1. The Sign of the Ultimate Purpose (continued)
This beginning of signs related to His glory. Then if He takes hold of this thing and turns it thus to be a sign, the meaning is that He projects upon the screen, as it were, all the purpose of His coming - a marriage relationship upon the basis of Life, and that Life is found in His blood - and the ultimate purpose looms into view. The hour in which He is glorified is the hour when He gets that which stands in relationship to Him as a bride; and this throws you right on into that unveiling through Paul, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church, and gave Himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25). That is the end of this. His hour is related to that, and His glory is related to that. In simple words, it is that which the Son of man requires for the manifestation of His glory - that Church, which stands in this relationship to Him upon a basis of one Life, and for which He gave Himself.
He takes hold of this which otherwise would have been an ordinary occasion of social festivity, turns it to account, and makes it the occasion of the sign of His ultimate purpose. "This beginning of signs" - that is what it signifies here; and the miracle of Death and Resurrection by which He gets His Church is foreshadowed, foreseen, in this - the Life poured out, the basis of a union. "Mine hour" - that is "the hour;" and He has, as we have indicated, deliberately stepped out to that.
As we pass on, let us take with us this central thought that it is a Life which is in question, which is to be shared by a corporate company in a marital union with the Lord Jesus in His Resurrection; a Life, a Triumphant Life, by which the Church is secured triumphantly over death. Now we cannot stay for anything more about that, but we take up the clue and pass on with that in our hands.
2. The Security of the Ultimate Purpose
The next is in John 7:30. "They sought therefore to take Him: and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour was not yet come."
What was His own later comment upon that? "No one taketh (My Life) away from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power (authority) to lay it down, and I have power (authority) to take it again. This commandment received I from My Father" (John 10:18).
No man laid his hand upon Him because His hour was not yet come - the hour of His authority for laying down that life. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was not just to be murder. The murderer - he, the devil, of whom the Lord said, "he was a murderer from the beginning" - was out to murder the Son of God, and he was seeking all the way through to bring about His untimely death, His destruction, and you notice how varied were his methods.
The first such temptation was - "Cast Thyself down from hence: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee ... On their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest Thou dash Thy foot against a stone (Luke 4:9-11). You see, the devil was trying to bring about His undoing and His death by not keeping in the way of God. If the Lord had acted upon the basis projected by the devil, the angels could not have upheld Him: He would have been dashed to pieces. That would have been the been the untimely end; and the Master saw through it. From that first time of temptation onward the devil was out to murder Him; but the death of Christ was not to be murder. His death, when it came about, was to be deliberate and in the will of God, and therefore victorious, not in defeat.
Now, as you have the sign of the ultimate purpose in the first occasion, here you have the security of the ultimate purpose. That Life cannot be touched by man; it is a thing which man cannot interfere with. The laying down of that Life is a deliberate act of authority, and in the same authority it will be taken up again - the triumph of that Life in resurrection, because it is in the will and purpose of God, and neither devil nor man can touch that.
It is very blessed to know this as a practical thing, that if we possess that Life and are keeping in the way of the Lord, there can be no untimely end. Everything will be deliberate, however it may appear. The murderer is defeated, the purpose is secured in that Life, in the triumph of that Life, as it is kept sheerly in the way of the Divine will. Deviate from that way and there is no guarantee of protection from the murderer. Keep in that way, and "no man laid his hand upon Him, because His hour was not yet come." The security of the ultimate purpose is in that Life maintained in the will of God.
(continued with # 3 - (The Law of the Ultimate Purpose)