiving others. This is not the forgiveness that accompanies our salvation, but it has to do with God's moral government on the earth. If one walks in sin but then Judges it, he is forgiven of it and of all that which is past. If a man walks righteously and then sins, all of his past righteousness is set aside. Unless he confesses his sin, he will be Judged for it regardless of past righteousnesses (Ezek. 18:21-32).
We need to wait on the Lord continually to be preserved from evil. It does not matter when-morning, noon or midnight-if we call on the Lord, He will hear. There is no time when He will not listen to our call in regard to our need. It is our very importunity (troublesome persistence) that brings Him to us.
We need to have confidence in the Lord's answer to our call for help. The Lord will give more than we ask. The Holy Spirit was promised to those who asked; that promise was answered at Pentecost. We do not ask for the Spirit now, since the Holy Spirit has come.
Jesus’ Works Attributed to Satan
Jesus cast out a demon which was dumb, and the people wondered at the miracle. Some said that this was the work of Satan. Others asked for a sign from heaven. Jesus was the sign; had He not come from heaven?
Jesus answered that if a kingdom were divided against itself it could not exist. Satan, being divided against himself, will cause his kingdom to come to ruin. Jesus said, "If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons [Jews] cast them out?... If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you."
While the strong man is armed, his goods are in peace. Thus he keeps his palace. But should another overcome him, his armor in which he trusted is taken away and his spoils are divided. The one who is not with Jesus is against Him, and he who gathers not with Him will scatter.
"When the unclean spirit [idolatry] is gone out of a man [the Jew], he walketh through dry places [captivity], seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out." In the year 1948, the Jews began returning to that house, the land of Israel, in great numbers.
"And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished [adorned]. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits [idolatry] more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." The last condition of Israel (Judah) shall be in idolatry under the power of Satan. At the end, after having a king, they will have the antichrist and will worship him. This will be the most wicked form of evil that there has ever been-one who pretends to be God, sitting in the temple of God to be worshipped as God and to magnify himself above every god.
While Jesus was speaking, a certain woman lifted her voice, saying, "Blessed is the womb that bear Thee, and the paps which Thou hast sucked." He answered, "Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it."
Sign Seekers
It was a wicked generation, asking for a sign. Jesus said that only one sign would be given, that of Jonas the prophet. Jonas was a sign to the Ninevites; the Son of man is a sign to this generation. The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment of this generation and shall condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonas, and behold Jesus, a greater than Jonas, is here.
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment of the men of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth, to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. "And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord," she said, "Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel forever, therefore made He thee king, to do judgment and justice." 1 Kings 10:1,9.
Light
One who lights a candle does not put it in a secret place nor under a bushel (one's business), but on a candlestick for people to observe.
The eye is the light of the body. If the eye be single (one object, Christ), it fills the entire body with light. Having no part dark (all sins confessed), the entire body shall be full of light, Just as a candle sheds its light. But the eye being wicked fills the body with darkness. Be careful that the light that you have in you is not darkness. Christ in communion is the light.
Woes for the Leaders of Israel
Sitting down to eat, the Pharisee marveled that Jesus had not washed before dinner. Jesus said, You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and platter, but your inward parts are full of wickedness. Fools, did not God make the inside as well as the outside? It is well for you to tithe with herbs, but you are indifferent to the judgment and love of God. These you should have done, and you should not have left the other undone.
He said, There is woe for you Pharisees because you love the uppermost seats in the synagogues and greetings in the markets. But there is also woe on you scribes and Pharisees because you, being hypocrites, are as graves that do not appear, and all who tread over them are not aware of them. No one will go by what a hypocrite will say; there is no power of testimony with profession without life.
The lawyers said, You also reproach us. There is woe (judgment) for you lawyers as well, Jesus said, because you lay burdens on others that you will not touch yourselves. You also build sepulchers for the prophets who were killed by your fathers. You acknowledge and consent to the deeds of your fathers; they killed prophets, and you build sepulchers for them.
The wisdom of God says, "I will send them prophets and apostles (of the New Testament], and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation." "This generation" began with Sinai and ends at the coming of Jesus in Judgment.
The key of knowledge is Christ; He is wisdom personified. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Prow. 1:7; 2:1-5.) The leaders of Israel would not enter because they did not have the key of knowledge, Christ. They hindered those who had the key and were entering in.

Future Justice

Luke 12
We should be careful lest we manifest the spirit of the Pharisee, hypocrisy. Do we say and do not? Would we exact from others that which we could not and do not do ourselves?
Everything shall be manifested and proclaimed on the housetops, all secret things. Be not afraid of persecution and those who kill you. That terminates your stay on the earth, but they can do no more. "Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him."
To man, sparrows are almost worthless, but not one of them is forgotten by God. You are worth more than many sparrows; God has numbered the hairs of your head.
One who confesses Christ before men, Christ will confess before the angels of God. But one who denies Christ before men shall be denied before the angels of God. A word spoken against the Son of man shall be forgiven him who repents, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven.
If brought before rulers, you are not to think about how to answer. The Spirit of God shall teach you what to say at that time. Here we have a principle of testimony for all who witness. The believer today has the Holy Spirit within, so when he speaks he does not need notes on the side of the page of his Bible to speak from. It should be out of the abundance of his heart that he speaks. "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
Covetousness
A man wanted the Lord to make his brother divide the inheritance with him. Jesus said, "Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?" Both the brother who would not divide, and the brother who desired that his brother divide, were covetous. It is a lesson about covetousness, which is idolatry. "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
The Fool
A rich man who prospered reasoned within himself, I need more room for my goods. I will remove my barns and build greater ones. He said to his soul, I have much. I will take it easy and enjoy it. But God said to him, 'Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?" Thus it is for one who provides treasure for himself, but forgets his God and does not lay-up treasure in heaven.
The disciples were to take no thought for their life, either for food or raiment. They were to seek first the kingdom of God. The ravens leave us an example. They are unclean birds, but they do not sow, nor reap, nor have a storehouse, yet God feeds them. We are much better than ravens.
By thinking, can you manage to increase your height by eighteen inches? If you cannot do that, why do you worry about everything else? Why is it so hard for even the Christian to walk in dependence on God? There is nothing that God so appreciates from us as dependence on Him. Think of His delight in Christ who never took a step except in complete dependence.
The lilies do not work, but are more beautiful than Solomon in all of his glory. If the Lord clothes the lilies of the field which perish in a day, will He not rather clothe you who have so little faith?
Do not seek for food and drink, and do not doubt. These are the things that the nations (Gentiles) of the world seek, and your Father knows that you need them. "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you." Do not fear-your Father finds pleasure in giving you the kingdom.
In view of His coming, sell (evaluate) the things that you have and make a purse which does not get old, a treasure in the heavens which nothing, neither thief nor moth, can spoil. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
The Watching Servant
You should have your loins girded (the seat of strength and affection) and lights burning (on a candle-stick, not hidden). This is the way that we should wait for the Lord, who will return from the wedding, and when He knocks, we will be ready to open the door to Him immediately. Also, we should be watching, be-cause when He comes, He will take the place of a ser-vant and sit us down at His table and serve us.
We are to be ready, lest our house (entire life and eternal blessing) be ruined. Watching is the character that shows who the believer is; he has one hope-the rapture.
The servant will be blessed when He comes, whether it be in the second or third watch. (There are three Jewish watches.) The third watch will be deliverance for Israel.
Peter asks if the Lord is speaking just to His disciples or to all men. The Lord answers, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over... all that he hath?" The Church had not been revealed at the time of the writing of the gospels, but there are principles all the way through that apply to both the Jew and the Church.
With each one, the one who waits, watches or works, there is a special reward. The one who waits opens the door; the one who watches will be able to sit down and be served by Jesus Himself; the one who works as a steward will be made ruler over all that He has. May all three rewards be ours in that day.
To the one who says, or whose manner of life says, "My Lord delayeth His coming," the Lord will come unexpectedly and give him his part with unbelievers. If one knew his Lord's will and did not prepare himself, neither did according to the Lord's will, he shall be beaten with many stripes. But the one who did not know, but did commit things worthy of stripes, shall have only a few stripes. For one who has been given much, in trust, of him shall be required much. It is all our Master's goods that He has placed in our hands, and they should be multiplied in view of His coming.
Do You Discern This Time?
The Judgment that is coming has already begun. But the Lord had the baptism of death to be baptized with, and His heart of love could not flow out freely until that baptism had taken place. He speaks of the cross which lay Just ahead.
He said that He did not come to give peace on the earth, "but rather division." In one house five would be divided, two against three. Seeing a cloud out of the west they would say there comes a shower, and they would be right. If the south wind blew they would predict heat, but how is it that ye do not discern this time? They did not discern the consequences of rejecting Him and the results of His death.
If Israel did not accept mercy at the hand of Jesus, they would be put into prison and not be released until they had paid the very last mite. The putting in prison occurred in the year 70 A.D. (Isa. 40:1,2) when Titus destroyed Jerusalem. Isaiah looks on to the time when they are set free.

Universal Testimony of Grace and Peace

Luke 13
Calamities come on some from time to time, but every man, unless he repents, will ultimately perish.
Israel is seen as a fig tree in which there is no fruit. For three years Jesus looked for fruit and found none. "Cut it down; it only cumbers the ground," the owner of the fig tree said to the dresser of his vineyard. The dresser of the vineyard said, "Leave it for another year while I cultivate and fertilize it. If it bears fruit, well. Otherwise, cut it down." Israel today is a nation of withered fruit for God and estranged from their place for God on earth.
A Woman Bowed Down
A certain woman who had been bent over with affliction for eighteen years, a picture of Israel in captivity, is loosed by a word from Jesus. The leaders of Israel again object because what was done happened on the sabbath day. The Lord answered, saying, Do you not loose and water your beasts on the sabbath day? Then ought not this woman, bound by Satan for eighteen years, to be set free on the sabbath? The adversaries were ashamed.
A Great Tree and Leaven
The kingdom of God is likened to a great tree which sprang from a mustard seed. Its branches made a home for the birds of the air. This mustard seed was intended for food for man, but became a tree to protect evil spirits. Such now is the profession of Christianity-in the beginning it was small, with a large testimony of Jesus and saving grace, but it has become a great system of religion, denying the truth of the holy Scriptures.
The kingdom of God is likened to leaven, which was hid in three measures of meal by a woman. The place for a woman is in the house. What is done in the house is private. It cannot be seen by others. The leaven (evil doctrine) was hidden in the meal (the testimony of Christ). During the past two thousand years, the evil of false doctrine has gradually and systematically been introduced, secretly, by that system which falsely claims to be the original church, and which continues until the whole of the Christian profession will be leavened (corrupted) when the true Church has left this world.
From the beginning God has always had a people on the earth, and, though they may be small and weak, they are the testimony on earth for God. We are thankful that all true Christians will be raptured when Jesus comes for His own.
Many claim to be believers and they have built a vast system of religion which tends to outward show and formal order rather than to the order given in the Scriptures. Whenever man departs from the order given in the Word of God, the flesh in the natural man must replace what God has ordered through the leading of the Holy Spirit with a man made order suited to religious flesh. Man's system finally becomes completely corrupt just before the Lord returns to judge. The rapture will be at least seven years before the final corruption of idolatry overcomes this vast, wicked profession.
The Word of God to all believers is to separate from this spurious system to be gathered to Christ alone. "Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." Rev. 18:4.
The Shut Door
The question was put to the Lord, "Are there few that be saved?" Jesus answered, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." Christ is the strait gate. The time will come when the door of salvation will be shut and men will stand outside and knock, saying, "Lord, Lord, open unto us," but He will answer and say, "I know you not whence ye are." Then such will say, We have dined with You and have listened to Your teaching. Jesus will respond, I do not know you, where you come from; you are workers of evil; go on your way.
The Lord goes on to say, There will be untold sorrow when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob with all of the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you will be shut out. There will be some there from the east and the west, the north and the south, who shall sit down in the kingdom of God, but you who do not hear now will then be thrust out.
Those coming last (the Church) shall be first, and the first, last. Israel, the first, shall be last. The Gentile, last, shall be first.
The Pharisees said, Get out of the country, because Herod will kill You. The Lord answered, "Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem."
Jesus mourned over Jerusalem, saying, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!" In the millennial day, or just before, when Israel is again gathered, it shall be said, "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler." Psa. 91:4. This will be the Lord's answer to this lament over Jerusalem.

The Man With Dropsy

Luke 14
There was a man afflicted with dropsy in the house of a Pharisee when Jesus went in to eat bread on the sabbath. Jesus asked, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace." Jesus healed the man and he departed. Then He asked, Which of them had a beast that, if it fell into a pit on the sabbath day, he would not lift out? But they could not answer.
Seeing some at the dinner who would choose the chief places, Jesus said, Do not sit in the highest place, because someone more honorable might come and the master of the house will say to you to give this man place, and with shame you will take the lowest place. But when you come, take the lowest room so that the host will say, Friend, go up higher, and you will have honor in the presence of all. He who exalts himself shall be humbled, but one who humbles himself shall be honored.
Also He said, It may please you when you make a dinner to call your friends and rich neighbors, but instead, call in the poor, maimed and blind. Then in the resurrection you will be recompensed. These cannot recompense you, but the rich can. How much better to be rewarded in heaven!
A Great Supper
Someone at the table said, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God."
Jesus said, A great supper was made and many were invited. At the appointed hour the host sent to those who were invited, saying, "Come; for all things are now ready." But all made excuses. One had bought land and must be excused. One had bought five yoke of oxen and begged to be excused. Another had married a wife, so wished to be excused.
Here we learn that man's habits and companions may keep him from eternal blessings. This also may be true of believers who carry on with occupations or self-interests that hinder their spiritual life. Companions often play a large part in hindering the soul from spiritual things. Such may be believers as well. How important to choose the right companions, and to form the right habits.
Then those in the city, the poor, maimed, halt and blind, were brought in, but still there was room. The Lord instructed the servant to go out into the open places and compel men everywhere to come in so that His house may be filled. Those who at the first were bidden will never taste of the great supper.
Discipleship
While the multitude was with Him, Jesus said that if one should follow Him and not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters and his own life, he could not be a disciple of His. If one did not put Christ first above friends and relatives, he was not a disciple. He was not speaking of salvation, although "by their fruits ye shall know them," but discipleship. Eternal forgiveness is not taught until Christ died and rose.
If anyone does not bear his cross (deny self) when he follows Jesus, he cannot be His disciple. We must for-sake all if we wish to be a disciple of Jesus. If you build a tower, count the cost first. Do not take up disciple-ship unless you continue to walk in the manner of it. Otherwise some will say, This man cannot finish what he started.
If you are to make war, be sure that you have enough power to win the battle. Otherwise, while there is still time, plead for conditions of peace. If you cannot over-come Satan, put your trust in the Savior who has already conquered Satan.
One who makes a profession without their con-science being reached is like salt that has lost its savor. Salt cannot season itself; it must be cast out. If a person has made a profession without reality, and if he has been exposed to the truth over and over again with his conscience not reached, he, like salt that has lost its savor, will be cast out as worthless.
But the Pharisees mocked.

The Shepherd's Heart

Luke 15
Jesus gave a three-part parable about a lost sheep, a lost coin and a lost son. Each was restored and all heaven rejoiced.
One Lost Sheep and the Shepherd
A shepherd with a hundred sheep loses one. Leaving the rest he goes into the wilderness seeking it until he finds it. The sheep will never find its way back to the fold; it must be found, being a helpless creature. In
order to return the sheep to the flock, the shepherd must carry it on his shoulders all the way home.
The Shepherd is Jesus; the lost sheep, the sinner. This is a picture of a sinner who repents. Heaven is filled with joy. The sheep shows no effort or movement, it is simply carried by the shepherd. The other ninety-nine were left in the wilderness; they did not need repentance.
Jesus came from heaven to this world (a wilderness), walked through it, laid down His life and returned to heaven again to tell His friends that He had found His lost sheep. "God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." 1 Tim. 3:16. How graphic an account of the fulfilling of God's eternal counsel: Jesus, the Savior, brings man, the sinner, to God through grace.
The lost sheep is found and brought safely home. All heaven, including the angels, rejoices. Only heaven is said to rejoice.
Ten Pieces of Silver
In the lost silver we have the second illustration of the work of grace. This time it is not the Shepherd who died for the sheep, but the Holy Spirit searching the innermost part of man's being for something that was lost.
There are ten pieces of silver. Ten speaks of responsibility. The silver speaks of something valuable. It also is used as a figure of redemption. Both the lost sheep and the lost pieces of silver lie in the place where they were lost. They are not able to do anything for themselves. Such is the case with the sinner who is lost.
The silver is valuable to the woman. She has lost it and is searching for it-man who is in a lost condition is valuable to God. God created man for His own glory, and, man being lost, God uses every means to retrieve him. Man as an object for God's love is valuable to Him.
The candle, a small light, suggests not lighting a room but searching for a small object. She sweeps the house to uncover, if possible, the dormant sinner in the lowest place, the dust.
This picture of the lost pieces of silver is an illustration of the work of the Spirit of God with man's spirit, so that man, by having his conscience reached, realizes how deep is his sin. It is like the lost piece of silver, hidden under the dust of the floor.
The woman (the Holy Spirit) is working in the house (Luke 15:8). It is what was going on, hidden, in the innermost part of man's being. Here, the house pictures the soul; in Matthew, the house pictures the outward, public testimony (Matt. 13:1,52). The "woman," as a figure of the Holy Spirit working, does not in any way suggest that the Holy Spirit is a woman; it is only a figure.
Again we hear of joy. What joy is this? The joy of finding a lost sinner.
The Prodigal and the Father: Reconciliation
The third part of the parable is about a father and his two sons. One son represents Israel in its special, outward relationship with God, but at a distance because of sin. The other, the younger, is a son who has gone astray.
The younger asks his father for his portion of goods. They are given to him, because he, like all men, must be brought to feel his need before he can be saved. Gathering all together, the younger son travels to a distant land, there wasting his substance in riotous living.
This is a picture of every man who has been born. There may be different degrees of manifestation, but this is true of all. "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." To leave God the Father and go away as far as possible is just what the human race has done. In the work of the shepherd, the woman and the father we see God's ways of reconciliation.
Having spent all, a mighty famine came over the country and the son began to be in want. The vagrant son has finally reached the bottom; his substance has been wasted on pleasure. Joining a citizen of that country, he fed swine, wishing for the very food that the swine ate, but no man gave to him. His case was desperate.
How often parents, not thinking of the work of God in the soul of a wayward child, spoil the work of the Spirit by giving him things to alleviate his exercises. This only prolongs the work and his recovery. We must leave alone God's work in the soul (the innermost part of the person) for suitable results. (See 2 Sam. 14.)
An awareness of his need has arisen in his soul and he uses his own efforts to meet the need, but it is all wasted effort. Coming to himself, he thinks of the father's house and the servants who have bread enough and to spare, while he is about to perish with hunger.
He makes a decision. The soul must make a decision or be lost. He says, "I will arise and go to my father." This is the first step in the energy of the Spirit, but enacted by the lost son, could we say, "in faith." Only the Holy Spirit would lead in this.
When leaving the father's house, the wayward son did not want the father. Now, having been taught deep lessons, he wants the father. When he gets home he is going to learn the lesson that the greater the sin, the greater the grace.
To himself he says, I will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee. What a confession for a vagrant son. All men must come to this point in their souls or be lost. They may not have the outward experience, but they must have the inward soul experience of being "lost," destitute. He realizes that his guilt is in relation to his father. He says to himself what he will say to his father: I am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
When he makes this confession to the father, the father, having run to meet the son, covers him with kisses so that he cannot finish what he intends to say-"make me as one of thy hired servants." Even when repenting, how little we know of the Father and His desire for us to know how much He loves us.
In this picture of reconciliation between God and the sinner, we have blessings that had never been revealed before. The best robe put on is being covered with Christ forever. He is our life and character. The ring is assurance of eternal relationship. Shoes cover the feet that went astray with an appropriateness for the father's house ( Sol. 7:1). The fatted calf, killed, is the memorial of the complete work of Christ. We feed on it forever, for it says, "And they began to be merry." The merriment will never end.
The elder son, the Jew, rejects his father's invitation to join in the happiness of the hour. He criticizes the father because he, having been faithful, has not been given a kid to make merry with his friends, yet when the errant son returns, there is a celebration. The natural, religious mind will never know the true meaning of "the God of all grace."
Not until we get home will we understand fully this parable in its three parts. How the vaults of heaven will echo as the praise rises and fills heaven.

The Present and the Future

In this chapter both the present and the future are before us. In it we find future things, the next world, the end of our path and the judgment or reward.
The illustration of the steward is taken from an ordinary worldly setting and is used to give principles which apply to the present life of one who professes to be the Lord's.
The steward has wasted his master's goods. This could apply first to the Jew, but also reach out to the Gentiles as well. He was called before his master to give an account. If you were in this situation with your master, what would you say or do? Much depends on the character of your master.
Meditating inwardly, he realized his position. He must prepare for the future, because he would soon be cast out of his stewardship. He could not dig and was ashamed to beg. He said to himself, I will gain favor with my lord's debtors, so when I am put out of the stewardship, I may be received into their houses. Calling his lord's debtors to him, he reduced each debt. He was looking toward the future. He was commended for this by his lord, because he had acted wisely-it was not righteously, but wisely.
This is a worldly illustration, but it gives the principles necessary for us to view the future properly in the light of Christianity and grace. Our God is the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10). Jesus showed grace to all on every hand. He desires for us to do the same, using our possessions, money, houses, lands and all that we have to make friends for the future. "Make to yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, that when it fails ye may be received into the eternal tabernacles" (JND).
Our possessions in this world are not our own. They belong to our Master, but He has left them in our hands to trade with until He comes. We should learn the spirit of Christianity which gives, asking nothing in return.
One who is faithful in that which is least will be faithful in that which is greater, or if one is unrighteous in the least, he is also in much. If you have not been faithful (generous, showing grace) with the present things entrusted to you, who will trust you with the true riches? The true riches are your own. "And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?" We cannot serve two masters. We cannot be divided in purpose, nor can we serve God and mammon.
Hearing these things, the covetous Pharisees ridiculed Him. The Lord said, "For what amongst men is highly thought of is an abomination before God. The law and the prophets were until John: from that time the glad tidings of the kingdom of God are announced, and every one forces his way into it" (JND). One must be in earnest to enter the kingdom of God. Earth or heaven could pass away before the law failed.
The initial institutions of Eden are still binding in the marriage relationship.

The Present

Luke 16
A rich man clothed in purple and fine linen enjoyed himself in splendor every day. A poor, hungry man named Lazarus lay at his gate, full of sores. He would like to have had the crumbs from the rich man's table. Only the dog noticed this man, and licked his sores.
The Future
Lazarus died and was taken by the angels to Abraham's bosom; the rich man died and was buried. Being in hell, in torment, he asked Abraham, seeing him afar off, to send Lazarus to bring him water, for he was tormented.
What the rich man now needed was water-the Word of God-but it was too late for that or for compassion. Abraham said, "Child, recollect that thou hast fully received thy good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazarus evil things. But now he is comforted here, and thou art in suffering. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm is fixed, so that those who desire to pass hence to you cannot, nor do they who desire to cross from there pass over unto us" (JND).
The rich man then asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his five brothers to earnestly speak to them that they may not come to this place of torment. Abraham said: "They have Moses and the prophets: let them hear them.... If they hear not Moses and the prophets, not even if one rise from among the dead will they be persuaded" (JND).

Ten Lepers

Luke 17
Be careful of the little children and those of all ages who believe in Jesus. Woe unto one who offends one of them. Forgiveness is continual, seven times a day. The disciples ask that their faith be increased. It is not the amount of faith that matters, but who is the object of it. We learn here that at best we are unprofitable servants; we only did our duty.
Ten lepers stood afar off and cried, "Master, have mercy on us." Jesus told them to show themselves to the priest, and on the way they were cleansed. One of the ten, realizing that he was cleansed, returned and glorified God with a loud voice. He fell down on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks. He was a Samaritan. Jesus asked if there were not ten cleansed? What happened to the nine? Only one stranger returned. Jesus told the Samaritan leper to arise and go his way, for he had been made whole.
Jesus was asked when the kingdom of God should come; He answered that the kingdom of God was in the midst of them. Wherever a Person of the Godhead is, there is the kingdom of God.
The Day of the Son of Man
Jesus told His disciples that the time would come when they would desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, but would not see it. As the lightning reaching around the globe, so shall the Son of man be in His day, but the rejection and the cross come first.
The coming of the day of the Son of man will be like it was in the day of the flood. They ate, drank and married wives, until Noah entered into the ark; then the flood came and destroyed all. Likewise, in the days of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought and sold, they planted and builded, but the fire and brimstone came the day that Lot went out of Sodom, and all was destroyed. Nothing was said about marriage in Sodom.
So shall the days of the Son of man be. God's people will be delivered before judgment. No one, as they flee, should try to rescue anything from their home or turn back-"remember Lot's wife." One who seeks to save his life shall lose it. One who shall lose his life shall keep it.
When judgment comes, there shall be two men in one bed; one shall be taken, the other left. Two women shall be grinding; one shall be taken, the other left. Two shall be in the field, one shall be taken and one shall be left. Some are taken at night, some in the day, showing the judgment is universal (in Luke) on both Jews and Gentiles. The one taken shall be taken for judgment; he is an apostate. The one who is left will enter the kingdom on earth which is then about to begin (Matt. 13:49,50,41,42).
The question is raised, "Where, Lord?" He answered, "Where the body [apostate Israel] is, there the eagles [birds of prey] will be gathered together" (JND).

The Troublesome and Insistent Widow

Luke 18
Man is not sufficient for himself. Man should always pray, not faint.
In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and regarded not man. A widow came before him and said, "Avenge me of mine adversary." Delaying, he finally said within himself, I do not fear God nor regard man, but with this widow troubling me, she shall be avenged, because I do not want her to keep troubling me.
The Lord said, "Hear what the unjust judge saith." God shall avenge His elect for their importunity (troublesome insistence). He will speedily avenge them. "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" Everyone, except those who have believed the gospel of the kingdom, will be idolatrous.
The Pharisee and the Publican
This parable is for those who trust in themselves that they are righteous and despise others.
"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."
"And the tax-gatherer, standing afar off, would not lift up even his eyes to heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, O God, have compassion on me, the sinner" (JND). This man, not the Pharisee, was justified. One who exalts himself shall be humbled; one who humbles himself shall be exalted.
Children
When infants were brought to Jesus to touch Him, the disciples rebuked them. Jesus called the disciples to Him and said, "Suffer little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God." If one receives not the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter in.
A Rich Ruler
A ruler asked Jesus, saying, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? none is good, save one, that is, God." The Lord said, Do you know the commandments? He said that he had kept them from his youth. Jesus said, "Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me." He went away sorrowful, for he was very rich.
Anything in our lives that hinders following Jesus must go. Jesus told His disciples that for a camel to go through a needle's eye would be easier than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. They said, "Who then can be saved?" He said that all things are possible with God. Peter tells Jesus that they had left all to follow Him. Jesus said that they would receive manifold more in the present time, and then life everlasting.
While going to Jerusalem with the twelve, He said, "All things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished." Jesus would be delivered to the Gentiles and be mocked and spit on. They would scourge Him before putting Him to death. He would rise on the third day. The disciples did not understand these things, though He had often spoken of them to them.
The Blind Man Near Jericho
The blind man inquired of the crowd and was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. He cried, "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me." Standing still, Jesus commanded that he should be brought. He asked him what he wanted Him to do and the blind man said, "Lord, that I may receive my sight." And Jesus said to him, "Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee." He received his sight immediately and glorified God, while all of the people praised God.
We have in the gospels many accounts of grace toward Israel. Yet there seems to be very little response on the people's part. After the nation really discovers its blindness, it will turn to the Lord (Hos. 3:3-5; Isa. 32:3).

Zacchaeus

Luke 19
Rich Zaccheus, chief among the publicans, wanted to see Jesus, who He was. Being short, he could not see over the heads of the crowd, so, running ahead of the procession, he climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus as He passed by.
Coming to the place where Zaccheus was, Jesus looked up and said, "Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house." Zaccheus came down, and received Him at his house joyfully. The people who saw this murmured because Jesus would stay in the house of a publican, a sinner.
Zaccheus told Jesus his history and what he had done, but Jesus answered, "This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. [Abraham is the father of faith.] For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Zaccheus was saved, not because of any righteous dealings in his life, but because he had received Jesus.
A Nobleman Goes to a Far Country
A nobleman went to a far country to receive for himself a kingdom. Before leaving, he called his ten servants and delivered each a pound, saying, "Occupy till I come." But his citizens hated him and sent a message after him, saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us."
Having received the kingdom, he returned and commanded the servants to whom he had entrusted money to come to him. He wished to know how much each had gained by trading.
The first had gained ten pounds. Because he was faithful with little, he was rewarded by receiving authority over ten cities. The second gained five pounds; he was given authority over five cities. The third had laid up the master's pound in a napkin. He feared his master, considering him to be an austere man, receiving that which was not his. This servant was condemned by his own judgment of his master. Having considered his lord an austere man, he was judged with an austere hand. The pound was taken from him and given to the one with the ten pounds. "Unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him."
The citizens, his enemies, who would not have him reign over them, were brought and slain before him.
Riding Unto Jerusalem As King
On the way to Jerusalem, at the Mount of Olives near Bethphage and Bethany, two disciples were sent to a nearby village for a colt. As they loosed the unbroken colt, the owners said, "Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him."
We never hear Jesus say that He had need of anything but this colt, the foal of an ass. "Vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt."
Bringing the colt to Jesus, they cast their garments on it, then sat Jesus on it. Clothes were spread in the way. As they descended the Mount of Olives, the multitude began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for the mighty works that Jesus had done. They said, "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest." There must be peace in heaven before the kingdom is established on earth (Rev. 12:7-9).
Hearing this praise to Him, some of the Pharisees asked the Lord to rebuke His disciples. Jesus said, "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.... For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation [70 A.D.]."
Cleansing the Temple
Jesus upset the merchants in the temple, casting them out and saying, "My house is the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." There He taught daily, while the leaders of Israel sought how they might destroy Him, but they could not, for the people liked to hear Him.

Stewards and Shepherds

Luke 20
As Jesus was teaching in the temple, the elders came and asked by what authority He did these things who gave Him the authority. Jesus answered, 'The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?" Fearing the people who were for John the Baptist, they said they could not tell. Jesus said, "Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."
The Vineyard
Before leaving for a long stay in a far country, a certain man planted a vineyard and let it out to farmers to care for it. At harvest time he sent a servant to receive the fruits of the field, but the servant was beaten and sent away. Another servant was sent whom they treated shamefully before sending him away. The third servant was wounded and cast out.
Supposing that the farmers would reverence his son, he sent him to them. The farmers, seeing the son, said, 'This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours." So they killed him; what shall the owner of the vineyard do? He will destroy the farmers and give possession of the vineyard to others.
Herodians, Sadducees and Pharisees: the Three Shepherds
The Herodians ask, "Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Cæsar, or no?" Jesus answered, "Show Me a penny. Whose image, and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Cæsar. And He said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Cæsar's, and unto God the things which be God's." Marveling at His answer, they held their peace.
The Sadducees, who deny there is any resurrection, asked what would happen if seven brothers, one after another, upon the death of the one before them, had the same wife-whose wife would she be in the resurrection? Jesus said that there would be no marriage in heaven. They are like the angels.
He reminded them that Moses called the Lord the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God does not regard Himself the God of the dead but of the living. They answer, "Master, Thou hast well said." From then on they dared not ask Him any more questions.
Jesus asked them, How can it be said that Christ is David's son? David had said in the Psalms, "The Lord said unto My Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." David called Him Lord. "How is He then," Jesus asked, "his son?" By these questions he showed them that He, who was this person, must be God come in the flesh.
Jesus warned the people to beware of the scribes with long robes who love greetings in the market, the highest seats in the synagogue and chief rooms at feasts, who devour widow's houses, and for a show make long prayers. These shall receive the greater judgment.

The Coming of the Son of Man

Luke 21
Jesus watched the rich men as they cast gifts into the treasury. He also saw a widow casting in two mites. He said, "This poor widow hath cast in more than they all." They cast in of their abundance, "but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."
The Destruction of the Temple—Preceding the 2000 Years of Grace
The temple "was adorned with goodly stones and gifts." In the coming day "there shall not be left one stone upon another," but all will be thrown down. The disciples asked, When shall this happen? And what sign will there be? Jesus said, Do not be deceived, many shall come in My name saying, I am Christ. He went on to tell them, When you hear about wars and rumors of wars do not be terrified, for these things must take place, but the end is not immediately. Nation will rise against nation and great signs will come from heaven.
You will testify before kings; you need not try and anticipate what you should say; I will give you what you shall say. You will be betrayed by family and friends and hated of all the nations for Christ's sake. Not a hair of your head shall perish. God has them all numbered. Patience will keep you.
When you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then you will know of the desolation. Those in Judea shall flee to the mountains. Those in the midst of Judea should leave. These are the days of vengeance, that all things that are written will be fulfilled. And Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
After the 2000 Years of Grace
Signs of the Son of man's coming will be seen in the sun, moon and stars. (Sun, moon and stars are rulers.) On the earth there will be distress of nations in perplexity, the roar of the sea (heathen peoples of the earth) and rolling waves (great changes taking place), men ready to die for fear of what is coming on the habitable earth, for the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. The powers of the heavens are the angels, having their powers transferred to Christ and the Church.
Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. They are told to look up, for their redemption is nigh.
The Fig Tree and All the Trees (Isa. 13:14)
SA 13:14{When the trees sprout, the summer (millennium) is near. "The kingdom of God is nigh at hand." 'This generation [which began at Sinai] shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled."
The day of judgment will come on those who do not value the work of God for them, the heart being overcharged with overindulgence, drunkenness and the cares of this life. This condition applies to both Jew and Gentile in their time. The disciples were to watch and pray. This chapter ends Christ's public ministry.

The Passover and the Lord's Supper

Luke 22
At the time of the passover, the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might put Jesus to death because they feared the people. Satan entered into Judas, and he covenanted with them to sell Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
The disciples went to prepare the passover. At the appointed hour Jesus sat down with the twelve to eat the passover. While assembled, the Lord instituted His supper: "And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is My body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of Me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you." (Verses 19 and 20 are a parenthesis; in time they take place after verse 23.)
Strife Among the Disciples
At this most solemn time the disciples strove as to who among them should be the greatest. Jesus said that the Gentiles do this, but it should not be so among them. The greater is the one who serves. He said, You have continued with Me in My trials, so I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father has to Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Simon, Simon To Peter the Lord says, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."
Peter prefigures Israel in their sifting and restoration (Amos 9:9). Peter said that he was ready to go with Jesus even into prison or death. The Lord told Peter that he would deny Him three times that veiy day, before the cock crowed.
He asked if they lacked anything when He sent them out to preach with nothing to sustain them. They said, no. Then He said that now he that had a purse or a scrip (wallet) let him take it with him. And he that had no sword let him sell his garment and buy one. He, Jesus, would be reckoned with transgressors; the things concerning Him have an end. They said, "Lord, behold, here are two swords," and He said, "It is enough."
Jesus went, as was His habit, to the Mount of Olives. He took the disciples with Him, instructing them to pray that they enter not into temptation.
He went about a stone's cast away from them and prayed, "Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done." An angel came from heaven to strengthen Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Arising, He found the disciples sleeping. If we are not awake regarding His death, we shall be asleep regard-ing His glory. (Peter slept on the Mount of transfiguration; Luke 9:32.)
Jesus Taken Prisoner
Judas came with a company to kiss and betray Jesus. A disciple cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, but Jesus healed it. Jesus was taken to the high priest's house.
Peter followed afar off. He sat down to warm himself at the enemy's fire. A maid said, 'This man was also with Him." And he denied the Lord, saying, "Woman, I know Him not." After a little while he was accused again and denied Jesus. One hour later another said, "This fellow also was with Him." Peter said, "Man, I know not what thou sayest." And immediately, while he was speaking, the cock crew.
The Lord turned and looked on Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice. And Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus was mocked by the men who held Him. Having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, "Prophesy, who is it that smote Thee?"
In the morning Jesus was led to the council. They said, "Art Thou the Christ? tell us." He answered, "If I tell you, ye will not believe: and if I also ask you, ye will not answer Me, nor let Me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art Thou then the Son of God? and He said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of His own mouth."

Trial and Crucifixion

Luke 23
Pilate asked, "Art Thou the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Thou sayest it." Pilate found no fault in Jesus, who was accused of stirring up the people, from Galilee to Jerusalem.
Having found that Jesus was from Galilee, he sent Him to Herod, who was at Jerusalem at that time. When Jesus came to Herod, the king asked Him many questions, but Jesus did not answer. Jesus was continually accused by the chief priests and scribes. Herod's soldiers mocked Jesus, arraying Him in a gorgeous robe. Then they sent Him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends at this time, having been at enmity before.
Having examined Jesus, Pilate called the leaders of Israel together and said, I find no fault in Him, nor has Herod. Pilate reasoned with them, but they cried out, "Crucify Him." They insisted until Pilate gave sentence to crucify Jesus and release Barabbas.
The cross was laid on Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming out of the country, so he could bear it after Jesus. To the women who wailed over Him He said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say... to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" (See Hos. 10:8.)
Jesus said, "Father, forgive them [the Jews]; for they know not what they do." They parted Jesus' raiment and cast lots for it. The rulers and the people derided Him, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself." The soldiers also mocked Him, repeating what the rulers had said. The superscription which was written over Jesus on the cross was, "This is the King of the Jews," and it was written in Greek, Latin and Hebrew.
Two Thieves
Two thieves were crucified at the same time. One of them railed on Jesus, saying what the rulers had said, "If Thou be the Christ, save Thyself and us." The other thief rebuked him, saying, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss." To Jesus he said, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." And Jesus said to him, "Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with Me in paradise."
Could it be that it takes some of us a lifetime to learn what a condemned, crucified thief learned beside Jesus while hanging on a cross? What did he learn?
1. That he feared God;
2. That he was condemned to die;
3. That his condemnation was just;
4. That this man has done nothing wrong;
5. That Christ Jesus is Lord;
6. That Jesus has a kingdom;
7. That he will be with Jesus in paradise.
The sixth hour came, and darkness covered the earth until the ninth hour. The sun was darkened and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit." Having said this, He gave up the ghost.
Seeing what was done, the centurion glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous man." The women and acquaintances stood afar off, watching these things.
There was a counselor named Joseph, a good and just man, who was not consenting to the council and deed of the other leaders. He was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews, and he had waited for the kingdom of God. Begging of Pilate the body of Jesus, he took it down, wrapped it in linen and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, in which no man ever before was laid. The sabbath was about to begin. The women who followed him beheld the sepulcher and how His body was laid. Returning to their homes, they prepared spices and rested on the sabbath day.

Resurrection

Luke 24
Early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women came to the sepulcher bringing the spices pre-pared before. Others came with them. The stone had been rolled away from the tomb, and entering in they found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
Suddenly two men stood by them in shining garments. They were afraid and were asked, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: Remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered His words."
Returning from the tomb, they (Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women who had been with Him) told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. But the apostles did not believe them. Peter ran to and entered the sepulcher. As he stooped down he saw the linen clothes laid by themselves. Departing, he wondered at these things.
This last chapter of Luke gives us a sense of what heaven will be like. Two were walking with Jesus on the road, while their hearts burned within them as He opened to them the Scriptures. Angels spoke to them of the resurrection. The heavenly family was gathered together as Jesus appeared in blessing to them. Jesus opened the mind and counsels of God to His disciples. Jesus ate a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb in His glorified body. Jesus opened their understanding. What a day when we shall Imow as we are known.
Two Go to Emmaus
As two of the followers of Jesus went from Jerusalem, on the way to Emmaus, they talked together of all that had happened. Jesus drew near, but they did not know Him. While He went with them, their eyes were blinded that they did not know Him.
Jesus asked the manner of the things that they had been speaking together about as they walked together and were sad. Cleopas answered, Are you only a stranger in Jerusalem, and have you not known the things which have happened here in these days? Jesus said to them, What things? They answered, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how He has been crucified. But we had trusted that He would be the one to redeem Israel. This is the third day since these things were done. Certain women also brought the report of His having risen.
Then Jesus said to them, O senseless and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken. "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?" Then from the Scriptures He expounded the things concerning Himself.
As they drew near to Emmaus, Jesus made as though He would go further, but they said, "Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent." So He tarried with them.
While He sat at meat with them, He took bread and blessed it; He broke it and gave it to them. Their eyes being opened, they knew Him and He vanished out of their sight. They reminisced, saying, "Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?"
Arising, they returned to Jerusalem the same hour, "and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in breaking of bread." While they were speaking, Jesus came, saying, "Peace be unto you."
Being frightened, they supposed that they had seen a spirit, and Jesus said, Why are you troubled? Why the thoughts in your hearts? "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have." When Jesus finished speaking, He showed to them His hands and feet.
Jesus Ate With Them
While they were thrilled with joy, Jesus said, Do you have any meat? They gave Him a honeycomb and broiled fish. Jesus took them and ate before them. Jesus told them that the prophets' words must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms concerning Him.
Following this, Jesus opened their understanding to understand the Scriptures. And He said, 'Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things." I will send My Father's promise upon you, and you will tarry in Jerusalem until you are filled with power from on high.
He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. Having blessed them, He was carried up into heaven. Worshipping Him, they returned with great joy to Jerusalem, where they were in the temple continually blessing and praising God.
Openness in Luke
There are often expressions of openness in Luke. In this last chapter there are five: Opened sepulcher; Opened eyes;
Opened Scriptures;
Opened understanding;
Opened heaven.
Bethany
When Jesus went about in His ministry, He often visited Bethany at the Mount of Olives. We are told that Jesus loved Lazarus, Martha and Mary. Mary sat at His feet to learn His Person and His Word. Martha prepared food and saw that Jesus was in comfort while with them. Often His disciples were with Him when at Beth-any.
When in Jerusalem, Jesus retired to Bethany in the evening, rather than staying in Jerusalem. There was no other place on earth quite the same. Jesus felt at home in Bethany, and Bethany must have meant much to Jesus. Is it not a picture of the assembly?
When He left this world, He led His disciples out as far as Bethany. He could take them no farther then. Think of what memories of Bethany filled His heart.
As He was carried away into heaven, He blessed the little heavenly family with a promise of His return. "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven." Acts 1:11. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet. The next time that He appears to the remnant of Israel it will be at the mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4).

The Gospel of John: Jesus the Divine Son of God

The order and character of John's gospel (glad tidings) are not the same as in the three synoptic gospels that precede it, in that it carries us back in our minds to before there was any beginning. There seems to be a progression of teaching in the four gospels in their present order. Jesus Christ has annulled death and has brought life and incorruptibility to light by the glad tidings (2 Tim. 1:10 JND).
Matthew takes us back to Abraham and David. He teaches about the King and the kingdom of the Old Testament for the nation of Israel and about the kingdom of the heavens, a new order on earth during the absence of the King for the present interval of two thousand years.
Mark sets forth the holy Servant, Son of God who taught His disciples to serve and who appointed to every man his work. Also, we see the prophet character of the Lord Jesus in setting forth a great deal of ministry. The kingdom of God is in view, but man is still under law until the death and resurrection of Christ is accomplished.
Luke calls our attention to Genesis where man's sin began, while setting before us the final character of the kingdom of God-righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is a vast, moral kingdom with Christ as the Son of man at its head.
John gives us, besides the kingdom of God, the full truth of life and incorruptibility, which is for believers today who receive Jesus by faith. Also, he presents what characterizes the kingdom of God forever, for Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life."
Thus we have in Matthew, the King; in Mark, the Son of God, the Servant and Prophet; in Luke, the Son of man; and, in John, the Divine Person, the Son of God.
In John, unlike Mark, the itinerary of the Lord is not prominent, but, rather, we see the Lord much alone with souls, entering into their needs while setting forth heavenly things. The first three chapters are introductory. Christ's ministry begins in chapter four, after John is in prison.

Before the Beginning

John 1
Before any beginning was the "Word." He was with God; He was God. The Word being with God shows two persons-God and the Word. "The Word was God" shows the Word to be a distinct Person. In verse 33 we read of the Holy Spirit. Thus we apprehend that there are three Persons of the Godhead-the Trinity. All of God's works and ways involve the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
There has always been joy and bliss in heaven, the place of eternal happiness for the Godhead. Because of the work of Christ on the cross fulfilling God's counsels, this joy and bliss will be for all of the redeemed, when in heaven.
The book of Proverbs enlightens us as to this happy condition in the heavens-the love between the Father and the Son (Prov. 8:30). Also, it speaks of the delights of the eternal Son anticipating the creation of man: "Rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth; and My delights were with the sons of men."
We learn in Psa. 40:7-9 of the counsels of God in regard to the Son of God becoming a man, to manifest in His body and life on earth the traits which should have been true of us-dependence and obedience for the glory of God-and also to redeem those who were far off from God, by His sacrifice on the cross (John 12:28). Never before were these traits seen in man. What delight must have been the Father's to see His Son fulfill these counsels.
In Jesus, God has come forth from His essential fullness to manifest all that He is in order to bring back into the enjoyment of that fullness, the children of God, who, as born of God, have been made partakers of the Divine nature, being made capable of apprehending and enjoying His counsels and Himself.
All blessings rest on the finished work of Christ; God thereby has revealed His love in the fullest measure possible. This gospel begins with the glory of Christ, the Word, before creation, and ends in His glory in redemption. Christ in His Person as man is the expression of the entire mind of God.
Creation
The one who existed before the beginning-the eternal Son of God-is the Creator. "All things received being through Him" (JND). "By faith we apprehend that the worlds were framed by (the] word of God, so that that which is seen should not take its origin from things which appear." Heb. 11:3 JnD.
"Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honor and majesty: who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds His chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: who maketh His angels spirits; His ministers a flaming fire: who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever." Psa. 104:1-5.
The universe is measureless, beyond our capacity to realize its vast expanse, and the emptiness between heavenly bodies. In the midst of it all is the tiny speck called "earth," and man who inhabits a small part of this tiny speck of God's vast creation. Yet all of God's eternal counsels concerning Christ as man are unfolding and will yet be unfolded on the earth, until in heaven He becomes our eternal portion according to the exceeding riches of God's grace.
Man has been slow to acknowledge that the Son of God, the Creator, came down to earth to dwell among men, and more, that He will remain a man among men forever. He was not given the title, Son of man; He takes it for Himself, because His delights are with the sons of men.
Life and Light
Life is intrinsic in the Son. Life, which belongs to Him, He gives to others, becoming the light of men. The Light appeared in darkness (man's moral condition), but it was not apprehended by man. The Creator, the Light, was not recognized in the world. Israel did not recognize their Creator.
John the Baptist was sent of God to bear witness to the Light in order that all men might believe through him. Every man is lightened by the true Light coming into the world. This does not mean that every man is enlightened, but that the Light is there for him to be enlightened by. Faith, coming in grace, brings this enlightenment. 'Through faith we understand."
He gave the right to be children of God to all who received Him. Such were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. God's creature, man, has always been expected to walk in dependence and obedience. Adam and his descendants have failed to walk in this way to this day. Jesus, as man, always walked in dependence and obedience, following the precepts of the Word of God.
Man’s Spirit—God’s Spirit
The fish which live in the ocean, by a given sense in their nature, follow a path which they never leave (Psa. 8:8). There are no outward physical marks to guide them. They are guided by a sensor which is inherent in their nature. They have no moral relationship with God as man does.
Man's connection with God is a divinely-given sensor (man's spirit), which causes him to respond in dependence and obedience in love, if he has been given a divine nature. God has given us His Word, so that we may know His will and be obedient to it.
Since man has sinned, he has been given a conscience. By it, he realizes that if he is not walking in obedience and dependence, he is out of the path that the sensor reminds him of. By it, he is reminded of the consequences of disobedience spoken of in God's Word.
In the spiritual sea of life we find our way by a divinely-given sensor-our spirit responding to God's Spirit, by keeping God's Word.
The Word Becomes Flesh
We have read of what the Son of God is in His Godhead and creatorial glory. Now we shall inquire as to what He became-God was manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16).
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we have contemplated His glory, a glory as of an only-begotten with a Father), full of grace and truth" (JND). Scripture speaks of Jesus, as the only begotten, becoming a man (Psa. 2; Heb. 1:5). Being manifest in the flesh, He has come down from heaven to be man in nature (the same Person as He always was in heaven) to dwell among men on earth.
John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus, said, "This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me; for He was before me." In a moral sense, Jesus was before John; physically, John was six months older. Because of His Person, Jesus was preferred before John. Jesus was always God; "He came." John had no former existence; Jesus had.
HIS Fullness If We Are Believers, We Have Received of His Fullness, Grace Heaped Upon Grace. His Fullness Is an Expression of What God Is, All That God Is in Man's Nature in Jesus—the Source of All Blessing.
By giving man a new nature (born of God) and by his being made a child of God, he is brought into the family of God. This is grace which displays the heart of God.
The Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, reveals the Father as known by Himself in that position. First there is fullness, then relationship. "The Word become flesh is the full expression of God, adapted, by taking man's own nature, to all that is in man, to meet every human need, and all the capacity of the new nature in man to enjoy the expression of all in which God is suited to him." This is more than light, which being pure, shows all things in their true character; it is the expression of what God is, and God in grace and as a source of blessing. Angels do not have these things, but desire to look into them (Eph. 3:10; 1 Peter 1:12; Acts 17:24-29).
We have received what we needed-grace upon grace, the favor of God abundantly, divine blessings (the fruits of His love) heaped one upon another (Eph. 1).
Grace and Truth
God has been revealed to man in the Son who is in the bosom of the Father. This is surpassing grace. Moses gave the law, but grace and truth have come by Jesus Christ. The law is holy, spiritual and good, but it is not the full truth, which has come by Jesus Christ.
"God is true. Christ is the truth who reveals what is true. The knowledge of God is the revelation of God to the soul that is in the new nature and is the spring of all acquaintance with truth."
The law requires from man what he ought to be. Truth in Christ shows what man is. The only way in which man has seen or will see God is in the Person of Jesus who has become man. It is by Christ that we have truth, all of it. Truth is not only declared, it is come in man-the Son of God. Grace is love revealed to sinners.
The true relation of God with all things is shown in Christ. Truth is received as facts, but also in Christ. In coming into the world Christ brings out the truth as to what God is, what man is, what man should be, what the world is, who its prince is. It is only in Christ that we discern truth. "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Everything takes its true place, its true character in every respect as we see it in Christ.
John’s Witness of Jesus to the Pharisees
To the Pharisees who asked him who he was, John the Baptist confessed, "I am not the Christ," and "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias." (See Isa. 40:3.) They asked why he baptized, not being the Christ or a prophet. John said he baptized with water, and the One coming after him, preferred before him, baptized with the Holy Spirit. He said, I am not worthy to unloose His shoe latchet.
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!"
It will be amazing to see a world from which all sin has been removed. Such will be the eternal state. The groundwork is finished as a result of the death of the Lamb of God. In that coming display, all will be of God.
The Lamb of God, by His sacrifice on the cross, restores the foundations of the world's relationship with God. Then comes the eternal bliss-a new heaven and a new earth. There will be no sins to be confessed then. It will be the result of the work of another-the Lamb of God on the cross, who takes away forever the sin of the world from the eye of God. God is holy; He cannot look on sin.
Until the Lord Jesus came to be baptized, John had never seen Christ. Then God gave John a testimony as to who Jesus was: "Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." John bare record that this was the Son of God.
The Lamb of God
As John stood with his disciples, looking on Jesus as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!" Thus John introduced Jesus to his own disciples. John confessed later, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Two of John's disciples, hearing this, followed Jesus. Jesus asked, "What seek ye?" They answered, "Master... where dwellest Thou?"
The picture here is beautiful-a glimpse of the present day for the believer. Jesus said, "Come and see." We are invited now by faith to come and see. Could this, "Master... where dwellest Thou" and "Come and see," be a picture of the occupation of the saints on the earth in the interval of these two thousand years?
What would it be like to be alone for a day with a divine Person who loved you and came to do you good spiritually? This is communion. We have the indwelling of the Spirit who brings before us Jesus and where He dwelt in the Father's bosom.
How good when formalities are laid aside and we with Mary of Bethany sit at Jesus' feet to learn where He dwells. We need to use the present time to prepare, to learn something of the Father's house and what is proper behavior for it, as we gaze by faith on the Lamb of God. They abode with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour (10:00 a.m.).
The Day Following
There are two days in chapter one-one day of John's ministry, and one day of Christ's ministry.
Andrew, having found his brother Simon, said to him; "We have found the Messias," and he brought him to Jesus. This act of Andrew's had a far-reaching effect, like a ripple on the waters that reaches the farthest shore. Who can tell of the results of this work of Andrew in bringing his brother to Jesus? Andrew was not prominent, but he could tell Jesus about a lad who had a lunch that Jesus used to feed thousands (John 6:8,9). Peter was prominent. Tell if you can which was the more important-bringing one soul to Jesus? or preaching to myriads. Does not God look on the heart?
To be in the place that He has appointed us and at the right time is our privilege and responsibility.
Jesus, seeing Peter, said, "Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone." Grace would reveal at the very start, the permanent character and position of one who believes in Jesus and is called to follow Him.
The Church is being built of living stones. "To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priest-hood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 2:4,5. These things were writ-ten by Peter after the Lord had ascended to heaven.
Jesus in Galilee
On the day following, Jesus found Philip and said, "Follow Me." He, as well as the brothers Peter and Andrew, lived in Bethsaida. Philip found Nathanael, saying to him, "We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."
How refreshing to observe the joy of both Andrew and Philip as they say, "We have found Him." Surely they were entitled to this joy, because the Holy Spirit had wrought in their hearts. Added to the joy of finding their Messiah, there was a greater joy to know that Jesus came from heaven, became a man and found both Andrew and Philip. Since then Jesus has found many others. For this we praise His name.
Nathanael inquired, "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Philip answered, "Come and see." Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him and said of him, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!" This was because Jesus was calling him, giving him a new nature, and he represented the remnant of Israel in a coming day when Jesus comes again.
Nathanael inquired, "Whence knowest Thou me?" Jesus said to him, "Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee." Nathanael answered, "Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel." Jesus said, "Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, Believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these.... Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."
For the Lord Jesus to identify Himself with men and take a nature lower than angels was the result of amazing grace heaped on man (Heb. 2:16). But for angels, in a higher race than man, to minister to a man, this too is beyond our comprehension. It must be believed, not reasoned about.
Jesus, who has become the center for gathering, furnishes the path as well. Christ in His Person as man is the glorious Head over all, whom angels, the highest of creatures, serve.

The Marriage in Cana of Galilee

John 2
Jesus and His disciples were called to the marriage in Cana of Galilee. There the mother of Jesus told Him that they had no wine. Before His ministry began, Jesus separated from His family for His ministry, but otherwise he continued in His family ties. When the time of His ministry was over, He again recognized His mother (John 19:25-27). Here is a picture of Jesus severing His natural ties with Israel; His mother represented Israel. Jesus' mother instructed the servants to do what He would tell them to do.
There were two waterpots of stone there, permanent vessels for purifying. They were of different capacity, two or three measures apiece. The servants were instructed to fill the waterpots with water, which they did to the brim. The pots represent the Jews coming into blessing in the millennial day, first purified by new birth and each having his own capacity for "water"-the Word of God.
As they bear the water from the pots to the governor of the feast, the water was made wine (joy). The millennial day will be characterized by new wine-new joy, never known before (Isa. 25:6-8). The governor did not know where the wine came from (but the servants knew), and he called the bridegroom and said, "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now."
The Lord began His miracles in Cana of Galilee and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed on Him.
Capernaum
Jesus went down to Capernaum, which was to be His own city, and continued there with His mother and disciples many days.
At the time of the Jews' Passover, Jesus cleansed the temple, casting out the merchants with their merchandise, using a scourge of small cords, saying, "Take these things hence; make not My Father's house a house of merchandise." Here the authority of Jesus is seen as Son of man, also the Son of the Father, as well as Lord over God's house. 'The zeal of Thine house hath eaten Me up." Psa. 69:9.
The Jews ask for a sign that would show His right to cleanse the temple. Jesus answered, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Jesus spoke of the temple of His body-His crucifixion and resurrection. The disciples remembered this after His resurrection and believed. Jesus did not commit Himself to them, knowing what was in man.

Nicodemus

John 3
Certain things qualify us for entrance into the kingdom of God-the work done for us at the cross by our blessed Savior, and the work done in us by the Holy Spirit. Chapters 3 and 4 bring together two illustrations of this work.
In chapter 3 Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus by night because he was interested in Jesus, but he was afraid to be with Him openly. He owned Jesus as a teacher. He, being a ruler of the Jews and having observed all of the fundamental righteous requirements of the law, was not satisfied; he did not know God or himself. All that he could see of himself was a model of behavior for those who followed the law.
Religiously, he was at the top of the ladder, like the Apostle Paul was before he was saved. This is also true of a believer-if we do not know ourselves we cannot grow. Only as we repent do we learn ourselves. In no way could one in such a condition as Nicodemus be saved, because first he must come down to the bottom to know himself in the eyes of God as a wretched sinner.
It was different with the woman at Sychar's well in chapter 4. Being already at the bottom, she learned quickly. It took Nicodemus three-and-a-half years (John 19:39) to come to this point after learning of Jesus.
Nicodemus was an unsaved sinner, but like Job, seemed outwardly righteous. Day by day he remained the same sinner that he always was. He owned Jesus as a teacher, and Jesus told him that man cannot be taught spiritual things unless there is a new life.
It is not enough to hide our sins from men, we must learn that God sees all that we do and that we can hide nothing from Him. As soon as we learn this and repent of each sin before God, we begin to live "soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." We cannot go on in communion with sins unjudged. How sweet to be conscious daily that all of our sins are forgiven, even those that we may have committed today. Each time I repent I learn more of myself and Christ.
Man must be born of water-the application of the Word to his conscience. This is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit of God within, which makes us discover our need of Christ, being destitute in ourselves. With-out this there is no entering into the kingdom of God.
If we are only born of the flesh-natural lives-we are still flesh, even though we outwardly observe all religious requirements. If born of the Spirit, one is born of God, with a new life.
New life is not only for Israel, for God goes over the wall of separation to the Gentiles. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." The Gentiles came into blessing as stated here.
Nicodemus asks, "How can these things be?" Jesus answers, Are you a master of Israel and know not these things? What We have spoken We know, Nicodemus, but you do not receive what We tell you.
To teach the flesh is useless; there must be new birth. Christ, the truth, reveals what is in man. The testimony is sufficient, the conscience is reached, the need realized. Nicodemus saw the truth in Jesus and desired it.
New Birth
Jesus said to Nicodemus, How can you believe what I tell you of heavenly things, if you do not believe earthly things (new birth)?
The Son of man who came down from heaven is still in heaven. The Son of man must be lifted up on the cross. The serpent of brass that Moses lifted up in the wilderness for snake-bitten souls is a picture of Christ's being lifted up on the cross between heaven and earth for sinners. Those who believe on Him will never perish, but have life eternal. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
The purpose of Christ's coming into the world was not to condemn the world, but to save it. It is not that man cannot come and be saved, but that he loves darkness rather than light. Doing evil, one hates the light, but doing truth, one comes to the light that his deeds might be seen in the light, having been wrought in God.
John the Baptist at Work
John was baptizing in Ænon near Salem, because the place had much water. Some came and were baptized. John had not yet been cast into prison.
Questions arose between John's disciples and the Jews about purification. They said that Jesus also baptized. John said that man can receive only that which comes from heaven in the way of service. John the Baptist confesses again that he is not the Christ; he is only His forerunner. He said, I am a friend of the Bridegroom and rejoice only to hear His voice, thereby my joy is fulfilled. Jesus must increase, I must decrease. Being from above, Jesus is above all. "He that cometh from heaven is above all. And what He hath seen and heard, that He testifieth; and no man receiveth His testimony."
One who receives His testimony receives Him as the Son of God. God does not give the Spirit by measure. All things are committed into the hands of the Son, because He loves His Son. By believing on the Son, one has eternal life. But by not believing, one shall not see life, but rather can expect the wrath of God, which already abides upon him.
John's ministry comes first; Jesus' ministry follows, when John is put into prison.

Happy Days at Sychar: Jesus' Ministry Begins

John 4
Jesus departed from Judea, being rejected because of the Jews' jealousy regarding baptism. Beginning His ministry with divine grace before Him, it seemed imperative that He go through Samaria. Here we see the whole range of grace opened to us, flowing through Jesus, as coming from the Father.
He came to Sychar, near a parcel of ground that Joseph received of his father Jacob, where Jacob's well was. "Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow" (Gen. 48:22), "and he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hands of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred pieces of money." Gen. 33:19.
The first portion that Jacob gave was the whole land of promise to Israel, this earth and its many blessings. (See Gen. 49.) The one portion that Joseph was promised above his brethren is found in Gen. 48:22; it is Shechem.
Jesus is the true Joseph and came to claim that portion at Shechem-at Sychar's well. This is the heavenly portion that the Father gave to Jesus-the Church, of which the Samaritan woman at Sychar's well is a picture. In Eph. 1 we have the double portion, the one above that of Israel.
All who were not true Israelites were heathen, so the Samaritan woman was an outcast. There are only three classes of people on the earth: the Jew, the Gentile (heathen) and the Church of God. One who is not of the Church of God, or of Judea, a Jew, is a heathen. We heathen Gentiles are to be Christ's inheritance in heaven in that coming day (Psa. 2:8; Eph. 1:11).
About six o'clock in the evening (our time), just before the coming day (the beginning of Christ's ministry and the day of grace), Jesus, being weary with His journey and thirsty, sat on Sychar's well. He had no means to quench His thirst. A Samaritan woman came to draw water. This was not the usual time for women to be at the well. Jesus needed water to allay His thirst; the woman needed the water of life to allay her spiritual thirst. Here they met, the woman with the means to give water to Jesus, the Savior with the water of life for the Samaritan woman.
Perhaps, because of her deep sin, she felt rejected and came to the well to be alone while she drew water: Jesus was rejected too.
Jesus said unto her, "Give Me to drink." The disciples had left Him to go and buy meat. Jesus was rejected by Israel, but the stream of grace flowed on to find entrance elsewhere. Grace, like water, is a necessity for man, or he will perish forever.
In Israel, the love of Christ was grieved when it could not act on the object (Israel) that He loved. Jesus was now alone with a friendless woman.
Jesus was often alone with souls, healing and teaching, but this is different. He has come to claim the "one portion above [His] brethren" that His Father had taken out of the hand of the Amorite (Satan), with His sword and with His bow.
Would Jesus seek His eternal companion from among sinners? Would His Father give Him such a portion? Sins like crimson? Yes. Such is divine grace, beyond human comprehension. "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I
should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." Eph. 3:8. Where else would God the Father look for a bride for Christ? He has passed angels by. The elect angels cannot sing praises for sins for-given. They have not sinned. There is no forgiveness for angels who have sinned.
Christ has taken man's nature to be able as man to destroy Satan who held the power of death over sinful man (Heb. 2:14-16). "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Sin is unbearable to the eye of God. It matters not whether it be one sin or many. 'The sinner is condemned except for the grace of Jesus.
Time that we (like this women) have spent alone with Jesus is rich for our souls; it is time to know our guilt and His grace.
Living Water
The woman said, You are a Jew. You have no dealings with a Samaritan, yet You ask me for a drink? Jesus said, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give Me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water." Jesus is the gift of God.
The woman was puzzled, because the well was deep, and He seemingly had no means to draw water from it. She asked, "Art Thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well?" Jesus answered, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."
The woman, having a sense of need in her soul, asked for this water of life, having access only to a well of natural water. Jesus said, "Go, call thy husband."
Conscience is the means of not only learning truth, but also of learning ourselves. Jesus touched the con-science and heartstrings of the woman (conversion of heart is seen in John's gospel) with a sense of His grace flooding her soul. At the same time she looked back over her wicked life, wasted and without fruit for God, knowing that her sins were great. Still, she had a sense of peace where there otherwise could be no peace, grace having come in the Person of Jesus. This is God's love in Jesus, reaching down to rescue His depraved creature from an eternal hell. Her sins must be taken away or she would be lost.
With a stirring in her conscience, but with a sense of His grace and not understanding why, she answers, "I have no husband." Jesus tells her that she had had five husbands, and the one that she now had was not her husband. The woman said, "Thou art a prophet." Having much to learn, she is in the presence of One who knows all and is, Himself alone, the truth. The woman found herself in a new position.
We are surrounded with the blessings that Christianity outwardly supplies. So we may not feel the position that the woman was entering into-from an appalling life of degradation into the realm of sovereign grace and deliverance from the so great death that her sins deserved.
She was alone with the One who judges the quick (living) and the dead, yet she was not under condemnation, but grace. This inspires her confidence, although she does not as yet know who Jesus is. She was not alarmed in His presence; she trusted Him, not knowing why. Her soul had been brought back to God in peace.
Worship
The subject of worship came up. Being estranged from Israel, this mixed multitude of Jews and heathen, having given up idols, set up worship in Mount Gerizim. She said, "Ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus answered, 'The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." She said she knew that Messias would come, called Christ, who would make known all things. Jesus said, "I that speak unto thee am He."
As the disciples returned, they marveled that He talked with the woman of Samaria.
Leaving her waterpot, she now had found a new Object. Entering the city she called to the men, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" The men of the city came out to Him.
Having bought food, the disciples asked Jesus to eat. He answered, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of." They did not understand. It was not only that Jesus came to do the Father's will, but that His will was Jesus' life, dispensing life and health where needed. This was His joy to see souls taken out of darkness into light.
The One who had been rejected by Israel had been received by a Samaritan woman. Her thoughts of Jesus and His grace took away all the bitterness of her past sins. Since His goodness had produced honesty in her soul, she did not hide her sin.
You need not wait four months, Jesus told His disciples. If you would look up, you would see the fields white to harvest now. The Old Testament prophets have sown and nurtured the seed; now the disciples gather the fruit. The Old Testament sets forth God's government. This, through exercise of soul, prepares each to hear the gospel. Some receive it and some reject it. It is those who receive it that Jesus speaks of as being white to harvest. The one who reaps receives wages, gathering fruit unto eternal life. Then both the one who sows and the one who reaps may rejoice together.
Some of the people believed because of the woman's testimony. Many more believed, having heard Him themselves as He remained with them for two days. They owned that He was the Christ, the Savior of the world.
In this chapter we have an overall picture of the working of grace. The humility of grace breaks down barriers. The woman is in the presence of God in Jesus who searches her heart. She discovers a new relationship. The conscience is the door to understanding. There has been a thorough change, a whole range of grace opened to one whose conscience was searched. Only by grace, flowing from Christ, does the individual, knowing God in Christ, worship the Father in spirit and in truth. This worship is not confined to a set time on Lord's Day, but should be a constant, daily thing with each believer. Judaism is no more, to one who knows Christ in grace.
Return to Galilee
After two days, Jesus returned to Galilee and the people received Him, having seen Him at the feast. At Cana a nobleman besought Jesus to heal His son who was at the point of death. The Lord said, "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe."
Here we have a principle that we need to notice. Unless we, by faith, break through Satan's barriers, which he sets at such a time as this when the soul is in the presence of Jesus, there will not be fruit.
The nobleman answered, "Sir, come down ere my child die." Jesus said, "Go thy way; thy son liveth." He believed, his servants having confirmed it, and his whole house believed.
In this chapter grace blossoms out to all: to the Samaritan women first, but then to the nobleman of Israel in the healing of his son. The Lord had left the nation of Israel, because He was rejected, but He continues to bless all, whoever they may be, Jew or Gen-tile, rich or poor.

House of Mercy

John 5
We have, in this chapter, the quickening power of Christ in giving life to the dead, in contrast to the legal ordinance of the law.
The law required strength on the part of the person in order to benefit from the angel's visit at the pool. By contrast, Christ brought with Him the power to quicken and heal. Many sick were at the pool of Bethesda, waiting for an angel to move the waters. The first person to step into the waters that were moved by the angel was healed of his plague.
At the pool, Jesus saw a man lying on one of the porches, and, knowing that he had been sick a long time, He asked, "Wilt thou be made whole?" The man had the will and desire to be healed, but no strength. He answered, There is no man to help me; before I can reach the pool another steppeth down ahead of me. Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk." Being made whole, he took up his bed and walked. One word from Jesus was enough. It was the Sabbath day.
The Jews said to the impotent man who was healed, You carry your bed unlawfully on the Sabbath. He answered, "He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk." They ask who it was that said this to him. He did not know, Jesus having disappeared among the large company of people.
Later Jesus found him and said, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." The man told the Jews who it was that made him whole. Because He had violated the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted and sought to slay Jesus. His answer to them was, "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work."
The Jews were enraged that Jesus would call God His Father, making Himself equal with God. Jesus said, The Son can only do what He sees the Father do. He loves the Son, showing Him what He Himself does, and greater, marvelous things He will do.
All Judgment Is Committed to the Son
The Father raises the dead; also the Son raises and quickens whomsoever He will. All judgment is committed to the Son.
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." The Son must be honored as the Father is honored. If the Son is not honored, neither is the Father. The Son is in full union with the Father.
"The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." Having "life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.... For the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."
It might seem to some that both groups-those who have done good and those who have done evil-are judged at the same time, or that both resurrections occur at the same time. This is far from the truth. There is at least one thousand years between the resurrection of those who have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
Those who had done good are believers. None are good in themselves-all have sinned. Doing good, in connection with Christianity, is to believe on the One whom the Father has sent, Jesus our Savior and Redeemer. Such, having been saved, with their sins being washed away in the blood of Christ, will be raptured to heaven just before the judgments that usher in the millennium.
The ones who have done evil, rejecting Christ or the testimony given to them from God, will remain in their graves for the one thousand years before being judged finally for their sins.
Two hours are spoken of here in relation to judgment and the hereafter. Those who belong to the first hour, verse 25, will have part in the first resurrection. Those who belong to the second hour, verse 28, will have their part in the resurrection of damnation (condemnation).
There is no uncertain destiny spoken of here. It is not judgment which determines our eternal destiny, but rather it is the end result of the condition of the unbelievers who reject Christ as their personal Savior. The Lord quickens those who believe, and this determines their destiny with Christ. He not only quickens souls to believe, but also raises the dead. His sovereign power quickens whom He will.
The kingdom and the judgment belong to Christ. "Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead." Acts 17:31.
Man will be judged by the man, Christ Jesus, who is God as well. When the unbelievers stand before their Judge, they might want to say (although we know from Scripture they will be speechless) to the judge, You are God and cannot know how we live, because You do not have our nature. But they will surely know that the Judge on the great white throne is the man, Jesus, who has taken man's nature, and judges man in that nature. The judgment itself is the judgment of God, because Jesus is God.
There are four witnesses given in this chapter:
Verse 33, John the Baptist;
Verse 36, the works of Christ;
Verse 37, the Father;
Verse 39, the Scriptures.
In spite of these witnesses, the Jews would not believe in Jesus. They would not come to Jesus for life. Alas! this is also true of Gentiles. "I am come in My Father's name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive." Seeking the honor given by one to another, and not the honor of God only, you cannot believe. I do not accuse you, but Moses does. "Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me." The Jews did not give credit to the inspired writings of Moses.

Jesus, the Object of Faith

John 6
Jesus went up into a mountain and sat with His disciples. The passover of the Jews was near. A great multitude, having seen the miracles, followed Jesus. Jesus asked Philip, Where shall we buy food so these may eat? This was to prove Philip; the Lord knew what He would do.
Philip estimated that two hundred pennies' worth of bread would not be enough for the people. Andrew said that there was a lad present, who had brought his lunch, but he remarked that the bread and fish he had were nothing compared with what was needed.
Could it be that Andrew, who had brought his brother Simon to Jesus, having seen the miracles that Jesus had already done, believed that the lad's lunch was enough in the hands of Jesus to feed the multitude? Were the disciples, as a whole, slower than we are to believe what Jesus can do? I think not! There were about five thousand men. Jesus asked them to sit on the grass. He gave thanks for the bread and fishes and, through the disciples, distributed to the men who sat on the grass. After the men were filled, twelve baskets of the food that remained were gathered up. On seeing this miracle, the men acknowledged that Jesus was the Prophet that should come.
Seeing that they would make Him King, Jesus departed to the mountain alone. This pictures Christ in heaven interceding as our High Priest.
Three titles have been noticed in this chapter-Prophet, King and Priest.
The evening having come, and Jesus not having returned, the disciples sought to return to Capernaum, on the other side of the sea of Galilee. It was dark and stormy, but when they saw Jesus walking on the sea towards them, they were afraid. But Jesus spoke to them, "It is I; be not afraid." Having received Jesus into their ship, immediately they arrived at their destination. The people, having crossed the sea, also found Jesus and asked, When did You come here? Jesus told them that they sought Him because of the miracles-the feeding of the five thousand and more. He said, "Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed."
They inquired what they might do to do the works of God. He answered, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent."
Manna
Christ is the true Manna for the wilderness. Israel had manna in the wilderness, but Christ, the bread from heaven, was now come. The bread that Moses gave was not from heaven, but the true bread of heaven comes from the Father. Christ, coming down from heaven, is the life given unto the world. Jesus is the Bread of life, which means that He must die. One who receives this Bread of life shall never hunger or thirst.
You do not believe, He told the multitude, but those whom the Father shall give to Christ, come to Christ, and such will never be cast out. Jesus came to only do the will of the Father. In this passage Jesus is not seen as the quickener or the One who Judges and condemns, but as the Bread of life who gives His life for the world. The one who sees the Son and believes on Him shall have life eternal and shall be raised in the last day.
The Jews murmured and did not believe. Jesus told them that only those whom the Father has drawn can come to Him. The Scripture has said that all shall be taught of God. Those who have heard and been taught of the Father will come to Jesus. The one who believes in Jesus has everlasting life. Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus is the living Bread, and one who eats of this bread-His flesh-lives forever. The Jews strove over the saying, but Jesus said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you." Those who eat and drink in this way have resurrection life.
The one who eats Christ's flesh and drinks His blood dwells in Christ, and Christ in him. This means that we should appropriate Christ for ourselves, to make Him, practically, our life down here, to live Christ. It does not mean literal flesh or blood, but to lay hold of what they signify.
Being offended, many said that this was a hard saying. Jesus asked, "Doth this offend you?" What if you should see the Son of man ascend to where He was before? Only the Spirit can quicken; the flesh does not profit.
Some disciples (not the twelve) went back and walked no more with Him. Jesus said to the twelve, "Will ye also go away?" Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered them, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" He spoke of Judas Iscariot.

Feast of Tabernacles

John 7
The feast of tabernacles was to take place after the fruits of the harvest had been gathered in, a time of joy and remembrance of deliverance. At the time when they were celebrating the feast of tabernacles, Jesus was about to go to the cross and die. Jesus, as a result of His work, will show Himself at the last feast of Tabernacles in the time to come, the millennium, when the fruit of the new economy has been gathered in.
At the time of the feast Jesus' brethren had not believed on Him. He told them that His time for the feast of tabernacles had not yet come. The Jews were linked to the world as they kept the feast, for the world does not hate its own. But it hated Jesus because He testified against it. He spoke with them while yet in Galilee.
Jesus' brethren having gone up to the feast, He went also in secret. The Jews sought Him. Jesus taught in the temple during the feast. The Jews wondered how He knew how to teach, having never been educated. Jesus explained that it was not His doctrine, but the Father's that sent Him. He said, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.... He that seeketh His glory that sent Him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him." Moses gave you circumcision, and you circumcise on the sabbath day. Why are you angry with Me because I heal on the sabbath day?
Some said, "Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence He is." As Jesus taught in the temple, He cried, "Ye both know Me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me is true, whom ye know not. But I know Him; for I am from Him, and He hath sent Me."
They would have taken Him, but His hour was not yet come. Having sent men and officers to take Jesus, He said, "Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto Him that sent Me. Ye shall seek Me, and shall not find Me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come."
What an eternity awaits those who reject perfect love and grace! "Light rejected is moral incapacity. Love rejected is hatred." Such is natural man who refuses the light and hates the one who brings it.
The Gift of the Holly Sprit
On the last, the great day of the feast, Jesus cried, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly [inward parts] shall flow rivers of living water." This was said in reference to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Some believed and some did not, so a division arose among them.
Some were sent to take Jesus, but returned, saying, "Never man spake like this man." Nicodemus spoke, saying, "both our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?" They answer, "Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet." They were wrong. See Isa. 9:1-7.

Jesus Teaches in the Temple: His Word Rejected

Jesus went to the mount of Olives for the night. Early the next morning He taught in the temple.
A Woman Taken in Adultery
A woman was brought to Jesus by the Scribes and Pharisees. They accused her of adultery, of being taken in the very act. Jesus wrote on the ground.
Consider the destiny of men whose names are written in the earth, when they could have had their names written in heaven. “O Lord, the hope of Israel, all that forsake Thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from Me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.” Jer. 17:13.
These Jewish leaders brought this woman to Jesus so that they could accuse Him. If He answered that they need not follow Moses any more, they would accuse Him of setting aside the Word of God, for Moses had said to stone such a one. If He said, Yes, stone her, it would nullify His work of grace.
Finally Jesus looked up and said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Being convicted, beginning at the oldest, they went out, one by one. The oldest would have had the most guilt because of more years of sinning.
Jesus asked the woman where her accusers were, and had no man condemned her? She answered, "No man, Lord." Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
Jesus did not alter the Jewish economy here, He only added sovereign grace. Only He could. He does not speak here of eternal life or being born again. Jesus spoke, saying, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
The Pharisees said, You bear witness of Yourself, which is not true. Jesus answered that His record of witness was true, because He knew where He had come from and where He would go to. He said, I bear witness of Myself and the Father bears witness of Me, because He sent Me.
They ask where His Father was. Jesus answered that they knew neither Him nor His Father, saying, "If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also." All this Jesus spoke in the temple, yet no man laid hands on Him, because His time had not come.
Before Abraham Was, I Am
The Pharisees challenged the Person of Jesus, the Father, and Their home. He told them that they could not go where He would go when He left this world. Later they would seek Him and not find Him; they would die in their sins, if they believed not that He was the Christ. He told them that they were from beneath (Satan's realm) but He was from above (the Father's house)-that they were of this world; He was not.
They asked, "Who art Thou?" Jesus said unto them, "Altogether that which I also say to you" (JND). He spoke of the Father as the One who had sent Him, but they did not understand.
Jesus spoke of His death, saying that then they would know that He was the Christ. Many believed, and Jesus said that if they would continue in His Word they really would be His disciples. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
A disciple, a follower of Jesus, learns what He teaches. Such might not be believers in their hearts. Judas was a disciple, but he was not saved.
Jesus spoke of their servitude to Satan, saying, "Verily, verily, I say to you, Every one that practices sin is the bondman of sin" (JND). "And the servant abideth not in the house forever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."
Jesus said, "Ye do the deeds of your father." They answered, "We have one Father, even God." He said, "If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me.... Which of you convinceth Me of sin?... If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death." They said, "Art Thou greater than our father Abraham?" He replied, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad." They said that Jesus was not yet fifty years old, and had He seen Abraham? Jesus said, "Before Abraham was, I am." Then they took up stones to stone Him, but Jesus hid Himself and passed by.

The Pool of Siloam: Christ's Work Rejected

John 9
Seeing a man who was born blind, the disciples asked Jesus whether this man had sinned or his parents. The Jews knew about the present government of God but not the day of judgment. The Lord told them that the blindness was not for the sins of either son or parents, but rather that the works of God should be manifested. As long as Jesus was in the world, He was the light of the world. Since then, the children of God are the reflected light of the world. The Lord here is the Shepherd, and we see how the sheep are separated, one by one, from the old fold and restored to the Shepherd.
Spitting on the ground, He made clay of the spittle and anointed the eyes of the blind man. He was told to wash in the pool of Siloam (which means "sent") and, doing so, he came seeing.
Immediately, the man who had been blind was tested by the neighbors, and the neighbors were tested as well. They said, "Is not this he that sat and begged?" Some said that he was; "he said, I am he." They asked how; he told them about Jesus, how He made clay and anointed his eyes, telling him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. He said that, by doing so, he received his sight. They asked where Jesus was. He said that he did not know.
Next, the blind man was tested by the Pharisees and they were tested as well. They asked how he was healed. He answered Just as he had to the neighbors. The Pharisees were divided as to Jesus. They asked what he would say of Him; he answered, "He is a prophet."
Then, the parents of the man who was blind were tested. "His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: but by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself." The parents feared the Jews, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.
Again the Jews call the blind man, saying, "We know that this man is a sinner." The man who had been blind answered, "Whether He be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see."
Again they asked, "How opened He thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? Will ye also be His disciples?" They said, We know that God spoke by Moses, but we do not know where this man comes from. He answered, "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth. Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, He could do nothing." They said, "Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?" He was cast out.
Having heard this, Jesus found him and said, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" He answered, "Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?" Jesus said, "Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped Him."
Jesus said to the Pharisees, "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." It was very hard for the Pharisees to believe on Jesus. Some did, but if so, it meant that they no longer were in the position of leaders in Israel, but rather outcasts.

The Good Shepherd

John 11
The Spirit of God keeps the door of the sheep. Christ, as serving the Father, enters the door. From now on Christ Himself is seen as the door of the new fold. He gives the authority to leave the old Jewish economy and enter into the new order of salvation-believing on and following the Shepherd, who is Christ. The sheep are familiar with the voice of the Shepherd, and He calls each by his name.
Christ enters by the door. He is the door; He is the Shepherd. He is seen in contrast to all previous shepherds. The sheep, confined to the Old Testament order of the law and the traditions of men, are ready to accept an entirely new order of things-an order which brings, rather than requires (like the law) something of man. Christ, being the door, is the only way of entrance into the new fold. When He presented Himself as the door, the Jews whom the Lord was addressing did not understand His words. The elect of Israel readily accepted salvation full and free. Those who entered in by the door were saved, enjoyed liberty, and fed in good pasture.
The good Shepherd goes before, leading His sheep, who know His voice and follow Him. Someone has said that the Lord does not employ dogs to handle His sheep, but He calls and they follow. They are free in the personal care of the Shepherd. The sheep know the Shepherd, even as He knows them, and even as the Father knew Him when on earth. The sheep do not know the voice of a stranger.
Thieves and robbers preceded Christ as shepherds, but the sheep did not hear them nor follow them. The thief destroys, but the Good Shepherd comes so that the sheep might have life and that abundantly. Christ as the Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep while some make merchandise of the sheep.
When the wolf comes, the hireling flees, because the sheep are not his. This no doubt refers to a coming day when the wolf (the Assyrian) will attack the Jews in their land, while the idol shepherd (the antichrist) flees. The hireling has no interest in the sheep, except to feed himself on them (Ezek. 34:1-10).
But there are other sheep as well as the elect Jews: Gentiles who shall hear the Shepherd's voice. These He shall bring and there shall be one flock and one Shepherd. (See Eph. 3; John 11:49-52; Acts 2.) He refers here to the one body of believers of which Christ, the Shepherd, is the center.
Christ has received a commandment from the Father to lay down His life and take it again. It was not taken from Him, but in love, obedience and dependence He had power to lay it down and take it again.
We see here the governing principles of divine life-love and obedience as well as dependence. There was a special love manifested by Jesus to the Father in laying down His life, although He has always been the delight of the Father's bosom in heaven. With Christ laying down His life as a man, He gives the Father a fresh reason for loving Him. "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.... This commandment have I received of My Father."
Again, there is a division among the Jews. The Shepherd gives His sheep eternal life. This is through His death and resurrection-all depends on this. A common teaching among some who profess to believe is that one can be saved and lost again. The holy Scriptures guard against such inferences by Satan. The believer has double security. First, the Lord said, "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one."
One may say, with an unbelieving heart, "I can pluck myself out of His hand." This is impossible, but be it so, He still says, "I give unto them eternal life." I know nothing that gives security and assurance to a believing sinner who was lost, like this. This is security now and forever; praise His name.
When He said, "I and My Father are one," they took up stones to stone Him, for they said His words were blasphemy.
Jesus went to a place where John first baptized beyond Jordan, where many believed on Him. Thus we have seen the hatred of the Jews towards Christ, because He claimed equality with the Father. They had as a nation rejected Jesus, and He left them. His public ministry was largely over.

Bethany

John 11
In Bethany lived Martha, her sister Mary, and their brother Lazarus. Jesus loved the family and often resorted to their home. Word came that Lazarus was sick. The message to Jesus was, "Behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick."
In the gospel of John, the Lord emphasized the fact that the work that He was doing was for the glory of God. Thus it was in Lazarus's case; the end result was not death. Jesus abode in the same place two days. Then he told His disciples that they would go into Judea again.
More than once the Jews in Judea sought to stone Him. The disciples said, "And goest Thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him." To walk in the day is constant communion. To walk in the night is to be separated in spirit from God-no communion. Christ was in constant communion. The Lord is telling His disciples in parable form that His path was clear as the day. He was in communion with His Father. He knew what He was to do.
Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." Jesus said plainly that Lazarus was dead.
Evil is allowed to go unto death-man in his sins. Here we have a picture of Israel-dead. Christ in dying would be done with sin-He had been made sin. The sick may be healed, but there was no remedy for death. Christ might have healed, but then the truth of resurrection would have been missed.
When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met Him and said to Him, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." Jesus said unto her, "Thy brother shall rise again." Martha said that she knew that he would rise in the last day, the resurrection day.
Resurrection
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" Martha testified that she believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God who was to come.
Martha called her sister, Mary, saying, "The Master is come, and calleth for thee." Martha had faith, but not in His Person. Seeing Jesus, Mary said, "Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." Jesus seeing Mary and the Jews weeping, groaned in the spirit and was troubled. He said, "Where have ye laid him?" Jesus wept. The Jews said, "Behold how He loved him."
In all the perfection that we have seen in Jesus, this is no exception, in that here we see fully the perfect man in deepest sympathy with the family of Lazarus and his friends. Jesus felt the loss of His friend.
We also see that which was deeper. Jesus groaned in the spirit for the awful havoc and consequences of sin. He alone could view the results of Satan's work on mankind. Even with Lazarus, where there was faith, he succumbed to death.
Resurrection delivers from all that death implies. There can be no resurrection without Jesus-He is the resurrection. Christ died to the life in which sin was found, but there was no sin in Him.
We have come out from a life that no longer exists. We live in the life that put an end to death. Death exists no more in His presence. All the effects of sin on man are destroyed; death is annulled.
Groaning, Jesus came to the grave. He said, "Take ye away the stone." Martha said, "He hath been dead four days." Jesus said, "If thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God."
The stone having been taken away, Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me.... I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me." Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." Lazarus came forth, bound with grave clothes. Jesus said unto them, "Loose him, and let him go."
Lazarus is a picture of Israel who will believe in the Son of God at the end. Grave clothes represent what attaches us to earth in a religious way. They are religious ordinances and all were nailed to His cross. In going back to shadows, we are drawn away with enticing words. 'This is the opposite of living on Christ. His presence is power-obedience brings joy, and this is all you need. Creation came from His hand. By Him all things exist. "
Council Gathered to Condemn Jesus
Having gathered together the council of Pharisees and rulers, the chief priests ask, "What do we?" If we let this man alone, all will believe on Him, and the Romans will come and take away our place and nation.
Caiaphas spoke as the last Urim and Thummim and prophesied under compulsion. He said, "It is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not... that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad." From that day they took counsel to put Jesus to death.
Jesus went to the wilderness with His disciples. The Jews sought for Jesus and commanded that anyone who knew where He was should report it. The Jews' passover was nigh at hand.

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

John 12
Jesus came to Bethany six days before the passover. A supper was prepared for Him; Martha served, Lazarus sat at the table with Him, while Mary cheered the heart of Jesus and worshipped as she took costly spikenard and anointed His feet. While wiping His feet with her hair (her glory), the fragrance of the ointment filled the house. Here, with the remnant of faith, Jesus found comfort and rest just before He went to the cross. How His heart was cheered.
Judas Iscariot said that the poor would be better served by selling the costly ointment and giving them the money. But, being a thief and carrying the bag, he really did not care for the poor. Jesus reminded Judas that when He left they would still have the poor with them, but they would not always have Him.
Jesus seized this opportunity to show the reason why Mary poured out the ointment on His feet. He was rejected by all, except Mary and the little remnant. She had done this in anticipation of His death, anointing His body for the burial. Christ valued the ointment-what it signified-more than anything else that was done; Jesus understood Mary's heart. Mary represents the assembly, hidden now, but soon to come forth in all of the splendor of the life of God-eternal life.
The people came to see Lazarus who was raised from the dead. The chief priests consented to putting Lazarus to death, because he was the means of many believing on Jesus.
Celebrating Jesus As King
Jesus asserted His rights to the throne of David before He went to the cross. As the Son of man He will possess all of the kingdoms of the earth. As Zechariah prophesied (Zech. 9:9), Jesus rode on an ass's colt into Jerusalem. The people strewed branches on the way and cried, "Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord." The Pharisees complained, saying, "Behold, the world is gone after Him."
After the raising of Lazarus from the grave, Gentiles were seen coming to worship at the feast. They said to Philip, "Sir, we would see Jesus." Jesus answered, "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified." When Israel by their leaders gave up the way of salvation in Jesus, the Gentiles came in to take their place (Rom. 11:7-11) of blessing, as the result of the death of Christ.
Redemption, although for Jew and Gentile, has a special application to Gentiles. It is the fullness of Christ in all of the work that He has done. The Church is spoken of as the "fullness of Him that filleth all in all." (Eph. 1:7,22,23;4:10.) In Eph. 1:23, the bride is spoken of as the fullness because she was the object of that work-a Gentile bride. This could be the reason for the answer given to the Gentiles by the Lord Jesus, "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified." He never could have that bride unless He would die and be raised and glorified.
At Pentecost the remnant of the Jewish believers formed the Church. Later the Gentiles were brought in. Today the Church has the character of being Gentile. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles.
The work of grace is crowned by Mary's ointment which fills the house as she anoints and wipes His feet with her hair. It is Mary who typified the Church. She sat at Jesus' feet to hear His Word. Next, she poured the ointment on His feet-those blessed feet which brought tidings of grace to the vilest sinner. How the courts of heaven will respond with songs of praise at the marriage of the Lamb.
Martha had faith; she knew much about the Lord. But Mary knew the Person of the Lord. Service is good in its place, but Mary had the good part to sit at His feet. We, the trophies of His grace, will be His companions forever. The Church knows His Person.
What, then, goes with such a full salvation of love and grace? "He that loveth his life shall lose it." If I prefer the present things that belong to the first man, my time in this world will be lost. A wasted life to present to Jesus in response to such grace is hardly in order, but "he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal" would be the proper response to a Savior's love which has rescued us from so great a death.
The one who serves should follow Jesus. His walk through this world is the pattern-we should walk in His steps. "And where I am, there shall also My servant be." This is communion in service. The Father will honor such.
"Save Me From This Hour"
Jesus, in anticipation of being made sin, said, "Father, save Me from this hour." Those two things, that the Father be glorified and that Christ may have a bride, are the reason why Jesus came to this hour. He would not, as a man, abide alone.
The Father's name is glorified in the raising of Lazarus, and is glorified again at the death and resurrection of Jesus. The corn of wheat must die so that there might be much fruit. "Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it." Eph. 5:25. The counsels of God are hereby fulfilled.
The time had come for Satan (the prince of this world) to be cast out. Christ, on the cross, drew all men by His death. The people asked, "Who is this Son of man?"
Jesus, knowing that the people knew, said, "While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light."
There was only one Isaiah, not two as some suppose. Some have divided chapters 1 to 39 from 40 to 66. But in John 12:37-41, we see by inspiration that both passages refer to the one author.
We are given to see the state of Israel during these two thousand years before they will be restored. The remnants say, "How long?"
Many of the chief rulers believed, but loving the praise of men more than the praise of God, they would not publicly own Jesus.
Christ did not come to Judge, but the Word that He taught shall be the Judge in the last day. The Father's commandment is life everlasting.

Preparations for Departure

John 13
The Lord Jesus knew that His hour was come, and His own in the world were on His mind. He loved His own unto the end (to eternity). His dealings with the world were over.
Jesus, with His disciples, had celebrated the pass-over feast. Supper (the common meal) was ended. Satan had put in the mind of Judas to betray Jesus. Jesus was aware of the sin in Judas, but also the glory that lay just ahead for Him. He knew that all things had been given into His hands and that He came from and would return to God.
Rising from supper, He laid aside His garments while He took a towel and girded Himself. Pouring water into a basin, He washed the disciples' feet, wiping them with the towel that He was girded with. Who would have ever thought that God would stoop down and wash the disciples' feet? He did so, first becoming man.
As the Lord came to Peter, he exclaimed, "Lord, dost Thou wash my feet?" The Lord answered Peter, "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." Peter said to Him, "Thou shalt never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me." Peter responds, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." Jesus said, "He that is washed... is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all." He referred to Judas.
Before going away, Jesus made His disciples fit for being where He was in the earthly path. They must be prepared to be with Him to the end. Jesus was still a servant of the Father to the end. The washing here is not by blood, but water. Water speaks of cleansing. Nothing but seeing the humiliation of Christ, can correct our ways. Nothing else could make us know the purity of God. We have to see humiliation in a Person.
The washing of feet completed, Jesus took again His garments and sat down saying, Do you know what I have done to you? Being your Lord and having washed your feet, I have left you an example to wash one another's feet. You need to get down and wash your brother's feet. "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
We have an advocate on high. He is the one who washed His disciples' feet. Now on high, He washes our feet, sometimes using another to do it. We all need this form of correction. Repentance builds Christian character. When first saved, we knew nothing of what was right before God. This we learn along the way. Little by little with our mistakes, having our feet washed (feet suggest our spiritual walk), we learn to repent of our ways. One who resists correction is unfit for service for Christ. Some of us can look back over the years and thank the Lord for washing our feet time after time.
Judas
The Lord knew what was in the heart of each of His disciples and knew that Judas would betray Him. Be-ing troubled in spirit, He said, "One of you shall betray Me." Peter beckoned to John, who lay on Jesus' bosom, to ask Jesus who was the one who would betray Him. Jesus said, "He it is, to whom I shall give a sop." Having dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas. John was near enough to Jesus to receive communications from Him. Jesus had produced a constant affection in the heart of John.
After the sop, Satan entered into Judas. Then Jesus said to him, "That thou doest, do quickly." The disciples did not discern what it was that Jesus told Judas. Judas, having received the sop, went immediately out, and it was night.
Judas will know what "night" means for eternity. How the thought of this makes our hearts shudder. We who have believed will never know, because Jesus has delivered us from so great a death by His death on the cross. We know that night is just the opposite of day. The contrast to eternal night is eternal day and will be known soon, when we shall raise the praises of our Redeemer.
Judas was continually yielding to habitual temptations. First he took no heed to the word spoken daily when with Jesus. Then he stole, and finally came the wicked heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. There was no repentance with Judas until it was too late. (Heb. 3:10-12.)
Satan took possession and entered into Judas, hardening him against all that would make him feel the awful sin that he perpetrated. Despair later spoke the truth to Judas, when Satan's veil was torn away. In Judas we see Satan's full power over man and how it would be with us, if we had not a high priest to guard us against evil and an advocate to restore our souls. Satan's power is seen exercised over the whole world.
The cross settled the question of good and evil forever. A foundation of a new earth and of a new heaven was laid at the cross.
Before departing for Gethsemane, Jesus gave His disciples a new commandment: "That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." He said, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another." When Jesus, the leader, was gone, the disciples, in love, would have to lean on one another.
Peter desired to know where His Lord was going. Jesus told him that he could not follow Him then, but he would afterward. Peter said that he would die with Him. Jesus said, 'The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice." Sincerity alone will do nothing; dependence will. Later, Peter fell at the voice of a maid.

Peace

John 14
The disciples had reason to be troubled. Judas had betrayed his Master; Peter and the rest were soon to forsake Jesus and deny Him. But the Lord did not leave them under this cloud, though His troubles were many times greater.
The flesh had proved itself to be incompetent, but now He gave them the sure resource of faith and what lies beyond for faith. He said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me." If they had believed in God they could also believe in Him. "In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you."
Grace is wonderful, because it meets all of our needs. But to be able by faith to read the heart of Jesus, and that He wants us to, is beyond our fondest thoughts.
How we fail today because we surround ourselves with the devices of men for security, when the Lord is letting us know that not only our present circumstances are provided for, but that He desires our confidence in believing that all of the riches of heaven are ours, because we now belong to heaven and have the portion of the bride with the bridegroom. "Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart?" 2 Kings 10:15. How we must, with shame, admit that often we put our trust in men. Do we trust men in case the Lord should fail us? God forbid.
Think of it: "If it were not so, I would have told you." He anticipated that the disciples (and we too) expected to be with Him in His Father's house. There were many mansions; His presence in heaven has made room for repentant, sinful man, in a new power of life in us.
Jesus will come for us Himself. How much better to be with Jesus before the Father, than for Jesus to be with us on earth. Yet we have the divine Comforter to lead us into all of the truth while He is gone. Also, greater works would the disciples do, after the Comforter was come. These words not only comforted the hearts of Jesus' disciples at that time, but down through the ages they have comforted myriads who are waiting for the Savior to come for them.
Chapters 14, 15 and 16 are sometimes spoken of as Christ's upper-room ministry to His eleven disciples. They may surely carry such a title, because never before had the human ear heard what the disciples heard at that time.
Chapter 13 was the preparation of the disciples for that ministry. They needed all sins Judged and cleansing from the defilement of their way through this world, in order to enter profitably into that holy session (or sessions) in the presence of Jesus. He, just before the cross, was revealing in a special way His Father and His Father's home to them.
Jesus Is the Way
The session began with a discourse between Thomas, Philip and Jesus. Only in John's gospel do we hear from the lesser apostles, those who have not given written ministry. Thomas inquired where Jesus was going and could they know the way for themselves. Jesus answered, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me," and that by knowing Him, they would know the Father also.
To have truth laid out in an orderly way by writing is good, but to sense the mind of Christ, by being in His presence, is much better. This is what Mary did when she sat at Jesus' feet and heard His Word from His own lips. She was the only one who sensed what was to take place in regard to His death.
Philip asked, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." Jesus said, I have been with you for a long time, but you have not known Me. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father."
If the Holy Spirit dwells in us and we walk in obedience, the Father will make His abode in us-both the Father and the Son. The commandments of Christ direct and express the life of one who lives by the Spirit.
It is interesting how high and lofty are the questions asked, after the disciples have had their feet washed. Does this not show the necessity of being done with the dust collected in our daily walk? Washing one another's feet is in order, so that we can enjoy heavenly ministry.
Jesus said to them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father." The greater works came at Pentecost and are connected with Christianity.
Whatever we ask in His name He will do.
The Spirit of Truth
The expression, "the Spirit of truth," is mentioned three times in Scripture: one time in each of chapters 14, 15 and 16 of John's gospel.
In chapter 14 the Father sends the Spirit of truth, because Christ is gone away from earth to heaven. In chapter 15 the Son of God, who as man is now Lord of all, sends the Spirit of truth (1 Peter 3:22). In chapter 16 the Spirit of truth comes on His own. Thus we have the three Persons of the Godhead engaged in the protection, comfort and teaching of those who belong to Christ. When the soul learns this, he will no longer lean on man for comfort and protection. But let us remember that He is "the truth," the subject of all of the Holy Spirit's ministry.
Peace
There is a certain kind of peace, known only by those who have left this world to follow Jesus only. We cannot follow Jesus by ourselves; we need the power of the Spirit of truth. This supposes communion and waiting on God for wisdom and strength.
A proper child not only obeys his father's will, but acquires a knowledge of that will by being obedient to it. How much we learn in our inner being by obedience. Let us not repeat a disobedience.
Jesus speaks of His peace that He gives to His disciples. It is not the peace found in our circumstances, no matter how thankful we should be for that peace. It is a peace found in following Jesus in obedience and dependence-imitating the pattern of His life down here, walking as He walked, walking in His steps. This is solid peace, no matter how great the storms are that rage around our souls. But be sure that Jesus is in the ship with us. It could be expressed in this way: we trust Him for everything.
We are not to let our hearts be troubled, no matter how trying the circumstances are. There is much to cause us to be afraid. Is Jesus able for this-for every aspect of our lives and circumstances? God loves us and knows our every step; to trust in anyone or anything else will only bring sorrow.
Jesus would not leave His people as orphans. His presence in Spirit will be enough to keep us. In this world we have the same nature and life as Jesus has. In John it is not union, as taught in Ephesians, where it is the relationship between Christ and His bride.
Jesus tells His disciples of His going away and coming again to them. This could bring real, deep sorrow to those who have accompanied Him for three-and-a-half years. But, for the disciples, there is something new. They are to rejoice with Him, because He is going to the Father.
Jesus tells His disciples all that they need to know, so that as events take place, they will believe. In order to believe spiritually, they must have His Word to lean on.
Satan Returns
Satan had left Jesus after tempting Him in the wilderness. Jesus had commanded, "Get thee hence, Satan." At this crucial time the prince of this world returned, but he could find nothing in Jesus, who cannot sin. The Lord, at the Father's command, went on to Gethsemane. At the cross Satan used His last efforts to overcome Jesus by deceit.

The True Vine on Earth

John 15
Jesus is that true vine on earth. Vines are not grown in heaven. The subject relates to fruit-bearing on earth. The subject of salvation we find elsewhere.
The disciples are the branches of the true vine. If a branch never bears fruit, the Father, who is the husbandman, takes it away. Christ, the true vine, is the source of strength to bring forth fruit; this is His relationship with His disciples on earth. Fruit is always through the true vine, Jesus. He is needed for fruit-bearing as much as for salvation.
The branches bear different measures of fruit. These the Father (the husbandman) purges in order that they might bring forth more fruit. Pruning is the government of the Father over His children.
We, as branches, are assured that we are clean-purged from all of our sins through believing the Word of God and trusting in the finished work of Christ. To know that we have life that can never be taken from us, because our life is in Christ, gives us assurance as fruit-bearers.
Abiding
We must abide in Christ, practically, or there can be no fruit. He is the source-the strength of the branches that bear the fruit. If we abide in Him and He in us, we will bear, not fruit merely, nor more fruit merely, but much fruit. If we do not abide in Him, we cannot bear fruit. One who does not abide in Christ is an unbeliever, and they will burn such branches in the fire (judgment). Judas is an example.
Abiding in Christ gives liberty to ask whatever we may ask, providing His words abide in us. Discipleship is connected with bearing fruit, and the Father is glorified by this. Fruit is the proof of inward reality. Judas only believed outwardly.
Divine Love
The love that the Father has for Christ is the same love wherewith Christ has loved us. This is the love we continue or abide in. It is not our love that we abide in, but His love. By keeping His commandments, we show that we abide in His love, because this is what Christ did in obedience; He abode in the Father's love. The measure of love (seen in the cross) in which He has loved us is given as a pattern for us to love one another.
Obedience is the means of abiding in His love. It is the power for walk and strength so that we can fully enjoy the love of Christ with an unclouded heart.
He spoke of His joy remaining in us. That joy may be found daily by us from His Word, and through it our joy will be full.
Friends
A man can show no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. Jesus told His disciples that they were His friends, providing they followed His commandments.
We believers today are in a new place. We started as servants, but now we are friends and more-we are the children of God. All of His thoughts, as coming from the Father, are made known to us; nothing is held back. These are family things.
As branches, Christ has chosen us to bring forth fruit, the kind of fruit that remains. In these verses we learn what fruit is-gathering souls (fruit) unto life eternal. Fruit is a sign of maturity; it is the result of full growth; it is not the result of a moment. Such a branch does not cease to bear fruit.
Think, beloved; this blessed work of being fruit bearers is for His people here, those who abide in the true vine. His command is for us to love one another.
Being hated by the world, we know that Jesus also was hated. The world hates us, because we have been chosen out of it by Jesus. The world that persecuted Jesus will persecute His followers. Those who keep Christ's sayings will keep ours also.
All that the world does to Christ's friends, they do be-cause they do not know the Father who sent Jesus. Israel would not have had sin had not Christ come and spoken to them (John 15:22). But man's heart is ex-posed, because He rejected Jesus. The Spirit has witnessed of Jesus, and by rejecting Him, there is no forgiveness forever. In John, the Lord presents Himself, in His Person, as the Son of God to Israel. By refusing Him and His works, they have sin.
Two verses in John's gospel clearly set forth the common guilt of mankind. The first is John 8:46: "Which of you convinceth Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe Me?" The second is John 15:24: "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father.... They hated Me without a cause."
When Jesus was asked, "Who art Thou?" He an-swered, "Altogether that which I also say to you." John 8:25 JND. In John 8, Christ's word is rejected; in John 9 and 15 His works are rejected.
Christ sends the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father. He will testify of Christ. The credentials for witness for the eleven apostles are that they had been with Christ from the beginning.

Persecution and Martyrdom

John 16
The upper room in Jerusalem is an outdoor area where people can congregate. In this ministry the Holy Spirit is looked on as already here below. Jesus spoke in the upper room to His disciples in regard to persecution, so that they would not be discouraged and turn away. The Lord had not told His disciples about the persecutions that they would go through at the beginning of their course, because He was with them. But now that He is to go through both atonement and martyrdom, they are apprised of possible deep sorrows because they are following Jesus.
Comforter
The reference to the Comforter, rather than to the Father, is prominent in this chapter. Nature is occupied with what it sees; faith is occupied with the tremendous gain for eternity. All of the disciples except John may have suffered martyrdom.
But there was another sorrow that was deeper than martyrdom. Now that the disciples had learned to love Jesus, He was going away and leaving them-eleven disciples alone in a world that hated them, to live for Christ's sake. What a deep sorrow this was. They were filled with sorrow. "Grief is the fruit of communion with God in the day of evil." The heart knows well what its object is.
Christ had not come to display the glory of heaven, but to display God morally. Redemption brings out all that God is morally: holiness, majesty, love. 'The presence of God keeps the conscience thoroughly active because of what we are."
The Spirit of Truth
Because a Christian's path is to walk by faith, the disciples needed the Spirit of truth to guide. When He came, the Spirit of truth reproved the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. Man's reproof for sin was that they believed not on Jesus, for righteousness, because Jesus went to the Father, proving who He was, and for judgment, because the prince of this world was now judged.
Man is judged for what he has done, and lost because of what he is-a fallen nature in Adam. At the cross, the enemy had everything at stake. The world would be judged morally in its prince. The rejection of Christ put the whole world under a common judgment.
The many things that Christ had to say to His disciples, and to us, had to wait until the Comforter—the Spirit of truth—came to guide into all of the truth. These things came by the apostles and prophets of the New Testament, who had the truth of the new order, "the mystery" which could not take place until redemption was accomplished.
The Spirit would speak of what He heard from the Father, not what He Himself would say. He would tell of things to come. He would glorify Christ. Everything that belongs to the Father is Christ's.
The disciples would not see Jesus again until after His resurrection. It would be a time of sorrow for them to see their Lord crucified, because they did not yet understand. When Jesus was raised, they were filled with joy.
Following the resurrection, the Holy Spirit dwelt in the believer, and we are at liberty to ask the Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus, for our needs. Also, the Spirit speaks plainly of the Father, not in proverbs. Since Pentecost we cry, Abba, Father (Rom. 8:15,16).
Jesus came forth from the Father. He left the world to go to the Father.
The disciples sought to assure Jesus that they believed. Jesus said, "Do ye now believe?" Soon the disciples would be scattered, every man to his own, leaving Jesus alone to suffer, but not alone, because the Father was with Him.
In the world they were to have tribulation, but in Him they would have peace and good courage, because He had overcome the world. All they would have to face, He already had overcome to God's glory. The Spirit comforted the disciples with these sayings after the Lord had gone to heaven.

The Lord's Prayer

John 17
Jesus addresses the Father, His Father, as to His wishes. We are not sure that any of the disciples heard this or any other prayer, except when the Lord gave thanks for food, when at the grave of Lazarus, and when at the cross He cried, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
As believers, we benefit much from this prayer. Not only do we learn the intimacy of the heavenly family and of heaven, where we soon shall enter, but also the special care of the Father for His children on the earth.
Jesus glorifies the Father by completing the work that the Father had given Him to do, the last being redemption. All here is in anticipation, as Jesus says, "The hour is come." The Father glorifies Jesus because of His perfect obedience in His work on the cross. (Glory is the display of excellence.)
The character of eternal life is the knowledge of the Father, and of Jesus Christ as the sent One. We have eternal life even before we enter heaven; we have it in Christ. In this prayer we have communion between the Father and the Son with regard to the disciples, according to the counsels of God in eternity. Also, we have our union with Him, both in the Spirit and in the Father. We are hidden in God. Christ communicates eternal life.
Christ (as man) prayed, saying, "O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." This glory Jesus had as the eternal Son of God, with the Father, and for this glory He prayed.
Our place is assured by His place as a man. All that belonged to this position with the Father, joy and all, was now the portion of the disciples and us. All the joys and compassions of the Father towards Christ when here, were to be the same for His disciples when He left them to go to His Father.
Christ's heart is poured out to the Father, presenting personal wishes at the end of His journey on earth. The disciples (then and now) are the subject on His heart.
We have the divine nature-we in Christ and Christ in the Father. It is through this life and nature that we enjoy our relationship with the Father and the Son. We have the practical responsibility to treasure up the Word and to realize the character (manner of life) that becomes us as the children of God. We have the hope of the Lord's return before us when we shall see the divine glory, the Father's love filling Christ to overflowing, and all of the overflowing of love displayed in us.
We now share, as did the disciples, what had been His peculiar joy and consolation in His earthly path-the goodwill and joy that His Father had in Him, for He was the expression of the whole heart of God the Father, and in Him was found all moral glory and all the beauty of the character of the Father. He prayed that this goodwill and joy should be opened to them, and be made to dwell in them.
Christ, in manhood, had the power of eternal life to give to those whom the Father had given Him. Christ prayed for His own that the Father had given Him in this world.
We must remember that the delights of Christ have been with the sons of men from eternity. Soon He will come into the fruition of His desires; He will have us with Him forever. This is a special joy, all His own, although the Father will have His joy in the joy of Christ.
Christ prayed for His own who were in the world-not for the world.
There are three unities expressed in this prayer: 1. One in purpose: service with Christ and the Father while in this world (v. 11).
2. One with those who believe through the disciples' word (vv. 20,21).
3. One in glory before the world (vv. 22-24).
First Unity
While on earth, Christ kept His own in the Father's name. None of them were lost except Judas. Because He was leaving the world, He placed His disciples into the hands of the holy Father to keep them through the Father's name.
As long as the disciples were in the world, service was connected to this unity-one in purpose: service with Christ and the Father. Only if we walk in obedience are we kept in communion. Christ spoke of these things for the benefit of His own, while He was still in the world, that His people's joy might be full.
He prayed that the disciples might be kept from the evil-not taken out of the world, but sent here to fulfill their mission. "I have given them Thy word." It is through the Father's Word, which is truth, that His people are sanctified (set apart).
Second Unity
Jesus prayed for those who would believe through the disciples' teaching the Word of the Father, which was given them as to their mission. He prayed that all (the disciples and those who believed through them) would be one: just as the Father and Son are one, so those who believe are one in Them.
Third Unity
The glory that the Father has given to the Lord Jesus, as man, He has given to His own-a unity of Father, Son and believers. When the believers are manifested with the Son in His glory, then the world will know that the Father has loved His saints, even as He has loved His Son.
We have "Father" (v. 1), a term of endearment; "O Father" (v. 5), because He had finished the work that the Father had given Him to do; "holy Father" (v. 11), because Jesus was leaving His disciples in the hands of His Father to be kept in holiness until He returned for them. Last of all (v. 25), He spoke of the Father as "O righteous Father," because the judgment of the world was in view.
The three unities shine as a blessed testimony to the results of the work of Christ. They are all under the Father and nothing can ever break them, because they are based on the sure foundation of the finished work of Christ on the cross, the work which has brought in redemption.
When the Lord Jesus takes His own to heaven, we shall see all His glory-His personal glory as man, the glory that Father bestowed on Him, and the glory acquired by His work on the cross. Then we shall be with Him forever; then the world will know that we have been loved as Jesus is loved, when we appear in the same glory with Him. Our part is to know, now, Christ being in us. He loved us before the foundation of the world.
Perfect Serenity
We marvel as we observe the calm repose and collectedness of spirit, which show the majesty of Christ's Person, suggested in the reading of this seventeenth chapter of John. This comes just before He entered the awful reality of judgment, that no one before or after has experienced, nor could pass through, when He
cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
Having completed the work of redemption through atonement, He cried, "For Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns." Psa. 22:21. This wild beast, with overwhelming power, pictures the ultimate and final judgment that Christ bore for the glory of God and for us, His people. Immediately after (v. 22) He says, "I will declare Thy name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee."
What hinders us from enjoying this peace is self-will. Jesus completed all as subject to the Father's will.
Taking His stand on the accomplishment of His work and the revelation of His Father's name, He placed His disciples in His own position before His Father and the world. His own loved ones are left here in His place to witness for Him. Is that not the least that we can do?

Betrayal and Denial

John 18
Cedron (Kidron) was the brook that David passed over in his rejection. Many things in David's life history remind us of what the Lord, by doing the Father's will, passed through in His rejection.
The garden that Jesus entered with His disciples was well-known to His disciples, even to Judas. All met together there, time after time, and heard many things, not recorded, which Jesus taught.
Knowing the place well, Judas, now under the direct power of Satan, used this precious place of rest and fellowship to carry out his wicked work of betraying the Lord Jesus, his Master. As Judas and his band came with torches and weapons, Jesus went forth inquiring, "Whom seek ye?"
His Divine, Personal Glory
These circumstances bring out the personal glory of the divine Person of Jesus. He initiated the contact with His enemies. He gave His life for God's glory; they did not take it from Him. Even on the cross, it was in the full vigor of manhood that He cried, "It is finished."
I Am
Jesus asked, "Whom seek ye?" They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." He said, "I am He." All, including Judas, went backward and fell to the ground. Jesus asked again, "Whom seek ye?" They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." He answered, "I have told you that I am He: if therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way: that the saying might be fulfilled, which He spake, Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none."
Jesus, the great I Am, gave orders for the protection of His disciples. He guarded His sheep while He went on to complete His work of redemption.
It was Simon Peter who used the sword, cutting off the ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant. Then Jesus said to Peter, "Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?"
John, in his gospel, records very little of what took place at that time.
Then they bound Jesus and led Him away to Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas the high priest. Peter and John followed Jesus. Being known of the high priest, John went into the palace while Peter stood without at the door. John spoke to the maid who kept the door and brought in Peter.
Peter Tested
The maid who kept the door said to Peter, Are you not also one of this man's disciples? Peter denied it. Then Peter stood by the fire where the servants and officers were, and warmed himself. One of them said, Are you not one of His disciples? Peter denied the second time. Malchus, whose ear Peter cut off, said, "Did not I see thee in the garden with Him?" Peter, while the cock crowed, denied Him for the third time.
The Judgment Hall
Caiaphas demanded of Jesus concerning His disciples and His doctrine. The soldiers smote Him for His answers, and He spoke to their consciences. From Caiaphas's palace they led Jesus to Pilate's judgment hall. His accusers did not enter the hall lest they be deified and not be able to keep the passover. They maintained ceremonial purity, while they frowned at justice.
Pilate, the Roman governor, asked, What do you accuse this man of? They answered, "If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto thee."
Pilate told them to judge Him according to their law. They answered, "It is not lawful for us to put any man to death." By this it was signified what death He would die, for stoning was the Jewish form of punishment while the cross was the Roman way.
Entering the judgment hall, Pilate called Jesus before him and asked, "Art Thou the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, Are you saying this of yourself or did others tell you that I am. Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thy nation has delivered Thee to me. "What hast Thou done?"
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence." Pilate asked Jesus if He were a king. Jesus answered, "For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice."
What Is Truth?
Pilate asked, "What is truth?" Then he went to the Jews saying, "I find in Him no fault at all." According to custom he released a prisoner at feast time, so he said, Shall I release the King of the Jews? They answered, Not Jesus, but Barabbas. He was a robber.
What a moment of decision for Pilate. This decision determined his eternal destiny. Pilate was in the presence of the One who was Himself the truth. Pilate lost the opportunity to follow the One who is the way, the truth, and the life. Pilate's remorse will haunt him for all eternity, because he caused One to be slain who was not guilty, and more, One who was the eternal Son of God.
Beware, my reader, of your companions and habits. If the wrong companions are regularly allowed, you may eventually tie yourself into a trap from which you cannot extricate yourself.

Behold the Man

John 19
After Jesus was scourged, they placed a crown of thorns on His head in mockery, and clothed Him with a purple robe. Pilate said again, "I find no fault in Him." Bringing Jesus before the crowd in the crown of thorns and purple robe, Pilate said, "Behold the man!" The Jews cried, "Crucify Him, crucify Him."
They said that Jesus ought to die because He said that He was the Son of God. Being alarmed by this statement, Pilate again entered the judgment hall and asked Jesus, "Whence art Thou?" But Jesus gave him no answer.
The Jews reminded Pilate that anyone who would make himself a king spoke against Cæsar. It was the preparation time for the passover, about the sixth hour. Pilate said unto the Jews, "Behold your King," but they cried out, "Away with Him."
We Have No King but Cæsar
Pilate asked, "Shall I crucify your King?" They answered, "We have no king but Cæsar." That fatal say-ing, "We have no king but Cæsar," rings in the ears of the Jew today. It called down the judgment of God. Then Pilate delivered up Jesus to them, and He was led away to Golgotha, bearing His cross.
Crucifixion
In this gospel we do not read of anyone's helping Jesus bear the cross. He was crucified between two thieves. The title which Pilate put over the cross, was Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews. This title, written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, was read by many.
Pilate, being questioned why he wrote, "King of the Jews," rather than, "He said, I am King of the Jews," answered, "What I have written I have written."
Except for the coat, the four soldiers divided his garments among themselves. For the coat, they cast lots. It, being without seam, was woven from the top throughout.
John and the Mother of Jesus
John, the writer of this gospel, stood by the cross. Nearby stood the mother of Jesus, and her sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. Jesus said to His mother, "Woman, behold thy son!" Here Jesus spoke as human, not as divine.
At the marriage in Cana of Galilee when Jesus was about to begin His ministry, He took the place of a Nazarite who did not know father or mother. At that time, He said to His mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come." Now His hour had come, and, while still alive on the cross, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold thy son!" Then to John, whom He loved, He said, "Behold thy mother!" John took her to his own home. Jesus' love here for John was human love.
Jesus, now knowing that all had been accomplished, said, "I thirst." Having received the vinegar that the soldiers put to His mouth, He said, "It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost."
Jesus gave His life for us, and put sin away forever for those who believe. He died for the glory of God, so that God could pour out His love, which had been hindered by our sin.
It would soon be the sabbath day. The soldiers, so that the victims would not be on the cross on that day, broke the legs of the thieves, but not of Jesus, who was already dead. As a divine Person He laid down His life; they did not take it from Him.
While hanging on the cross, the victim must raise his body with his feet and legs each time he breathes. If his legs were broken, he would suffocate, because with broken legs he could not breathe. So the Scripture was fulfilled, that a bone of Jesus should not be broken.
The Burial of Jesus
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus came forward to publicly own Jesus in His death. Nicodemus had had three-and-a-half years of deep soul-searching, since he came to Jesus by night. Now, the Spirit of God having wrought in his soul, he came out a true believer.
We have been told very little about Joseph of Arimathea, except that he was a counselor, a good and just man, who waited for the kingdom of God. Although a counselor, he had not consented to the counsel and deeds of the Jews. Like Nicodemus, he was a wealthy man. Having been a disciple secretly, at this moment he boldly came forward, asking for the body of Jesus.
Having bought fine linen, he and Nicodemus wrapped the body of Jesus in it, along with the spices, a hundred-pound mixture of myrrh and aloes, that Nicodemus bought. So another prophesy was fulfilled (Ex. 30:31-38).
After man, in his hatred of Jesus, had slain Him and could do no more, God saw to it that Jesus was buried like a king of Israel with all of the honor that the custom of Israel called for. The two men were ready, prepared by the Holy Spirit, to fulfill the Scripture, He was "with the rich in His death." Isa. 53:9. Jesus was laid in Joseph's own sepulcher within a garden. The day of preparation was near.

Resurrection

John 20
How deep must have been the conversion of Mary Magdalene, who had been delivered from the power of seven demons that had possessed her. Seven speaks of completeness, in this case the completeness of the power of evil.
She probably was alone when she arrived at the sepulcher in the predawn darkness on the first day of the week, after Jesus was raised from among the dead. Jesus being gone, she had nothing. He meant everything to her; it was His Person that drew her to Him. But now He was gone, and she wept. Her love for Jesus had isolated her; she was alone.
Many have been brought to this feeling of being alone in connection with the loss of a loved one. But Christ had delivered Mary Magdalene from demon power, and now He was gone. She had no one else.
As she looked, she saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance of the sepulcher. Running, she came to Peter and John, saying, "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid Him."
Peter and John ran to the sepulcher, but John outran Peter and arrived first. He stooped down and saw the linen clothes, but did not go in. Peter arrived and entered the sepulcher. He saw that the napkin which had been wrapped about Jesus' head was wrapped together in a place by itself, separate from the linen clothes. John seeing this, believed. They did not yet know the Scripture that Jesus must rise again from among the dead.
As the disciples departed to their own homes, Mary Magdalene stood weeping near the sepulcher.
I ask my own soul, Have I, having seen the empty sepulcher, believed and returned to my own home as Peter and John did, or have I, weeping, waited for Jesus at the sepulcher, as having none other, as Mary did? Mary had no one else to comfort her heart in this world of sin-only Jesus, who was now gone. Which, I ask, is my case?
Having confessed, and been baptized, and in the company of those who have been granted the highest privileges known to man, do I value Jesus above all else-His Person, my Redeemer, Savior and Friend who loves me now and has for the endless ages before creation?
Soon He will come, and, as His bride, I shall, with all of the redeemed, sit down to feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Looking back from that vantage point, will I see things differently than I do now? Do I seek grace to walk as Jesus walked, in His steps, in obedience to His Word, depending solely on Him, not only for salvation, but for my whole path? Does the Person, the man Christ Jesus, mean this much to me? Being in Laodicea, all is falling apart in the testimony of the Lord down here-am I an overcomer practically?
Jesus Made Himself Known
Looking in the sepulcher, Mary saw two angels clothed in white, sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet where the body of Jesus had lain. They asked, "Woman, why weepest thou?" She answered, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him."
Turning around, she saw Jesus standing by, but she did not know Him, thinking Him to be the gardener. Jesus said, Why do you weep? Whom do you seek? Addressing Him as the gardener, she said, "Tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away."
Precious Moments
What precious moments are these! By going home, Peter and John missed them. Jesus said, "Mary." She turned herself and said to Him, "Rabboni; which is to say, Master."
How her poor heart throbbed! Having been left with nothing, now in Jesus she receives everything. Having been introduced to God as her Father, she becomes the messenger to tell His disciples.
Will this be our experience at the rapture when our eyes see Christ in resurrection glory for the first time? Will our hearts then be like Mary's? Oh what joy there will be then, never known before and never to cease for all eternity. May our hearts be captured in love like Mary's.
Many times Mary has remembered that precious moment, when affection gave her to be the first one to see Jesus, having been raised from among the dead on the first day of the week.
Mary told the disciples what Jesus had said. Later the same day, the first day of the week at evening, where the disciples were gathered behind closed doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus stood in the midst and said to them, "Peace be unto you." After He had showed them His hands and His side, the disciples rejoiced. Then Jesus said to them again, "Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost."
This receiving of the Spirit was not as at Pentecost later, but He was giving life in the Spirit, much like in Adam when created. They now had life in the Spirit. At Pentecost, the Spirit came in power and indwell them.
Thomas was not there when Jesus came the first time. They said to him, "We have seen the Lord." Thomas answered, "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe." Thomas pictures the ten tribes on the day of atonement when they ask Jesus, "What are these wounds in Thine hands?" They must see to believe. If it is not the "Word" that I believe, it is nature, not spiritual belief.
Mary, who was the first to see Jesus after His resurrection, was sent with a message to the disciples. It was His "Word" and the disciples believed it. (It was the first day of the week when the Church gathered: the assembly with Jesus in the midst; Acts 20:7.)
The second time Jesus appeared, Thomas was with them. It was eight days after the first appearance, on the first day of the week. The doors were shut. Jesus stood in the midst and said, "Peace be unto you." He told Thomas to bring his finger and see His hands and to thrust his hand into His side, and not to disbelieve, but have faith. Thomas responded, "My Lord and my God." Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." Those who have not seen, but have believed, are those in the Church.
Jesus sent the disciples forth into the world with that same peace into which He had brought them through the cross.
Among the many signs that Jesus did in the presence of His disciples, "these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name."

The Millennial Day

John 21
The first thirteen verses of this chapter are an overall picture of the millennial day, come in power.
Christ had a fire of coals, with fish and bread ready to feed His own, but He also used what they brought to enhance the blessing of that day. For the meal, we have not only the result of the work among the remnant of Israel, but also the great fishes-a picture of the Gentiles, saved as a result of the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom for three-and-a-half years among them.
In Rev. 7:3-8, the remnant of Israel are sealed from harm to enter into the kingdom. From verses 9-16, we read of the Gentiles who have believed the gospel of the kingdom, after the rapture of the Church.
To go back to the beginning of the chapter, "Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed He Himself." Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples who followed Peter, went fishing, but caught nothing that night. Israel had been scattered for a long time without fruit for God. When Jesus appeared, after that dark, fruitless night, standing on the shore of the new millennial day, the disciples did not know Him.
Jesus said to them, "Children, have ye any meat?" They answered, No. He told them to cast their net on the right side of the ship, and doing so, they were not able to draw the net in because of the multitude of fish.
John, who was always nearest the Lord, spoke saying, "It is the Lord." See Dan. 12:2,3 where it says, "And they that be wise for teachers]." This is a picture of the awakening of the remnant of Israel through their teachers to recognize the Lord. John pictures this.
Hearing this, Peter cast himself into the water. The other disciples rowed over to the shore dragging the net of fish. Having come to land, they saw a fire of coals with fish and bread on it. Jesus asked them to bring the fish that they had caught. Peter brought 153 great fish. Twelve squared (perfect administration) plus three squared (completeness) equals 153.
The net did not break, although there were many great fish. This shows the power of Christ in that coming day. Christ's millennial work is not marred, because it is all of Himself. His people shall be subject and willing in the day of His power.
The fish that the disciples brought, are what the Lord used, with His own provision, to enlarge the joys of the millennial day. Jesus asked them to dine. This is the millennial day on earth. Jesus took bread and fish and gave to them. This is the third time that Jesus showed Himself to them.
Peter’s Public Restoration
One who has publicly failed needs to be publicly restored. Peter was publicly restored before the other disciples. The Lord, in grace, before speaking to Peter, brought in the blessings of the kingdom to refresh the hearts of His disciples. Jesus did not reproach Peter, but judged the source of the evil that made him fall-self-confidence.
After they had dined, Jesus said, "Simon... lovest thou Me more than these?" Before failing, Peter had said that he did. He answered, "Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." Peter, having the care of the lambs of the Jewish flock, must provide suitable food so that they will grow.
The second time Jesus said, "Simon... lovest thou Me," he said, "Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee." Jesus said, "Feed My sheep." There must be a sense in our souls, continually, that the Lord, who knows all things, can read our hearts. This is what Peter had to come to, before the Lord could cease bringing the matter before him. It is not enough for us to manifest the spirit of repentance. Peter having the lambs in his care, the Lord added the task of shepherding the more mature Jewish remnant also.
The third time Jesus said, "Simon. lovest thou Me," Peter, being grieved, said to the Lord, 'Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee." Jesus said, "Feed My sheep." Now Peter was free to serve the Lord.
The Lord told Peter that when he was young he went where he pleased, but when he would be old another would carry him where he would not. This refers to Peter's martyrdom. He said to Peter, "Follow Me." Grace gives confidence in God, not in self. This was Peter's lesson and ours.
Peter wanted to die for the Lord in his own strength, but failed. Now he is given to do this in God's strength as the will of God. Jesus said, "Follow Me." Peter subsequently followed Jesus to prison, and to death. This is what he wanted to do-such is grace.
John’s Work
Looking on John, Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, and what Shall this man do?" Jesus said, "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me."
The saying went around that John would not die, but Jesus did not say that.
Peter and John's ministry was for the earth, the remnant. Peter and John, though different in their natures, had the same object. Absolute consecration to Jesus is the strongest bond between human hearts. John and Peter were much together.
"As planted on earth at Jerusalem, the assembly, as the house of God, is formally recognized as taking the place of the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem. The history of the assembly, as thus formally established as a center on earth, ended with the destruction of Jerusalem. The remnant saved by the Messiah was no longer to be in connection with Jerusalem, the center of the gathering of the Gentiles.
"Paul... performs a new work that was hidden from the prophets of old, namely, the gathering out of a heavenly assembly without distinction of Jew or Gentile.... John remained... after Paul, in order to watch over the assembly as established on that footing, that is, as the organized and earthly framework (responsible in that character) of the testimony of God, and the subject of His government on the earth.
'The Apocalypse [the Revelation] presents the judgment of the assembly on earth, as the formal witness for the truth, and then passes on to God's resumption of the government of the earth, in view of the establishment of the Lamb upon the throne, and the setting aside of the power of evil." When the assembly is gone, the world is left for judgment, and then the Jew fills his place for God in the earth.
"[John's] ministry, as far as connected with dispensation and with the ways of God, does not go beyond that which is earthly; the coming of Christ, is His manifestation to complete those ways, and to establish the government of God.... His epistle presents the reproduction of the life of Christ in ourselves, guarding us thus from all pretensions of perverse teachers. But by these two parts of the truth, we have a precious sustainment of faith given to us, when all that belongs to the body of testimony may fail: Jesus, personally the object of faith in whom we know God; the life itself of God, reproduced in us, as being quickened by Christ. This is forever true, and this is eternal life, if we were alone without the assembly on earth, and it leads us over its ruins, in possession of that which is essential, and of that which will abide forever.
"The government of God will decide all the rest, only it is our privilege and duty to maintain Paul's part of the testimony of God, as long as, through grace, we can. "
John has not related all that Jesus did, but that which revealed Him as everlasting life. Christ's works cannot be numbered.
John presents God to us; Paul presents us to God. In the lives and ministry of Peter and John we have the religious, earthly history from beginning to end: the Jews, then Christianity, the Jewish remnant, and finally the introduction of the Firstborn into the world.
No matter what blessing this work may be to the reader, the writer finds that this resume has been filled with blessing for himself. May God give us, as believers, a real sense of what it means to be in the family of God as His dear children, and to know the Lord Jesus as Friend as well as Savior.
May the grace of Christ be with you. Amen.
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