John 11: 30-46

Mark 14: 32-42; 15: 33-38


  BL     I wondered if we could look at the sufferings of Christ.  It is a tremendous subject.  However far we may progress in the truth it is a subject that I do not think we can ever really get away from.  It is something that is to continue to affect us as we consider what it cost the Lord Jesus.  He is spoken of in Isaiah as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”, Isa 53: 3.  It would affect our hearts as we consider these things and know what the Lord endured.

       We read in John.  Think of the feelings of the Lord that are seen here and displayed.  He was moved, deeply moved in spirit, troubled.  He weeps.  We are given to see that.  How much the Lord endured because of man's condition.  We may say He was “acquainted with grief”.  Here He is “acquainted with grief”.  There was much suffering that the Lord had to endure when He came into this scene because of who He was.  Think of that blessed One, God Himself, coming into this scene, taking up a condition of flesh and blood.  He was able to take account beforehand of the condition of things, but think how, as becoming Man, He could see at first hand how the race was affected.  How He must have felt that.  There are many instances, and I trust the brethren may be free to bring them in, of what the Lord endured and suffered because of man's condition as He passed through this scene.  I just read this one in John’s gospel.  

       Think of what it is leading up to, what He had to endure from the hands of a sin-hating God.  Think of that moment at Gethsemane, what lay before Him.  He went through in spirit what He was about to endure in actuality at the cross, and we read of that time too, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  Think of how the Lord Jesus felt that at that time.  In John, the ark is approaching the Jordan, the concentrated power of death was before Him.

       I trust that we may get help in our time together that we may be freshly affected by the sufferings of the Lord Jesus.  I think they are calculated to soften our hearts.  Do you think we could get some help along these lines?

  JR     John would have the family in mind, and how what had come in, sin and its consequences affected the Lord, and He would understand the effect this had on the family.

  BL     Yes, you see that here.  There are three in this family that are spoken of, Martha and Mary and Lazarus.  Death has come and that family link has been broken. Death has come in.  How we see that here.  The Lord allowed it to happen, did He not?  He stayed away.  I think what you say is helpful.  John has the family of God in mind, has He not, and it is to be complete. 

  RB     Paul, when he writes to the saints at Philippi, speaks about having fellowship with His sufferings, Phil 3: 10.  Could you say something about that?

  BL     Well, it is not something that is to be strange to us, is it?  We are to have some understanding of them and there is that which we are to enter into.  There is that which we cannot enter into, but there is that which we are to enter into.  But say more yourself.

  RB     There are His sufferings that we cannot have part in, but there were His sufferings in life.  I wondered if that is what Paul had in mind, what the Lord suffered in His life.  Is that what we have to have fellowship with? 

  BL      Yes, I think so.  There is that which comes in where we read as to on the cross.   There is that which we cannot enter into, there is that which was unique to the Lord Jesus, but as we see what He has gone through and suffered for us, suffering would not be strange to us.

  JAS     Do the depths of His feelings bring out the sinless character of His Person? 

  BL     I think so, yes.  The Lord could feel things as no-one else could feel them, because of that.  We can be affected by things, and we can feel things, and rightly so, but because of the perfection of the Lord Jesus He could feel them in a way far beyond that which we ever can.  He feels the affront to God that sin is.  We in our measure can come into that, but the Lord Jesus is supreme.

  JAS     I wondered that, if it is something we need to develop with ourselves, the consciousness of what these sufferings are in the sight of God.  There is the sorrow of the loss of Lazarus, the family sorrow in that too, but the fact is that it was the consequence of sin.  So maybe we need to look more at the depth of God’s feelings when we think about these sufferings. 

  BL     Yes, that is what I hoped.  When we see what it has cost the Lord Jesus to deal with everything, what He has endured for our sakes, then we are to feel things more.  I suppose it would develop holiness with us, would it?

  JAG     It is a way that we may have to go.  The Lord, as you said earlier, knew that Lazarus was sick, and it was for the glory of God.  He had been dead for four days.  Do you think that the complete exercise would be that as in the family of God we have our links in resurrection, on the other side of death?  He shows His feelings and the power of His love, but the intensity of His support before there is the manifestation of His power in resurrection.  What do you think of that?

  BL     Well, when He comes, the two sisters say the same thing, do they not?  They say it in a different way, but they both say the same thing, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”, and that would be true, but the Lord had more in mind.  I think we see what you say as to our links in resurrection.  It is not just simply life being maintained here in the same order and condition as it was before.  Our links are with the Lord in resurrection, and I think that is what He is really bringing before us here, is it not?

  JAG     So that I do not think we can have an alabaster box before going through this exercise.  Mary has His support in priestly grace as He walks with her to the tomb.  Martha has the language, and we all have that, I suppose, but to be able to appreciate the feelings of Christ and how He feels is a real test as to how near we are to Him.  This is the only scripture where we ever read of the Lord shedding tears apart from Gethsemane.

  BL     Mary affects the Lord, does she not?  It is Mary that affects the Lord.  Martha does not affect the Lord in the same way.  Mary is the one that is going through the exercise.  She is feeling it, she is feeling the sorrow, and then she would feel the joy too later on.  The alabaster box is filled with ointment.  It would have the two ingredients, would it not?  It would have the sorrow and it would have the joy.  She has gone through them both.

  JR     Should our exercises result in what the Lord says here, “thou shouldest see the glory of God”.  The distinctiveness of His glory as the Son of God comes in to view, “marked out Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by resurrection of the dead”, Rom 1: 4.    Should we seek that the exercises through which the Lord may put us are to result in a positive manifestation of His glory?

  BL     Well, I think the way that Mary moves in this section is very instructive for us.  We can perhaps be like Martha, in a hurry for things to happen, whereas Mary is restful.  She has the sorrow but she is restful.  She waits until she gets this word that the Lord calls her and then she goes, and she is able to influence others.  There are those that follow with her.   They did not follow Martha, they followed Mary.  I think it has been said that Mary is a spiritual person.  She would be able to influence persons rightly so that they follow her to where the Lord is.

  EJM     Do you think that, when the Lord says, “Lazarus, come forth”, it is the power of the resurrection: “to know him and the power of his resurrection” (Phil 3: 10), so that we are brought into liberty really, are we not?

  BL     Well, the family is restored, but more than restored, is it not?  “Lazarus, come forth”.  We have often been reminded that if He had stood at that tomb and said, ’Come forth all’, all that were in death would have come forth, but for Lazarus, it was a selective resurrection.

  RB     Matthew, when quoting from Isaiah 53, says, “Himself took our infirmities and bore our diseases”, Matt 8: 17.  Do you think Mary was close enough to Him to have understanding how He felt taking up our infirmities?

  BL     Yes, there is more in Mary.  She has certainly got an understanding .  She says the same thing as Martha does, but she falls at the Lord’s feet.  It is almost a rebuke from Martha, is it not, but Mary has a greater impression of who is there?

  RB     The Lord feels the sufferings of humanity more than any other because He enters into them in the perfection of His humanity, does He not, and He feels them more than we do?

  BL     Absolutely.

  JW     The family felt what had come in because of how it affected them, but the Lord felt it much more deeply.  It says that He was “deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled”.  He came to undo the works of the devil and He felt the whole situation that had come in, do you think?

  BL     Yes, the Lord knew what was going to take place here, and He waited these days.  He knew what was going to happen, but think of the way the Lord is affected by the sorrow of Mary and Martha, too, and these persons.  “He saw her weeping and the Jews who came with her weeping”.  That affects the Lord Jesus, not simply that Lazarus is dead but the effect that that has on the others.  That is what affects the Lord Jesus here.  He was feeling for us.

  GG     I was thinking that.  The Jews think that the Lord had sympathy on natural lines, but His feelings go far beyond that.  Do we need to be near the Lord and know His feelings and come to understand His feelings?  Mary is in that position, is she not?  She is close to Him, and she has some understanding of what His feelings are.

  BL     I think the Lord appreciates that, does He not?  The Lord is looking for something.  There is something in Mary that would be pleasing to the Lord.  There is something formed in her.  The Lord met a case of death in Luke’s gospel in the city of Nain, a widow bringing out her only son.  The Lord had compassion there, but it is love in John, is it not?  The feelings that the Lord expresses are deeper in this gospel.

  JAG     There may have been some unbelief, although they knew the Lord.  They put Lazarus in the grave, they put on the grave clothes, they put on the stone.  They knew Jesus had power to raise him.  We often act like that, and then we have to take off the grave clothes that we have put on, would you say?  It emphasised the Lord’s priesthood, and it is emphasised on the basis of the sufferings, that is how He feels for persons in a way that no mere man could possibly feel.

  BL     Yes, that is helpful.  He is able to intercede on our behalf.  He has been tested, tried.  He has gone through everything in like manner, sin apart.

  RB     Is Mary in sympathy with the Lord in the matter as a result of her typically feeding on the oblation?  It was the food for the priest, was it not?  How He was tried and tested in every way brought out the sweet-smelling savour.  Do you think Mary had been feeding on that, and therefore she can understand something of the Lord’s feelings and His sufferings in the circumstance that the family was being passed through?

  BL     Yes, I am sure that is right; so there are many ways we can feed on the Lord Jesus and the oblation is one of them.  It helps us in a measure to come out like Him, does it not, as we feed on Him?

  RB     It would bring out body feelings, would it not?  If one member suffer we all suffer.  How often we say that, but do we really enter in sympathetically with our brethren when they are suffering, suffering in their bodies, suffering with their work or suffering in various ways?  Can we enter sympathetically into their circumstances with them?

  BL     Well, I think if we are truly affected by the sufferings of Christ and our hearts are softened in that way, we can take account of what is going on with those that we know or those that we do not know.  There are so many.   We would think of them all, would we not?  Martha has not really taken in what the Lord has said to her.  The Lord said to her in the section before we read, “I am the resurrection and the life: He that believes on me, though he have died, shall live; and every one who lives and believes on me shall never die.  Believest thou this?  She says to him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God” (vv 25-27), but then there seems to be something lacking in her, does there not?  She is still thinking on natural lines.  She is looking to the last day.  The believer is not only waiting for the last day.

  JD     The teaching of the epistles helps us to take off the grave clothes.  Do you think that would help as we follow instructions that come in as we get free of one order of things and come into another?

  BL     Yes, it is interesting that the Lord commands, but the Lord does not do it, He lets them do it.  Lazarus does not do it himself.  What would you say?  Are we to help one another?

  JD     I cannot say too much about it, but I think there is an onus on ourselves to work out some of these moral and spiritual exercises and as we do, and as we progress in the epistles, what is individual becomes collective, do you think, when there is help from one another too?

  BL     Yes, because in the next chapter they made the Lord a supper.  As a result of this exercise that is gone through, the family is complete and the Lord is the Centre of an occasion with them.

  EJM     Colossians says that He might have the first place (chap 1: 18), that He might be everything and in all, chap 3: 11.  The Lord puts us through these things so that He might have a greater place with us, do you think?

  BL     Yes, this was allowed to happen, and we are not tested beyond what we are able for.  How gracious the Lord is.  Think of all the support He is to them here, resulting in the glory of God.

  EJM     The Song of Songs says, “Awake, north wind, and come, thou south; Blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow forth. Let my beloved come into his garden”, chap 4: 16.  She was exercised, was she not, that the Lord might have His place, and then He says, “I am come into my garden”, chap 5: 1.

  BL     There is an area where the Lord can enjoy something, is there not?  It is what we speak of, what is for the Lord’s own heart.

  JAG     They have to take away the stone and expose the whole thing, and see how far this has gone.  It has even gone into corruption.  He is four days there, which is more than three days which is death, burial and resurrection.  This is the absoluteness of death here.

  BL     You wonder, do you not, at the end of the section that we read, “Many therefore of the Jews … saw what he had done, believed on him; but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done”?  There is still unbelief.  You can hardly take it in, can you?  It is a tremendous thing that there is no question that Lazarus was dead, and that he was now raised, and yet there is still unbelief.  

  JAG     The Lord helps us to look the thing fully in the face and see what is actually factual, death and corruption.  Martha says, “He stinks already”.  Well, the Lord knew that and if you take away the stone, you will certainly feel the smell, but it brings out the glory of the Son of God, the power of it.  There is nothing impossible for the Lord in this area; we would speak now of moral death.

  JAS     The glory of God is connected with resurrection.  Our brother spoke of moral death, and as we come through it ourselves we see and appreciate the glory of God.

  BL     Well, that is the result in view.  It is what is for God.

  JAG     We have all had to have the grave clothes taken off us, and we would know how that is done because we have had it done, and that shows that the fulness of the gospel does that.  It sets us up in life and we stand on our feet.

  BL     Well, it has often been said that we do not hear of Lazarus saying anything, but in the next chapter he is present, is he not?

  AW     Is there something of this arrived at when Martha says, “I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God”.  But there is something more than that, something arrived at out of resurrection.  She is a bit more serviceable there, as you commented.

  BL     Yes, we may have the truth objectively before us, and we can say the right things, but do we really believe them?  That is what tested Martha, was it not?  Did she really believe what she said?  If she believed it then what she said in verse 39 would not have come in there.  “Jesus says to her, Did I not say to thee, that if thou shouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”

  MM     Lazarus had a handkerchief bound round his face.  That is to be removed, is it, to see the glory of Christ?  That is what we want to view when we enter into the service of God to glimpse His glory.  That is the Centre, is it not?

  JAG     It is a wonderful demonstration of power, because it is obvious that he did not walk out.

  JW     Romans says He is “marked out Son of God in power … by resurrection of the dead” (Rom 1: 4).  Do you think we need to have faith in what He is able to do as the Son of God?

  BL     Yes, it is the Son of God that the man in chapter 9 had come to, was it not?  There is some doubt in these persons here, is there not?  He made the blind man see, “Could not this man, who has opened the eyes of the blind man, have caused that this man also should not have died?”  The Son of God, the One who opened the eyes of the blind man, is the One who takes Lazarus out of the grave, is He not?  

  JW     Yes, I think so.  I was just thinking of what He did in chapter 5.  He says, “An hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs shall hear his voice”, v 28.  In a certain sense we have faith as to that, but He also says, “The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that have heard shall live”, v 25; that would be current, do you think?

  BL     That is helpful.  Well, the Son of God is what He is on God’s side.  It is the title He has as taking manhood, but it is what He is on God’s side.  The glory here is for God.  Lazarus and the family come into the benefit of it, but the end result is for God, is it not?

  JMcK  Say more as to the matter of “Loose him, and let him go”.  There is no reflection on the Lord’s work.  He had brought Lazarus back from the dead, but do you think there is something the saints have to do, and He gives them credit of having the knowledge and ability to do it.  

  BL     I suppose it shows the condition he was in, does it not?  Yes, the Lord could have done that but He leaves it for others to do.  I suppose it is so that He can loose him and let him go that Lazarus is freed, set at liberty.

  RB     Do you think we need to understand why the Lord remained two days in verse 6?  He could have come right away but He remained two days.  Do you think if we wait for the Lord in exercise we can intelligently enter into the matter when it comes up?

  BL     Well, the disciples were with the Lord at the beginning of the chapter, and they did not quite understand what was taking place, and why they were waiting.  The Lord had to speak to them plainly.  It may be that the Lord needs to do that to us.  We are sometimes a bit slow.

  RB     But had the Lord not waited we would never have got that manifestation of Himself in verse 25.  Do you think as we wait upon the Lord in exercise we come away with a fresh impression of His glory, so that we can enter intelligently into the matter?

  BL     I am sure that should be the case.

  RB     Because we really get a view of Him as the great Accomplisher of all the divine will and all the divine counsels, “I am the resurrection and the life”.

  AMcK  It says in one of the Gospels that the Lord took His disciples, “And he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things”, Mark 8: 31.  Do you think that would connect with what was said about being intelligent as to it?  All these exercises that are passed through are for the saints to learn, is that right?

  BL     He showed them.  He did not just tell them about it, but He showed them.  Everything that the Lord did while He was here, whether it was curing diseases, making people see, whatever it was, such as raising Lazarus here, it was all showing, it is what the Lord did.  They should have been able to take account of that.  It was a time of instruction for them, and it all cost the Lord something, did it not?

  AMcK  It brought about a reproof for Peter, did it not?  He did not catch on at all, but then the Lord has a reproof for him that he was not thinking of the things of God, he was thinking of the things of men.  There is a reference here from Martha, “The teacher is come and calls thee” so the Lord is ready to teach, is He not, so that these things should become instilled into us?

  BL     Well, we should be able to take account of all these things that the Lord did and what it cost Him because it meant that He had to die, did it not?  In healing these persons, the cost was that the Lord would have to die; it meant His sufferings.

  CMcK  Do you think it is as we are conscious of the Lord’s love for us as the motivation behind His sufferings?  This gospel is written by one who knew that, as he leaned on the Lord’s breast and was conscious of the Lord’s love for him.  And Mary knew that too.

  BL     Yes, that is why I think it is grace and compassion which are emphasised in Luke, but it is love in John and John was the one who knew the Lord’s love and he is able to write about it in a way that is to affect each one of us.

       We should move on to Mark.  Matthew and Mark are the pressure gospels.  Gethsemane, as the place is named, I understand means 'winepress'; and it involved pressure for the Lord.  In Luke’s gospel it is the Mount of Olives, the place where He was accustomed to go to speak with His Father, the elevated area where the Lord found rest in speaking with His Father.  In John’s gospel it is simply a garden because John has the Lord before us, it is not exactly where He is, but it is who is there.  But here the place is named.  This is pressure like no other pressure.  It is to affect us.

  GG     He goes away from them slightly.  “He says to his disciples, Sit here while I shall pray … And, going forward a little, he fell upon the earth; and he prayed …”   He moved away from His disciples.  What would you say about that?

  BL     Well, as the ark approached the Jordan there were two thousand cubits, was there not?  You might say that would be the eleven here; Peter and James and John went a little further on than the others, but there is still some distance.  They are close enough to be able to take account of something, are they not, but there is that measure of distance?  

  GG     Do you think it might emphasise that He was alone in that suffering, was He not?  Although we can contemplate it, He was alone in it.

  BL     That is good, because when we come to the cross there were three hours of darkness.  But here there is something which we can contemplate.

  RB     Do you think that the contemplation of what is in this section would help us when we are going through suffering and pressure?  I oft-times wonder why the Lord took Peter, James and John.  Do you think the Lord was teaching them how to behave under pressure, how to rely on the Father?  What do you think?

  BL     They were not able for it, were they?  But the Lord goes through the whole matter.  Think of what was before Him, and He goes through the whole matter in His spirit; He goes through it with the Father.  Satan is here too, is he not?

  RB     So Peter in his epistle can speak of having Christ as a model.  

  BL     Well, we will maybe come to that later.  “He prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him … take away this cup from me”.  That brings out the perfection of His humanity, does it not?  The One who was there was a perfect Man.  What lay before Him, He shrank from.  It brings out the perfection of His humanity.  It is the Father’s will that is paramount, is it not?  But yet in the perfection of His manhood, what lay before Him was terrible and awful, and He felt that.  That is why He asked, but it is not possible.  Think of that!  Think of the love which lies behind everything, a love that took the Lord Jesus this way, because if the Lord had not gone we could not have come into any blessing at all.  

  JAG     We actually put Him there.  

  BL     He asks three times.  What would you say about that?

  JAG     Well, I think it is sufficient to know the Father’s will.  Paul asks three times, “I thrice besought the Lord”, 2 Cor 12: 8.  Persevere in prayer is the general thought.

  BL     The Lord has His answer here, does He not?  It is the only section of scripture that we have where the Lord uses the words, “Abba, Father”.  Think of that, He took this cup from the hands of His Father.  He speaks to Him here as, “Abba, Father”.

  JAG     He goes through the whole exercise of the three hours of darkness in His spirit, and He is ready for it when it comes.  Tremendous thing!

  BL     He goes through it with the Father here because when we come to the forsaking it is God, is it not?

  JAG     “He who … has not spared his own Son”.

  AMcK  It is very affecting what you say, “My soul is full of grief even unto death”.  The reality of the matter was there right before Him, was it not?  And then it says, “Going forward a little, he fell upon the earth”.  We do not read of the Lord moving like this before, do we, but “He fell upon the earth”?  Very shortly He would fall into the ground and die, John 12: 24.

  BL     So that He brings forth much fruit but the time that He is alone has to be gone through first.  The Lord had never been alone.

  JAG     He is rending the cup of death out of the hands of the devil.  The devil is here with all his power.

  BL     Yes, I think it is important to see that.  Satan had tempted the Lord in all things in the temptations at the beginning of His pathway of service (Luke 4: 13), and now here we are coming near to the end of His pathway of service and Satan comes back with all his armoury.  Think of the power of death.  It is what Satan had, was it not?  It was Satan’s power at this moment here, but the Lord is going to go in and defeat him and annul him who had the might of death, Heb 2: 14.  Satan is bringing all this to bear on the Lord at this time.

  MM     So the power that is strong as death is the power of love (SofS 8: 6), and was shown in Abraham and Isaac typically, Gen 22: 2.  But for the Lord there was no substitute.

  BL     Abraham and Isaac, “they went both of them together”, Gen 22: 8.  The Father and the Son are going on here together.

  RB     That is why the Spirit of God gives us the burnt-offering before He gives us the oblation in Leviticus 1 and 2.

  BL     The burnt-offering is first, and what is for God in it.

  RB     In this section, He asks that the cup be taken from Him; but the burnt-offering gives us, “becoming obedient even unto death”, Phil 2: 8.

  JR     What is the bearing in this section?  We referred to the family in John.  What is the teaching for us in Mark?

  BL     Well, the Lord is Servant in Mark, is He not?  He was the perfect Servant, a Model for us in that, a Model for us in everything.  It is not only what the Lord does in Mark, it is the way He does it.  What would you say yourself?

  JR     I thought that as a recovered person, Mark would appreciate in a deeper way what the Lord’s sufferings meant.

  BL     Well I am sure that is right.

  JW      Hebrews says, “For consider well him …”, Heb 12: 3.

  BL     And John, “We have contemplated his glory”, John 1: 14.

  JW     I do not think we could consider this without it having some effect on us.

  BL     Well, that was my exercise that in considering these wonderful matters it would soften our hearts.  When we see what it cost the Lord Jesus to deal with sin and sins, we are to be affected so that as we feel what it has cost the Lord, we are to have a greater judgment of these things ourselves.  

  EJM     Paul would say of the sin-offering, “Him who knew not sin he has made sin for us”, 2 Cor 5: 21.  Our feelings have to be affected as we contemplate it. He says prophetically, “The waters encompassed me, to the soul”, Jonah 2: 5.  He went through it in a feeling way, did He not, and we are to be affected too?

  JAG     We can see the absolute perfection of Christ, that we find here in complete submission.  It is something like the fragrant incense on the mercy-seat on the Day of Atonement.  There is no flaw and He is without blemish.  It is all here, and on the cross the depth of holiness is absolute.

  BL     Yes, that is good.  So that outwardly it may seem that it is man’s hour.  Judas is just about to come and betray Him, but the timing is all in God’s hand, is it not?  It is all in the Father’s hand.  The timing is perfect.  “Sleep on now, and take your rest.  It is enough; the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is delivered up into the hands of sinners.  Arise, let us go; behold, he that delivers me up has drawn nigh.” There is no delay, but it is the Father’s timing, it is not man’s timing. It is something else to consider in the sufferings of the Lord.  Before this section He had had to tell Peter, He had had to tell them all, “But Peter said to him, Even if all should be offended, yet not I.  And Jesus says to him, Verily I say to thee, that thou to-day, in this night, before the cock shall crow twice, thou shalt thrice deny me.  But he said so much exceedingly the more, If I should have to die with thee, I will in no wise deny thee.  And likewise said they all too.”   Then they all fled.  The Lord was going where no-one could follow.  Think of how He must have felt the betrayal of Judas too.

       Then we get His physical sufferings which come at the hands of the Romans in being nailed to the cross.  I finished with Mark 15.  We see the Lord here, He stood alone.  At any time the Lord addresses His Father.  He addressed God as Father throughout His three years of service; but, as forsaken on the cross, He says, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

  AB     Can you help us as to why He says, “My God”?

  BL     Well, it is God’s righteous judgment of sin, is it not?  He was bearing that.  The Father does not judge.  It is God’s judgment, between God and man.

  AB     Yes, I think so, God and man.   The tabernacle of God is to be with man, so that the thought of God and man goes on to eternity.   So the death and the sufferings that Jesus went through took all that into account.

  BL     Yes, God’s judgment is exhausted, is it not, completely exhausted?

  JAG     He has taken on man’s responsibility, the responsibility of the whole race.  It is not relationship, it is God and man.

  GG     It is often said that He measured sin’s distance.  That was the awfulness of sin; on the other hand it was the upholding of what was holy, what was right, all God’s righteousness.  It is quite a thing to contemplate that measurement.

  BL     That is helpful.  

  Thou didst measure then sin’s distance      (Hymn 298).  

  No-one could measure it like the Lord could and it would bring out the perfection of His humanity again.  It depends on who He is as God, but He took it on as Man.  He is bearing the righteous judgment of God.

  JAG     And He completes it, so that God has nothing more to say to sin, ever.

  BL     The cross is penal, is it not?  His atoning sufferings are endured on the cross, but the atoning work involved that One who was made sin had to be buried, and the man that sinned was to be put out of God’s sight forever. Christ's blood had to be shed.  That is the atoning work.

  JR     Are the active sufferings on the cross distinguished from His sufferings in the grave?  

  BL     Yes, I think that is helpful.  

  JAG     “Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death” (Acts 2: 24).   Sins are forgiven but sin is condemned.  

  RB     Do you think as you contemplate it you get a sense in your soul of the awfulness of the Lord’s feelings as He was made the very thing that He abhorred?  “Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin”, Isa 53: 10.

  BL     Well there is that which we cannot go into.  There is that which is beyond us.  In our measure, as we feel things, how much more it must have been to the Lord.  It raises the question, how does that affect me?

  JD     I was only thinking it has been said that the Lord suffered from man on account of righteousness, and from God on account of sin.  Do you think it brings out how full the sufferings of Christ were?  The question for me at least is how much I have contemplated or entered into an appreciation of them.

  BL     Well, it is a tremendous subject.  It is one that is inexhaustible and it is to affect our hearts.

  DWS     You get some impression too of God’s feelings in the matter.  Someone said He judged the thing He hated most in the One He loved the most.  In the way Christ went, He took the full wrath of God and in doing so took our sins out of His sight.  It is wonderful.

  BL     I think it has also been said that He was never more pleasing to the Father than at this moment.  He was there in complete obedience and subjection to the will of Another.

  MM     His sufferings and work are foundational in view of securing everything for God.  It was remarked earlier about the time when the Lord began to show to the disciples that He must suffer, in Matthew 16, and it is immediately after He reveals the rock on which He is going to build the assembly, and it is so that He might secure that vv 18, 21.

  BL     Yes.  Without that He would have been in God’s presence as Man forever but alone, but think of the result, what has been secured.  

       Well, I trust we may be affected and our hearts may be softened as we consider that the Lord had to go this way for me.

  RB     Mr Darby was asked the question as to what the Lord was thinking about fallen humanity when He made this cry.  Mr Darby said, ‘No, He was thinking about His God’ but, he added, ‘God was thinking about you and me’.

  BL     I wondered about that.  The Lord knew the answer to this, did He not, and He knew why He was being forsaken, but He asks this question.  Do you think it was so that those that would hear have written it down for us to affect us as to the distance, the depth, what it involved for the Lord to be forsaken of God.  

  GG     The words are given us in the original, the very words the Lord Himself used on the cross.

  BL     Yes.  There are a few instances where that is the case, but here is one that stands out, the very words of the Lord Himself.  So the Lord knows when the matter is finished, does He not?  He had authority to lay down His life and that is what He does.  The matter is complete.  He knows that that cup has been drained, the very last drop has been drained, the cup of God’s wrath.



  14th October 2006