John 11: 1-44
John 12: 1-3
DJW We considered earlier the matter of spiritual refinement, and how it is arrived at. We looked in Hebrews 12 at those who were exercised by chastisement and discipline that “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (v 11), might be known. We saw how that was worked out in John 15 with the Lord as the Vine, and the need to abide in the Vine. What may hinder has to be removed, as illustrated in Job. He went through much discipline, but he had twice as much as he had before; there were certain features seen in him which spoke of spiritual refinement, which were largely, although not wholly, individual.
In this reading, we might see spiritual refinement in a company, a locality, such as Bethany. The chapter starts, “Now there was a certain man sick, Lazarus of Bethany”; that was the locality. It was a locality that the Lord had frequented and indeed in which He found refreshment. The psalmist says, “He shall drink of the brook in the way”, Ps 110: 7: something of that would enter into the Lord going to Bethany. Death comes into the family - John emphasises the side of the family, as we know. Mr Darby said, ‘let not John’s ministry be forgotten in insisting on Paul’s’, JND Letters vol 3 p223. That would mean that the family side provides the atmosphere in which Paul’s ministry can be worked out and enjoyed. The Lord knew what He was going to do; He always does; and this comes to the fore here because verse 2 of chapter 11 says, “It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick”. That refers to what happens in the next chapter, but that is the positive result, and it is what the Lord knew was going to be in view.
The remarkable thing in this chapter is that death was allowed to come in, in all its awfulness, in that Lazarus was “four days already in the tomb”. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, “he remained two days then in the place where he was”; He did not immediately go to Bethany. He had in view that there were things to be worked out and brought through to fruition in the waiting time. His being glorified as the Son of God required that death should come in in all its completeness. The Son of God was the One who had the power over death, the One who is “the resurrection and the life”. Therefore, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it”. You have something very positive worked out; and not only in those in Bethany. The Lord says to the disciples, “I rejoice on your account that I was not there, in order that ye may believe”; it entered into the education of the disciples. The Lord might work out more than one thing at a time; He is great enough for that.
Martha meets Him coming. In Luke 10, Martha does not come out in a very good light. She was rather complaining about Mary leaving her to do the serving and indeed complaining to the Lord, “dost thou not care”, v 40. Here, there is no reference to that side of things in Martha; the conversation that she has with the Lord brings out the work of God that is in her, and what was arrived at. She says, “Yea, Lord; I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God”. This was light that dawned in her soul; and it is remarkable that the Lord remains in the place where she met Him. He stayed there until Mary came, as if a certain point had been reached that would have to be gone over with Mary. The feelings of the Lord Jesus come out in a distinct way too, brought out by seeing Mary weeping and the Jews weeping; and very affectingly it says, “Jesus wept”. He entered very feelingly into their exercise, and they no doubt learned Him in a way that they had not done before. They could never have learned Him this way without death coming in. He becomes everything to them. It is not just a question of meeting their needs; He becomes everything to them. The result is seen in chapter 12; each one had their part, and “Lazarus was one of those at table”. There were others also at table, but a certain dignity attached to Lazarus. Martha served without any complaint, but then Mary had this “pound of ointment of pure nard of great price”. She had it as a result of exercise. I think it is another illustration of “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” that she “anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair, and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment”. The house was filled with the odour of the ointment when it was placed upon the feet of the Lord Jesus and it filled the house.
This is not the Supper as we know, because the Supper is what the Lord provides for us: this was a supper that they provided for Him. You can see that there was something very rich and very real in Mary’s service in anointing His feet. She was intelligent as to His going into death, and the odour of that filled the house; something of that character, I think, as coming into the Lord’s supper, would be “the peaceful fruit of righteousness”.
JBI Would it be right to say that the family made Him the supper? I was thinking of your exercise that this was discipline gained from by the whole company. In chapter 12, He is the centre of that company.
DJW Yes, they acted together; He now becomes everything to them. That is the result of exercises that the God allows, maybe over a protracted period; things are wrought out in each one of our souls with a view to something being released in appreciation of Christ.
DJW-s At the end of verse 3 it says, “The sisters therefore sent to him”, in the plural. Is it in your mind that the Lord may be working something out subjectively in the saints, more than just in individuals?
DJW I think that is right. It is in “the sisters”; suggesting an assembly exercise. They felt that something had come in that they could not meet themselves. They appeal to the Lord; their knowledge of Him would show that He was the only One that they could appeal to, the only One that could resolve it.
GMcK Did you have in mind that sometimes the exercises needed to be severe in order for the Lord’s end to be reached?
DJW Yes, I was thinking of that. Thus He waited two days before He went. Why was that? It was because it was necessary for the thing to be worked out in that waiting time. He could have gone straight away but He did not. Let us wait on the Lord to see what He is working out, but let us be exercised in our locality as to what He is working out at the present time so that there is a response for Him in a way that there has never been before.
GMcK We do sometimes question, 'Why does it have to be so difficult? Why is it so severe?'. The reason is to secure real dependence on Him and He alone is the fruit of that, is He?
DJW I am sure that is so. Mary had this “pound of ointment of pure nard”. Where did she get it from? Maybe Luke 10 would give us an idea. She “having sat down at the feet of Jesus was listening to his word”, v 39. There was substance formed in her and that became available to the company. What we rightly enter into individually then becomes available to the family here so that they were helped to work through the exercise and come to the same fruitful conclusion. “They made him a supper”.
RDP They seem to appreciate and know His power. They knew what He could do; there was no doubt. They knew the Scriptures; they knew what was to happen. It seems that what you get in chapter 12 is something beyond that. There is an appreciation of the One who had the power. Is that something on the line you are thinking?
DJW Yes, it is. Those in Bethany went through the thing together and arrived at the same positive end. Each of them had their part: “Martha served”, “Lazarus was one of those at table”, and Mary brought this ointment of pure nard and bestowed it upon Him. We need each other for the completion of exercises.
RDP They arrived at it three different ways, but they arrived at the same end. Their experiences were different.
HTF There is no record that there had been any fault on Lazarus’s part. The Lord used this sickness to work something out with all of them. In chapter 12 they are all further ahead than they were before.
DJW Lazarus was the one who died; Martha and Mary did not. They were affected in different ways. As that is worked out - each of us having to do with the Lord in that way - there is some result company-wise. That is really the burden in this reading.
AEM Is there something more in the reference “The sisters”. They placed the Lord’s own relationship with Lazarus above their own: “he whom thou lovest is sick”; not ‘our brother is sick’.
DJW “He whom thou lovest is sick”; each one of them would be conscious of His love. It does not say simply that the Lord loved the three of them at Bethany, but each one is singled out as loved individually. It was even in His love for them that He remained away for two days.
AEM That is something for us to arrive at. They each knew His love for them as we do, but they knew of His love for their brother too. That drew them together and set aside what was natural for them, and allowed the Lord’s claim to have its way.
DJW If there is a common bond of affection it draws us together, and that provides a foundation. The family atmosphere is a basis on which exercises can be worked out to a positive conclusion.
DJW-s Does verse 15 indicate that there was no other way the Lord could have used to bring this end? It says, “I rejoice on your account that I was not there, in order that ye may believe”. Sometimes in exercises we wonder if the Lord could not have worked some other way to accomplish His end. There was only this way.
DJW Only this way, that is right; and He was working out more than one thing at a time. He was working in order that there might be a deeper sense of belief in the disciples than there was before. They are seeing Him in His glory and power as the Son of God who was able to break the power of death. They had not witnessed that before. It was all part of their education.
RDP The natural man might be quite upset by that verse that you have just quoted, “I rejoice on your account that I was not there”. Someone might say on a natural basis that that sounds quite hard-hearted. Perhaps we sometimes draw back at what comes in without seeing that there is a deeper, a spiritual, matter to be worked out.
DJW I think that; it is the burden of my exercise.
DMC In the case of Eutychus, it was Paul himself that descended and enfolded him in his arms. It says, “they brought away the boy alive, and were no little comforted”, Acts 20: 12. All gained from it.
DJW Yes, that is right. They came into the benefit of the power of affection that there was seen in the apostle. It had a benign effect on the whole company. Acts 20 is a scripture where there are great heights reached. I think it has been said that first love is seen in Acts 20. We know that is where Ephesus fell from. The apostle reached great heights in Ephesus, as his epistle brings out, in straitened circumstances. He wrote that epistle from the prison.
DMC He did not take personal credit for the recovery of Eutychus but they all shared in it.
DJW That is part of assembly exercise. We are not just separate individuals in a company; there is the organism working. We are bound up together in affection. Therefore we can enter exercises together in a very real, affectionate way.
JBI At the end of John 10, the Lord Jesus went away, “departed again beyond the Jordan”, v 40. To this company who loved Him there was a real revelation, a wonderful revelation of God’s glory.
DJW Yes, and that was the positive thing in view. He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified by it”. The exercise had to run to its full result, death coming in; how else could the glory of the Son of God be known except through the power that He had? “Lazarus, come forth”.
RDP In chapter 12, having part with Him is an even greater thought than the knowledge of His power, even in this matter of death. What comes to light in chapter 12 is that He has in mind part with Him. We might know what He is in His power and appreciate Him; we praise and thank Him for His power, for His glory, and we appreciate what it is that He is to be in a coming day. Martha says, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last day”; there is something greater than that at the present time and that is to have part with Him.
DJW Part with Him in His own realm.
RDP It is a very blessed and wonderful thing because it is now touching His heart.
DJW It is in His own realm the other side of death. He is the Son and Centre of another order of things the other side of death. That involves passing over from what our circumstances may be into His, where He is everything. We come into accord with the feeling of heaven in relation to Him.
ASP There is no mention of an alabaster flask here. Mary has the ointment in herself. There was something that had to be worked out and it was made available for the whole company. Psalm 51 says,
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
a broken and a contrite heart,
O God, thou wilt not despise, v 17.
Do you think that is what was worked out in the company?
DJW I think it was. It is what she had. It was in her vessel. She poured that out; there was no reserve. She poured out from her heart an appreciation of the One that had raised Lazarus from among the dead, and restored him to the family. She recognised that what He had in view was to be the Centre; He became the One that was everything to them. If we hold on to that at the present time, and in present exercises, I am sure there will be a result to God’s glory.
DCB Is it important that it is the Lord who is the One you are bringing before us on this occasion, as distinct from the Father, who might deal with us individually. I am thinking of His service to the assembly: “nourishes and cherishes it, even as also Christ the assembly”, Eph 5: 29. It is what He has in mind, as having set Himself exclusively for the benefit of the assembly. That is worked out in an example in a local company here.
DJW I think that is right; what you say as to nourishing and cherishing also refers to “the washing of water by the word, that he might present the assembly to himself glorious, having no spot or wrinkle, or any of such things; but that it might be holy and blameless”, v 26, 27. John 12 represents an assembly response. In the exercises the word has been “the washing of water”; it removes anything that would hinder that there might be an assembly response to the heart of Christ.
DJW-s Is there some connection between the “ointment of pure nard of great price” and the “pearl”, Matt 13: 46. The Lord speaks of it as being “of great value”. The pearl may be the fruit of His sufferings.
DJW I am sure that is right; this “ointment of pure nard” was the product of very deep exercise in Mary. There was pressure there; the pressure of death came in upon her. The result of that pressure was really an assembly response.
DJW-s I was thinking of the pearl as representing the whole that collectively was for the Lord.
DJW Yes; we must keep in mind what is for the Lord in everything. It involves what is for us too; primarily it is what is for the Lord.
DJW-s Had you something in mind as to the two days; it is measured.
DJW Yes; everything is measured. “A thousand years are as one day” with Him, 2 Pet 3: 8. He created time, and this was the time that was needed in order that His glory might be known, and that God might be glorified. He is able to bring about circumstances which prolong things. Why does He do it? It is in order that there might be a completion of exercise arrived at in the company. Everything is in His hands; it is not in our hands. We just need to submit ourselves to Him.
DJW s The whole chapter shows that the third day is in view of resurrection.
DJW Yes, that is right. “I am the resurrection and the life”. It opens up another vista of things not known before by these persons, relating to another Man in another world the other side of death; a sphere of things where eternal life is known and enjoyed.
SDP Do exercises worked out in this way in localities bring a certain colour? The glory of the Lord is reflected in a slightly different way in each place.
DJW I think that is right. We all come different ways but related to the same exercise resulting in an impression of Christ which is distinctly our own, and that is for the company. Somebody else may have a distinct impression through the way he has come and that is for the company. It enriches the company and it enriches what is for the heart of Christ.
MTBM In relation to that, it says that she “wiped his feet with her hair”; it was what she did personally; but “the odour of the ointment” filled the whole house.
DJW Yes; everyone got the benefit of that.
MTBM It was not just the pouring of the ointment, there was the wiping of His feet with her hair. The hair of a sister would speak of her glory. It is a very personal and intimate thing.
DJW In assembly exercises, there may also be many tears which go into God’s bottle, Ps 56: 8. Paul took account of the tears of Timothy; “For I have no one like-minded who will care with genuine feeling how ye get on”, Phil 2: 20. This is another thing in spiritual refinement.
MTBM When a brother takes part in prayer or other ways, you do not always know what exercise is behind what has been said. What comes out is formed.
DJW Yes, indeed; that brings out the value of what a company is; it may be small. What we have in Bethany here suggests just a family, rather than a big locality, but it brings out the value of a company and the spiritual refinement that marks each one in that company.
DMC Paul’s exercise in relation to the Corinthians was, “I have espoused you unto one man, to present you a chaste virgin to Christ”, 2 Cor 11: 2. The next verse says, “But I fear lest by any means ...”. There is always a danger.
DJW But our eye is to be exclusively for Christ. The assembly has eyes only for Christ.
DMC Chastening would go along with what we had this morning. There is a process in affection.
DJW That is right, and the individual therefore merges into the company.
JWP We spoke earlier as to Jesus being “the leader and completer of faith” (Heb 12: 2); would this be an example of it here? Mary and Martha had the confidence that the Lord could raise their brother, but it is the Lord who completed it.
DJW You see something here that only the Lord Himself could do. Death had come in. The position seemed hopeless. Only the Lord Himself could resolve this. The only thing in this chapter in which we can have our part is when Lazarus “came forth, bound feet and hands with graveclothes”, when the word is, “Loose him and let him go”. We can serve one another in that way to remove the grave clothes, to remove any sense of bondage and set persons free.
GMcK It is interesting how Jesus says, “Lazarus, our friend, is fallen asleep”. I was wondering if in that way He calls all of them into the exercise. This is somebody who should be precious to us all. There seems to be a reminder in that, “Lazarus, our friend”. Something terrible has happened, and it is ours; we all have an interest, have a motivation, to be called into the exercise and feel it.
DJW I think that is right and the assembly experience is special in that way. The body is an organism, not just a question of so many individuals. We are bound up together in affection. “Lazarus, our friend”; he was friend to all of them and therefore they were affected in the same way. Let us enter into these things with real feeling.
DJW-s There is an interesting expression in the chapter; “Mary therefore”; she came to where Jesus was. Is that the exercise when going through the difficulty to get where Jesus is in it?
DJW I think that is right. It was where He was, where He had worked out something with Martha, so that she believed that Jesus was the Son of God; fresh light came into her soul. Mary came to Him there; the thing was to be worked out with Mary. Mary was a sister who had spiritual influence. When she moved, other persons moved with her. Nobody else moved when Martha moved, but it brought out the spiritual influence that such a person as Mary had, and she comes to where He is. We need to locate the Lord. He appeared to them in a boat in John 6 and they were prepared to let Him into the ship, v 21. The exercise is whether I am prepared to let Him in when He appears. That involves that my will is subject to His.
RDP It is interesting what the two sisters do. “Martha then, when she heard Jesus is coming, went to meet him; but Mary sat in the house”. When they met the Lord they both said the same thing, “if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died”, but one goes to meet Him almost as if she was going to confront Him, and the other stays in the house. I was just thinking how different the spirit is in the next chapter where they all take their various parts, all with Him as the Centre.
DJW We are all different. Martha seems to be the more impulsive, but Mary just sat in the house. She had a more restful spirit. They are altogether with one common object in chapter 12, and that is what we should aim for.
DCB The Lord was prepared to wait two days. Mary was taking on that feature of being prepared to wait.
DJW That is good; in that sense she commits things into the hand of the Lord. She knew that He was the One who was able to meet this exercise. She could not; nobody else could; but she recognised the One who could meet it.
IMcK It says the Lord “was deeply moved in spirit, and was troubled”. What is your impression of what is from the divine side as the company goes through exercise? We have spoken of God’s love and using chastisement. We could not speak of the Lord going through exercise exactly, could we?
DJW No; from a natural point of view there is nothing that draws out compassion more than the breaking of nature’s ties, and it is right that that should be felt. The Lord Himself in manhood here felt it. He was affected by the tears of Mary. He wept Himself. He entered feelingly into what she was passing through. That would be an added thing for Mary to experience, the feelings of a Man. Beloved brethren, we have a Man in heaven; He remains a Man and He has the feelings of a man.
JBI I think you mentioned earlier that assembly exercises are deeper than individual ones, but when we are going through deep exercises; the Lord would enter into that feelingly with us. He has the answer to it all; they knew He had the answer to it all, but He wept here. He entered into it feelingly with them.
DJW Therefore it was another fresh experience for them. You might say we have not been this way before, but what is in view is that we should learn the Lord in a way we have never learnt Him before.
DJW-s Have you something to say to help us as to what the Lord says, “Take away the stone”?
DJW Martha still needed full assurance. She says, “he stinks already, for he is four days there”. The Lord adjusts her: “Did I not say to thee, that if thou shouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”. It is to bring home the reality of death; Lazarus was there in that tomb; he had been there four days, corruption was setting in. There were the crowds around and the Lord “lifted up his eyes on high and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me; but I knew that thou always hearest me; but on account of the crowd who stand around I have said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me”. There is another factor, that the crowds around might believe that the Father had sent Him. All that was involved in taking the stone away and the power of the voice, “Lazarus, come forth”.
DJW-s I was thinking that when they buried him he was dead; now after four days he had gone to corruption. The glory of what the Lord did was enhanced in that way. The exercise had gone another step beyond his dying.
DJW I think that is right. Ephesians finishes by speaking about “all them who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption”, 6: 24. This is what was unveiled here, another scene the other side of death, where no corruption has ever entered. They were to enter into that; what a wonderful thing that was.
DMC It brings out beautifully:
Disease, and death, and demon,
All fled before thy word,
Death could not stand before the Lord Jesus.
DJW He is a wonderful Person to know. Oh, that we might give more room to Him in our hearts, individually and assembly-wise! The result is that there is an ascription of praise and appreciation that was not there before.
JBI In Romans 1, it is “according to the spirit of holiness” that the Lord Jesus was distinguished as raising dead persons such as Lazarus. Is that something that we come into; as in these assembly exercises a sanctified company comes to light?
DJW It links with being partakers of His holiness that we had this morning.
MTBM I would like to enquire as to the Lord’s commandment, “Lazarus, come forth”; John says here, “the dead came forth”. I wondered if you could say something as to this title “the dead”.
DJW It is to emphasise that Lazarus was dead. The Lord had to be plain with the disciples earlier in the chapter. He says, “Lazarus has died”; they thought He spoke about the rest of sleep. Death in all its awfulness was there, and there is only One who could meet that.
PWB Could you say some more about the Lord’s commandment, that they, “Loose him”? It is quite striking; it says of the Lord, “having loosed the pains of death” (Acts 2: 24), He left the domain of death. What a mighty act of power that was! Of course He could have loosed these graveclothes, but He did not. It was a command - it was not a request exactly - and they had to do it. I wondered if that linked in with your thought of assembly exercise. They had to enter into it; could you open that up a little in practical terms?
DJW There were things that only He could do. Only the Lord could raise Lazarus from among the dead. As you say, He could have taken the grave clothes off as well, but do you think He wanted them to enter into the exercise themselves, that there should be a certain end reached in them too? There may be somebody still hindered by grave clothes; in the service of love we can come in to remove any sense of bondage that may remain. He is set free so that he is an integral part of the answer in chapter 12.
PWB I think that is good. We sometimes say the Lord has to work, and there are some things only the Lord can do, but I cannot leave it all to the Lord either: I have to have exercise. It would seem that this would not otherwise have been completed; you could not have imagined Lazarus at the table bound with the graveclothes. The Lord is not going to do it; Mary and Martha did not go into the grave but they did have to have to do with elements that had known that domain. They would have felt that in releasing him from them.
DJW Yes, indeed; it comes back and links with what we began with in Hebrews 12 as to “the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those exercised by it”. In taking the graveclothes off Lazarus they had their part in being exercised by what was proceeding.
PWB Yes, and so in true assembly exercise, I cannot just point the finger and say that was what he did and that was his fault. Every one of us must feel it, and I think every one of them would have felt it as they undid the grave clothes. They would all feel the freedom of being set free from the domain and effects of what death would speak of.
DJW I am sure that is right. The whole concept of fellowship really means that we cannot detach ourselves. We are bound up together, in the cloud of witnesses that we had in Hebrews 12. There is a sympathetic circle in which these things can be worked out. Let us foster these things.
SDP How that brother would have valued his local sisters! Afterwards they were set together in a way that was far beyond natural ties.
DJW They could take account of the fruit of the exercises in each of them. You could say you see that a brother is different. There is a certain thing about his spirit that was not there before, and that is what we are trying to drive at.
DMC Martha said, “he stinks already”; that would have gone as well. Sometimes a stigma remains, but there should not be any stigma; all trace of death should go.
DJW That is the way we can serve one another in removing the graveclothes, remove the stigma.
AEM In chapter 12, he is referred to as “the dead man Lazarus”. That was because of the way he had come, not what was still attached to him; it was the way the Lord had brought him.
DJW Lazarus is not said to have said anything. It is what he was; he was a man that had been raised from the dead, and has a certain dignity attached to him. Is there a certain dignity attached to me as a result of exercises with the Lord?
GMcK This idea of loosing him is interesting. Do you think that there is a particular sweetness at the supper in chapter 12? What they did in comparison to what He had done might seem minuscule. I am interested in the effect in the way of fellowship, that they all could sit there and say, 'I had my part in that'. It is the Lord’s wisdom in that. It seems to give you a very attractive view of what the result was that they could feel they had a part.
DJW Yes, I think that is right, and that made them more intelligent in relation to the path on which the Lord was going. It says, “Jesus therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany”. Mary might have thought this was the last opportunity she would have of bestowing this upon Him before He went into death. He had become everything to them, but Mary seems to have been given intelligence in relation to where He was going. As we come up tomorrow morning to the Lord’s supper, is there a renewed appreciation of the way that the Lord went in suffering love? The emblems speak to us of that.
GMcK You spoke in the earlier reading about our spirits; do you think softening is something that the Lord is working out with us?
DJW I wondered that. I feel for myself that I need to watch my spirit. A hard-hearted spirit would easily mark us naturally. There is a certain maturity, a certain refinement, spiritual refinement, that is manifest to all as a result of the fruit of exercises.
DJW-s Could you say something as to the word “therefore” in verse 3? What does that refer to?
DJW That was taking the opportunity; “Mary therefore” took the opportunity of bringing this ointment of pure nard in appreciation of the way those feet were going to go. She anointed them, and when that ointment was put upon Him that was when the odour filled the house. Everybody had the gain of that, and there was room for nothing else.
HTF Is there a consistency about the place that Mary frequented and appreciated? You said earlier as to Luke 10, it was “the feet of Jesus” and then in John 11: 32, “Mary therefore, when she came where Jesus was, seeing him, fell at his feet”; that is where she was. In chapter 12 all her appreciation is poured out there, the same place.
DJW That is interesting; they were the feet that trod the way from the manger to the cross in order that the will of God might be secured and that our blessing might be ensured.
RDP In chapter 12 we have the expression “where was the dead man Lazarus, whom Jesus raised”. It could have just said, ‘where was Lazarus’; but it is “the dead man”. Chapter 12 is a spiritual view of the company. There is this reminder of “the dead man, Lazarus”. Perhaps where we read in chapter 11 it is more like the organisational side of assembly life, but this is like a spiritual view; “where was the dead man Lazarus”. Everything is proceeding harmoniously together, and the Lord is the object.
DJW It almost seems as if what was natural had been shut out once and for all. He was still a dead man to all that order of things, and he was alive in relation to another order of things where Jesus was the Centre.
DCB Colossians brings in that “ye have died, and your life is hid with the Christ in God”, chap 3: 3. Is that suggested by Lazarus?
DJW I think it is; I have just been thinking of that. This is a Colossian scene; “where the Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God: have your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth; for ye have died”, that is Lazarus, “and your life is hid with the Christ in God”, v 1-3. That was the order of things to which he was now alive. He was dead to one order of things and alive to another. We spoke of Job this morning, and really that was taking away the first that He might establish the second. Mr James Taylor had three day meetings on that in Vancouver (vol 51 p 220-407); “He takes away the first that he may establish the second”, Heb 10: 9. It goes right through the book of Job.
PWB The quantity may well have been gathered in the setting of Luke 10, that is, at His feet; it is a sphere of favour, sitting at His feet. The fragrance was produced by John 11, only that which could be suitable for His burial. That could only be secured by going through the exercise of burial itself and we need both sides. There is the favour; we accumulate substance through privilege and favourable circumstances; but we need the side that you are bringing before us of the discipline and exercise to produce the savour of this ointment that fills the house.
DJW That is what I was thinking. Chapter 12 is the result of the exercises gone into very deeply in chapter 11. My burden is that something of that character should be produced at the present time and the object of it is Christ Himself.
22nd November 2014