Reading At 3, Lonsdale Square

Read John 11:28 and on

In verse 25, “Resurrection and the life” is the power of life come into the world, in the Person of Christ.

It was a new thing. The Jews could all understand healing the sick, so Martha says (and Mary too), “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.”

Ques. In what sense does Martha own Him to be the Son of God?

As born into the world. And, as Son of God, they were bound to own Him to be the Messiah.

This Gospel does not give us a genealogy to Abraham or to Adam. John presents Jesus as “Son of God,” and as “The Word” which “was God.”

We now get God’s final testimony to Christ’s three characters. Here, it is Son of God; in chapter 12:12-15, it is Son of David; and in chapter 12:20-23, it is Son of man; and as such He was rejected as come into the world. The Psalms open so. Psalm 1 gives you a remnant separated; it is not the nation publicly, but a remnant; that is the first principle of the book. In Psalm 2 you get Messiah’s place in God’s counsels, and then in man’s heart (not redemption at all) but in spite of man, He is set King in Zion. Next, out from that you get troubles, the result of Christ’s rejection by man. Then in Psalm 8 you get the Son of man crowned with glory and honour—God’s full intention accomplished in Christ. These three Psalms form a basis.

So in John. He was Son of God and King of Israel, but He says He must die for that.

The remnant will be looking for deliverance from Jehovah, but will not know Him as Redeemer until they see Him.

Christ entered into all the sorrow round Him at the grave; He groaned and was troubled; He saw the power of death over all these poor things; He enters thoroughly into it, and it presses upon Him. But He comes into the scene of death in the power of life.

Although He was One who could raise the dead, yet He does it only in service, because He had taken the place of a servant, and so He asks for it, “Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.”

Ques. Would you pray for everything you wanted?

The prayer of want is all right. “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

But the prayer of faith is always answered.

Christ did die for the nation, that all the promises of God might be fulfilled in a double way. He had promised under law, “if ye shall,” i.e., upon condition; but to Abraham He had promised without condition; and, as to that, God was bound to perform.

At Sinai they took up the promises on condition of their own obedience, and they lost them all. They are to have all ultimately in another way, and so the apostle says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” etc.

Losing the promises under the law did not go the whole way, but it threw them upon absolute mercy, just like the Gentile; yet God fulfils His promises.

Ques. What is the connection between the promises and the new covenant in Hebrews 8?

In that passage it is that they must be born again, and then the law is written upon their hearts.

The new covenant is the shape in which it is to be done.

Ques. In Romans 15 Christ confirms the promises made unto the fathers, and yet the Gentiles glorify God for His mercy?

Yes. It was for the truth of God that Christ confirms the promises. But the Jews were sinners as well as the Gentiles, and they would not have the promises. So the promises were fulfilled righteously to this rebellious people through the cross, for Christ died for the nation, it having rejected Him as a living Messiah, and thus lost title to them. God will fulfil them, only the Jews have to come in on the ground of mercy, not on that of promise.

So the Lord told Nicodemus, you can’t have these promises until you are born again, not even the earthly thing. But God will carry out all His purposes.

Ques. All!!? It says, “That the world through him might be saved”?

That is not a purpose of God at all.

Ques. What is “the everlasting covenant”?

That is the whole thing, between the Father and the Son, I suppose you may say, “A body hast thou prepared me,” and, “Lo, I come to do thy will.” We are not under the new covenant, though we do get the good of it, and a great deal more.

Ques. Is the difference between the old and new covenants this, that the old is conditional, and the new is unconditional?

Precisely so. In the old you have “two,” and it came to nothing, but “a mediator is not of one,” and in the new, “God is one,” and so God is bound and He says, “I will write.”

Ques. What is a “covenant”?

Terms on which God prescribes for His people.

Ques. If we are not under the new covenant, how is Paul an able minister of it?

There would not be a ministry if we were under it.

Ques. Has a Christian a new heart?

Yes. But that is not a cleansing of the old one, just as if this table, say, was very dirty, and then the mahogany was well cleaned. That is the Wesleyan or Arminian idea of a new heart.

Ques. Then instead of mahogany, you would have rosewood?

Only the mahogany is there still. While, of course, new creation does effect cleansing.

Ques. If that is the everlasting covenant, what is the “counsel of peace”?

That was between Melchisedec and Jehovah, and is for blessing upon the earth.

“Gather together in one,” is not church unity, but fallible unity.

John never touches the question of the church, it is all individual with him.

Ques. What was it that had scattered them?

It does not say that they had been scattered as by a single act, but only that they were then in that state.

Chapter 12

Mary’s heart had been touched, and she was in spirit and in heart associated with Christ’s death. That was a new place altogether.

I suppose her heart had gone beyond her knowledge— “Here is the One I love going to die.” Mary entered into that and gave it a voice. The Lord knew what she meant. She was no prophet, but her heart had the intuitive sense of what was coniing on. They say that this Mary never went to the grave, and it does not appear that she did.

Ques. In Mark 14:3, she anointed His head; here, it is His feet; while in Luke 7 the woman of the city only anointed His feet?

It was not as a sinner that Mary came, so she anointed His head as well as His feet.

It is striking how the disciples came out at the end; Judas led, and they all chimed in with him, that it was “waste.” Mary’s is the one single instance of any one entering into the mind of Christ. You never get that among the disciples; they never understood Him; and, on that account, I take it, it is to be told for a memorial of her.

In verse 10 you get the dreadful hardness of the chief priests. They consult to put Lazarus to death, because he had been raised up by the power of God.

In verse 20 it is true Greeks, not Hellenists.

He could not have had joint heirs, if He had not died to redeem them.

A living Messiah was a Jewish Messiah, but a crucified Messiah became the attractive point for the whole world.

“If any man serve me, let him follow me”; that recalls a line I read many years ago, “It is harder to live a Christian than to die a martyr.”