J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)
The Blessed Lord ought to have had some object worthy of His giving Himself for. Infinite love, and unmotived love, save what was in Himself, was shown in His giving Himself for us, and this was all perfect as obedience in a given work, but God's glory was, and all fully, made good. This was an adequate object for Him. Lord of all He is, as Man, through it, but this only partially adequate; but God's glory is adequate.
The position of Christ is very striking as showing the absolute intrinsic perfectness of His love and obedience. There is an end of man - all that was in man was against - hatred to, God in goodness - so that He has no sustainment from man, only hatred and evil; He turns to God, and then He is forsaken. Broken, and more than broken from man - pressed up to death, He turns to God, and finds forsaking there - He was left alone, repelled by man and, in a certain sense, by God when He turned to Him - was alone, but accomplished all in His own love and obedience, and perfected the work, so that He could say "Therefore doth my Father love me."
As regards the relationship of Christ with God on the earth - He never, save on the Cross, addresses God by that name, always "Father." It was the name He taught His disciples, and taught them to address the Father with. This may be seen in the Sermon on the Mount even; it was the place in which He set the others, He being there, and this was eternal life. The end of John opens it out. The disciples say "Come forth from God"; when twelve years old, He takes also this place. In reference to the Psalms, this is important. On the Cross, though perfect there, He takes the place, "My God, my God!" Christ entering in Spirit into Israel's sorrows was not His relationship with God. This testimony of the Gospels is very remarkable.
241 We have thought elsewhere how Jesus, the Son, was humbled, came into the lower parts of the earth, below all things - His very soul brought into the dust of death that He might be above all things. But see also how He was a Servant, that He might be a Son, i.e., as Man He was the Son and owned as such of the Father, but amongst the servants He was the lowest, yea, a reproach of men and outcast of the people, rejected by all the servants, "A worm and no man," put to death as a Servant, as though He had broken the law of which they were the masters, that He might be the First of Sons, "The first-begotten from the dead," having risen out of the law, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence; for just in proportion as we are humbled, we have exaltation of God - ever, ever, ever is this true! Amen.
I get three facts, partly helped by the researches of others, as to the period of the blessed Lord's ministry. Before He entered on His public ministry calling disciples away from all to follow Him, but after His baptism by John when He had begun to teach and make disciples and had been back into Galilee - John 1:43 and beginning of chapter 2 in verse 13 we have a Passover; John, as often observed, not cast into prison (chap. 3:24). In Matthew 12 we have the corn ripe after a Passover, for they could not eat corn till after it, perhaps after Pentecost even, and John was now cast into prison - had been there some time - he had heard there of His works; chap. 11. It is in Matthew 4:12 that He hears John is cast into prison - perhaps the same time as John 4. He was then, i.e. Matthew 12 in Galilee. In chapter 14, we have the five thousand people fed; after Matthew 12, but then (John 6) the Passover was nigh; John 7 feast of tabernacles. Then He lingers about in Jerusalem, Jordan, etc., and comes up for the last Passover, i.e. three years and a part of a year.
So far Christ seems to have exercised the office of Priest, before He ascended up on high, in that He confessed the sins to be His on the Cross, i.e., practically, and is so revealed to us in Spirit. But herein indeed the High Priest was rather acting the part of the people. It was on the people's lot, not what was carried within, so that His priesthood office was exercised before God elsewhere; so that, properly speaking, this was not exercised till after His ascension. In Spirit He did as here, so in John 17, but this was a sort of prophetic anticipation. So it was in Spirit we know - the other as in Psalm 38, to be the virtue of what He did, but properly His direct office of priesthood was in - "within the Veil." This was appropriate, only qualificatory for it - He was then teteleiomenos (consecrated - made perfect).
242 Alas! how the heart can spring up when set at ease after all manner of dealings with it. Peter, so humbled, so wonderfully restored by exhaustless grace, set at ease, must know what was to happen to John - what shall happen to him? He loved John surely, and it served as occasion to revelation - still the Lord must say "What is that to thee" "and turn back to the "Follow thou me."
I add the Jewish commission to Peter seems to me evident here.
It is important to remark, as regards the question of the house, that the Holy Ghost is never said to dwell in the body - not of the individual, but as a whole.
I think we get a measure of characteristic knowledge in Adam in his knowing the beasts. It was subjection of them to him, and, I suppose, the faculty of speech connected with the impressions produced by the animals, and some power of sentiment or apprehension, but there was no abstract reasoning connected with the knowledge of good and evil, nor flowing from the absence of God, which is a source of the widest exercise of intellect on which man prides himself, and which is always false and only ignorance, though it may be dealt with as finding limits.
243 Faith alone is absolute certainty - it alone has an absolute motive for believing. I have an adequate motive to determine my assent practically, as my mind must do one or another if indifference is impossible - I may have the anxiety of doubt. I may have sufficient motive to believe, but never absolute. I do not call mathematics certainty, not because I doubt, but because they are not the subject of doubt. I may be ignorant, or I know that diverse forms are equal in quantity. I do not say "I doubt" - I am certain; but I am ignorant - "I know."
Tongues were as plainly language as possible - not always consequently understood by the speaker, though he felt the influence and presence of God, and perhaps certain apprehensions; hence his understanding (nous) was unfruitful. If he could interpret (or another) well - but even the prophets, where there was no question of language, had to search out their own prophecies to have their minds fully fruitful through them.
I am confirmed in the thought of the soul being the seat of I, and the spirit the seat of both intellectual and moral powers (which are to be developed in good and evil) and by the latter of which we are in relationship with God, or capable of being so; but all these are nothing till the will is right by a new nature - nothing but the capacity of error, and misery of a soul separated from God.
I have fully entered, elsewhere, into the place the "ifs" hold in the Word in connection with our journey towards the glory, not with our place in Christ. This made me think that in Ephesians, in contrast with Colossians where a hope is laid up for us in heaven, there would be no "if" in Ephesians, for there we are sitting in heavenly places in Christ - and so it is. We get helps "till we all come" - the "whole armour of God," that we "may be able to stand" where we are, but no "if" as to the result of the course. This difference from the Colossians confirms strongly the general view.
244 The one loaf is better than the twelve.
Note. - The sense of hunger is a necessity - thirst is a desire after some positive drink; there is also anxiety which is met only by the wisdom of Creation which gives repose and confidence.
Christ as suffering - the Bread of life - meets the hunger, meets the necessities of the Church.
Christ exalted - the Giver of the Spirit - believed on, is the Object of the Church's thirst; it thirsts for God there exhibited - the revealing Spirit is the generator. It is an active feeling, a desire of an object, with an Object thirstingly desired.
Moreover He meets also the anxiety of the Church - He guides in it, leads forth, gives us the consciousness of His caring for the Church when we are anxious about it. He is the Shepherd of the sheep, as well as the Food, and Giver and Object of the Spirit.
I feel I have given these thoughts very imperfectly - the subject is wonderful and most blessed.