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Saturday, November 24, 2012

"Upon That Great Day of the Feast ..." # 2

Upon that great day of the feast ... out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water"

Now we want to examine this closely because John 7:37-39 tells us that the glorification of Christ, through His Cross, His Resurrection, His Ascension, is the ground upon which we who believe receive the Spirit. The glorification of Christ is the ground on which we, the Church His Body, receive the power, the enabling "Power from on High", to become the Fullness of Christ.

In the Gospel of John, the Word of God declares: The Father glorifies Christ (John 8:54): and Christ glorifies the Father (John 17:4): and The Holy Spirit glorifies Christ:

"for He [the Holy Spirit] shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine [of ALL that Christ is], and shall disclose it to you [to all who believe]" (John 16:14).

In John 8:54, we are told that it is the Father Who glorifies Christ: "Jesus answered, 'If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father Who glorifies Me'.  It is My Father who extols, Who exalts, Who Honors, Who magnifies all that I am. Hence, in John 12:23, we find Jesus saying, "The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified." And it is clear from the context of these Scriptures, that this "hour," that this Eternal Hour in God's Purpose, includes the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, for Jesus said: "I lay down My life, that I might take it again ... I have power (authority) to lay it down, and I have power to take it again ..." (John 10:17, 18). "Verily, verily, I say unto you, 'Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit' " (John 12:24).

Beloved, even the betrayal of Judas speaks of the sacrifice, and the power, and the authority of the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. For after "satan entered into him (into Judas)," the Lord commanded Judas, which means that He commanded satan, "That thou doest, do quickly" (John 13:27-31). It was the lord Jesus Who was in command of the situation, not satan. It was the Lord Jesus Who had power to lay down His life, and power to take it again. Therefore, when Judas "was gone out" to betray Him, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him."

It had always been the Father's plan that His Son would be glorified through His Cross, His Resurrection, His ascension: - Life out of death had always been God's way of reaching His End. In John, chapter eleven, this Divine principle of life out of death is especially brought to our attention when the Lord Jesus Christ raised Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, from the dead. The Word tells us that Jesus loved Martha, and her sister Mary, and their brother Lazarus very much. It also indicates that He had a special brother to brother love for Lazarus (John 11:3-5). So why, when He heard that Lazarus was sick, did He not go to them at  once instead of waiting two days? The Lord Jesus Himself answers our question: "Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany ... but when Jesus heard it, He said, 'This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it' " (John 11:1-4). The Lord Jesus was saying, "This sickness is not unto death, death will not be victorious here, for I AM the Resurrection, and the Life." We know that Lazarus died, but we also know that death could not hold Lazarus because Christ raised Lazarus from the dead.

The mighty power and glory of God was manifested when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, and because of this, many of the Jews believed in Him. Nevertheless, the ultimate result of Lazarus being raised from the dead was the Cross, the crucifixion of Christ. When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard what Jesus had done, they were greatly disturbed. They feared that all men would believe on Him and that they would loose their religious and political positions. So they called a council, and they decided that they must kill this Jesus as soon as possible. Now the instigator of this wicked gathering was satan himself. The rising of Lazarus from the dead brought the hostility of satan against Christ to a climax, for his evil claim to the power of death was threatened. Hence, through these religious leaders of the Jews, satan set his final strategy int motion, a strategy that would result in the crucifixion of Christ, a strategy that satan believed would place Christ under his power of death. The Word of God makes it quite clear that satan, the devil, had tried over and over again to stop the Christ, the Seed of the woman, through the power of death - Abel, Joseph, Baby Moses, Israel at the Red Sea, David and his seed, the whole nation in Esther's time, etc.

So in a little town called Bethany, about one and three fourths miles from Jerusalem, the greatest battle of the ages was in process. He that is the Resurrection, and the Life, met him that had the power of death! And this battle would find both its end and triumph upon the Cross of Christ. Through the raising of Lazarus from the dead, God was revealing one of the greatest principles in His New Creation in Christ, Life out of death = Resurrection Life.

Therefore, as Lazarus, and his sisters, Mary and Martha, suffered under the throes of the power of death, Jesus said: "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." Let us note the preposition, "for," in the phrase, "for the glory of God"; because, in this instance, the word, "for," has the underlying sense of "a sacrifice in behalf of." Therefore, this sickness of Lazarus was not unto death, but it was a sacrifice in behalf of the glory of God.

God did not cause Lazarus to be sick - this was the work of him that had the power of death, the devil. But God, through His Omniscient Foreknowledge, knew what would take place in the little village of Bethany, not many days before His Son would lay down His life. And, so, before He laid the foundation of the world, He planned that the sickness of Lazarus WOULD NOT BE unto death, it would not be a victory for him who had the power of death, BUT IT WOULD BE FOR "the glory of God" in order that "the Son of God might be glorified thereby." Behind Lazarus' sickness was  the glory of God's sacrifice of His Son - and through the sacrifice of His Son, through the Son laying down His life for the Father and for ALL that His Father had purposed, the Son would be glorified - His Cross, His Resurrection, His Ascension would become an eternal living reality!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 3 - "Christ Glorified - the Holy Spirit Given")

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