Taking the Ground of the Heavenly Man (continued)
The Truth Illustrated In the Case of:
Take some examples. Nicodemus presents himself to the Lord Jesus as interested in Divine things, interested in what he calls the kingdom of God. He feels that Jesus can tell him something, and give him some information. "Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God..." (John 3:2). Well, You can tell us something! The Lord does not begin to give him information. He does not begin to satisfy his inquiries, and to open up to him Divine secrets. He makes no response to that inquiry, but He says, in effect: Nicodemus, ruler of the Jews as you are, you have to leave that ground and to come on to another ground altogether; you must be born anew.
As you follow out the meaning of that conversation, and of what the Lord said, you see perfectly clearly that He is only saying in other words, You have to come on to My ground. You must be where I am, before you can know what I know. You want to know what I know. Well, I cannot tell you, but you will know if you are born again; you will have My heavenly knowledge when you occupy My heavenly ground. You can only occupy My heavenly ground by being born from above as I have been. It is a heavenly man's ground for a heavenly man's knowledge. You must leave your own ground. What, leave my ground? What is wrong with my ground? I am a good, upright Israelite, a faithful teacher of the Law! Yes, but you have to leave that ground, the Lord Jesus would say; I am not now dealing with a man and his standing with the Law, I am dealing with you, Nicodemus, a ruler in Israel; you have to leave your ground and come on to Mine.
That is what is clearly to be inferred from John three and the same principle can be followed throughout the Gospel. That is the law which is being applied all the way through.
b. The Inquiring Greeks
You come to chapter twelve and you read: "Now there were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship at the feast: these therefore came to Philip .. and asked him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus" (John 12:21). Then the disciples came and told the Lord Jesus that there were certain Greeks wanting to see Him. What did the Lord Jesus reply? Did He say: Very well, I will come and show them Myself! No! "Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of Man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth, and die, it abideth by itself alone, but if it die, it beareth much fruit" (verses 23, 24). Did they want to see Him? They must come on to His ground. What is that ground? Heavenly ground, resurrection ground. It is not the ground of creation, but you must needs die to get on to this ground. It is not the ground of this earthly life, but you must die to that. Those Greeks could never "see" Him if their thought of Him were as of someone of interest here on this earth; if they had come to see someone of whom they had heard wonderful things, and were looking for a wonderful man who has been performing miracles; if He were as one of the sights of Jerusalem for which they had come to the feast, one of the people to get into touch with. They must leave that ground altogether, and leave it through death (we will come back to that presently); then they shall see Him by corporate relationship: "... if it die, it beareth much fruit." One corn of wheat turned into an ear - and a harvest. That is how the Lord Jesus can be known, by our becoming a part of the corporate Heavenly Man, through death and resurrection. You have to leave the natural ground if you want to see Him. It is not by the contemplation of Him as a historical figure that you see Him; you only see Him by resurrection-union with Him, on the ground of the Heavenly Man.
How true that was with the disciples themselves. He was with them by the space of three and a half years, and yet they really did not know Him, and did not "see" Him; but after He had gone from them, they saw Him and knew Him. The knowledge was something far transcending that of the days of His flesh.
(continued with # 75 - (c. Peter and the Gentiles)