Luke 8: 43-48
Luke 19: 1-10
Luke 24: 13-43
Revelation 3: 14-21
I would like to say something as to the personal dealings of the Lord Jesus with His own. It is a very extended subject, but I want to confine myself to these scriptures I have read. There are other aspects that we could take account of. He puts His own to sleep; that is a very blessed matter. When a believer dies, what a comfort it is for the bereaved ones to know that their loved one has been put to sleep by Jesus. Then too the Lord Jesus deals with His own at the rapture for He comes Himself, not leaving it to an angel or to anyone else, but He comes Himself, and the Lord will lead us into glory Himself; no-one else will do that.
I would like to speak firstly from Luke 8. It is perhaps elementary but it is stimulating to see the way that this person has to do with the Lord Jesus, and also how the Lord Jesus has to do with her. The scripture in Luke 8 has a prophetic bearing and I will give you a very brief outline of it. The Lord Jesus meets Legion who is a type of the Jew who has to do with the Lord Jesus and comes into blessing. Then you get the swine rushing down into the lake. They typify the ungodly Jews who are swamped in the nations. There is the rejection of the Lord Jesus, “And all the multitude of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes asked him to depart from them”, v 37. Jairus comes with his exercise and he is concerned as to his daughter who was dying: she is a type of Israel. At that point you get a story within a story. Now scripture does not normally do that. There is something special about this. The Lord Jesus is going to Jairus’s house but Luke does not continue with that; he interjects with this woman who represents our dispensation. Then, just to complete the picture, Jairus’s daughter has died, and that is the situation currently with the nation of Israel. The Lord in His grace goes to the house and raises the daughter, filling out the type of the godly Jews that comes out of the great tribulation. They are brought out, given to eat and are brought into millennial conditions.
This section of scripture that I have read relates to something that is barely mentioned in prophecy - in the Old Testament. We are in a dispensation that is distinct - it is a very blessed dispensation - a dispensation which is in faith, and this woman is a type of a person that operates in faith. She has a condition and has tried everything, but that condition cannot be met by any one except by the Lord Jesus. She comes up behind Him and she touches the hem of His garment. That is tremendous faith. That is an example of faith that this dispensation is marked by. If you have a condition of sin and you realise that you cannot do anything about it, you have tried everything, then you come to the realisation that you have to move in faith and lay hold of this blessed One, the Lord Jesus. So she touches the hem of His garment and immediately she is cured, her condition is met; but the Lord Jesus does not leave it at that. Peter and the others would leave it. They say, “Master, the crowds close thee in and press upon thee, and sayest thou, Who has touched me?”, v 45. This is a very important point. The Lord Jesus says, “Some one has touched me, for I have known that power has gone out from me”, v 46. Now, dear brethren, we need to lay hold of that. Every believer has to do with the Lord Jesus personally. We are not converted en masse. You have to do with the Lord Jesus personally.
The touch is not sufficient. The Lord Jesus says, “Some one has touched me”. Now this woman, “seeing that she was not hid”, came and confessed before all. That is the way of salvation, confessing Jesus as Saviour. We need to have more confessions, persons coming into blessing, and coming out and confessing before all Jesus as Saviour. It is a public matter. This woman, seeing she was not hid, comes out and “falling down before him declared before all the people for what cause she had touched him”. She is acknowledging her condition and how she was immediately healed. So that, dear friend, or young one, tonight if you are affected in your conscience and your desire to touch Jesus, exercise faith and touch Him, and come out in confession immediately: “with the mouth confession made to salvation“, Romans 10: 10. Do not delay, do not wait until the preaching tomorrow; it may be too late. The Lord Jesus may come before that time; He may come ere this meeting closes. Do not leave it! I know what your position is like and many here do. You say to yourself, ’I want to confess His Name, but I will leave it until tomorrow’. Make sure tonight, come out and confess because you get the blessedness of having to do personally with the Lord Jesus.
In 2 Timothy 2 verse 19, “the firm foundation of God stands”; it cannot be moved and it has “this seal, “The Lord knows those that are his”. He knows every one. We do not know them. You take account of every believer, right from Peter’s preaching in Acts 2, to this very moment; the Lord Jesus knows every one. Power has gone out to meet the need. I want us to have a sense of the value of what the Lord Jesus is to the believer, and to endear Him afresh to our hearts. There is nobody like the Lord Jesus; there is no other Person who could meet this woman’s need. Then in 2 Timothy 2 it goes on, “Let every one who names the name of the Lord withdraw from iniquity”. It is inconceivable that a believer who loves the Lord Jesus would continue in that which is not suitable for Him. It includes the youngest believer. We need to be sure as to these things. The Lord Jesus loves you. Included in the last word that He says to Laodicea is, “I love”. You may say, ‘I would not say that about a Laodicean’; He says, “I rebuke and discipline as many as I love”, v 19. I will speak about the overcomer there later. The Lord Jesus started out in the type as the Hebrew bondman (Exodus 21: 5) and he says, “I love”. That characterises the Lord Jesus; how He loved this woman. She is a type of the believer in our dispensation, and He says to her, “Be of good courage, daughter; thy faith has healed thee; go in peace” v 48. Have you had the Lord’s word for you? What a word that is, “go in peace”! What a solace to her soul after all the confusion and trial and tribulation that she had regarding her condition. It is met, and it is not only met, but she is set up; she is going in peace. It is a wonderful thing and it is the Lord Jesus who has done it all.
Now, in Luke 19 Zacchaeus is a very interesting person. We could take this as someone who is perhaps a little further on in their soul. He knew about Jesus. You may know about Jesus. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus “who he was”. He had these desires, dear brethren, and if we have such desires, ask the Lord Jesus and He will always answer them. Dear young ones, if you have desires after the Lord Jesus, follow them up because the Lord Jesus will not let that desire go. He always answers desires after Himself. We are told quite a bit about Zacchaeus. Generally in the gospels we get a person brought on to view and we do not get too much of their background. We get a quite a bit of Zacchaeus’s background: he was rich; he was the chief tax-gatherer; and he was small. You do not see such persons in the world running. You do not see them climbing trees to see Jesus. Zacchaeus is different, something is working in this man’s soul. The rich men in the world, the self-satisfied and self-centred, have no interest in these things. Zacchaeus was chief tax-gatherer; tax-gatherers were despised. These things are all mentioned to set in our minds the way that the Lord Jesus answers desire. You may say Zacchaeus was a bit of an eccentric climbing this tree, but the Lord Jesus in His grace comes up to that tree and He says, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down”. This brings out one of the very beautiful features of Zacchaeus: he was obedient. If you have right desires and you might not be going perhaps in the right way in those desires, the Lord Jesus in His grace will adjust you. More than that He says, “for today I must remain in thy house”. That is beautiful. Zacchaeus’s desire is fully answered, but by far more than he ever expected. Zacchaeus thought he might see Him at a distance, but the desire of Zacchaeus was met by the Lord staying in his house.
When you have someone in your house, you begin to know them; you begin to know their likes and their dislikes. What a wonderful privilege he had with the Lord Jesus remaining in his house. The others, we are not told who they were, “all murmured when they saw it, saying, He has turned into lodge with a sinful man”. Just think of what the Lord Jesus could say to those in the beginning of John when they asked, “where abidest thou? He says to them, Come and see. They went therefore, and saw where he abode; and they abode with him that day”, chap 1: 39. What a sense of being brought into close relation with the Lord! It has been said that you can have as much of the Lord Jesus as you desire. I would appeal to you to lay hold of it. Oh, just see the grace of the Lord Jesus, His own dealings with this man in meeting his desires and bringing him into such wondrous blessing, “salvation is come to this house”. The first scripture we read was the individual; this scripture is in relation to the man’s house. There is progress; our houses are areas where the Lord Jesus should be accustomed to lodging for it is out of our houses that we come to the Lord’s supper. We are coming from one clean place to another clean place because we love the Lord Jesus. Give Him more room; arrange your circumstances to suit Him. It is a very blessed matter; there is piety in that, arranging your circumstances so that God can come into them, and also allowing God to arrange your circumstances. It works both ways.
I go on to Luke 24. The Lord Jesus has very gracious dealings with these two on the way to Emmaus, two believers who were despondent. How easy it is to get despondent! The Lord Jesus in His grace draws near and touches them and sets them back where they should be. We can take account of many persons who are mourning over the tragedies and the disappointments in the testimony; they have stopped breaking bread; they have stopped remembering the Lord Jesus; they are sitting at home, and all the problems and exercises of the testimony are before them. Now these two persons had a tremendous disappointment; all their hopes and aspirations were bound up with the Lord Jesus, but it was in the wrong way. They expected Him to come into His kingdom now. They did not understand that He had to go out by way of death. So you can understand their disappointment. They are drifting away; they are going to Emmaus. Jerusalem at this point was the centre of God’s operations, but they are moving to Emmaus sixty stadia away, about seven miles in our terms. Just think of it, just visualise them, trudging along that road, hearts despondent, feeling very sorry for themselves and the situation they thought they were in, and then Someone draws near to them and He asks them questions. Dear brother or sister, the Lord Jesus will draw near to you. If you are feeling down, He will draw near and He will walk along with you. He will listen to what you say. He gave them a mild rebuke, saying, “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things?“ He does not agree with them, but He listens to them and then He unfolds the scriptures. What an unfolding that was while walking seven miles; that would have taken quite a time with them being downcast. He starts from Genesis and goes through the whole of the Old Testament to Malachi, and He unfolds the scriptures concerning Himself. What an expounding of the scriptures! “Having begun from Moses and from all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself”. He is drawing attention, not to what they thought, but to Himself and how He was going to enter into His glory. There was never a moment like this. Here was the One who was able to unfold the scriptures, the Expositor par excellence; you could not have it better, the expounding of the scriptures with such feeling.
But it did not set them in motion; it burned their hearts; it set their affections right. What put them into motion was His own touch. There are many sitting at home not remembering the Lord Jesus and the Lord feels that. He would draw near to them. Here He takes the housefather‘s place and He gives thanks. It says, “having taken the bread, he blessed, and having broken it, gave it to them. And their eyes were opened“. It says, “how he was made known to them in the breaking of bread“. Now this is not the Supper, make no mistake about it, it is not the Supper. The Lord never sets on independent lines. You find persons drifting away and breaking bread themselves in a house; it is contrary to scripture. They have to return to their company. That is what the Lord Jesus does; He sets them in motion; He directs their attention to the breaking of bread. He stirs their affections whilst speaking to them of Himself, and then He draws attention to the fact that He had to go by way of death. They did not take any notice now of the declining day and the evening coming in. They set off for Jerusalem right away. That is what the Lord Jesus can do. Is He not wonderful? He can draw near to you in every circumstance. These two persons were not going on with a wrong course; they were not ignoring the Lord; but they became despondent, and here the Lord Jesus in His priestly grace draws near and sets them in relation to the Supper.
Now when they come they find that others had that message. He draws near and comes in Himself. Where do you want to be? Be where the Lord Jesus is! He directs them there. If persons are experiencing the Lord’s presence, you need to be there because it is Himself. He says, “it is I myself“. It is not a spirit; it is the Lord Jesus Himself. But then He says, “Have ye anything here to eat?” Now that is important. The Lord Jesus is looking for something from us as a result of our exercises and as a result of gathering together so “they “gave him part of a broiled fish” - the exercise of the fire had taken place, and He partakes of part of a broiled fish - “and of a honeycomb”. That shows the saints working together in order that there is something for the heart of the Lord and He takes it and eats it before them. What a blessed matter that is! It is the personal dealings of the Lord Jesus with His own that brings this about. We need to see that, whatever circumstance we are in, the Lord Jesus will come in and meet our need and help us by drawing attention to Himself. He always draws attention to Himself. Now tonight He is drawing attention to Himself in glory; He is there in final conditions, and the Spirit is here drawing our attention to where He is. It is a very blessed matter so that as we are walking in the light of Christ risen and glorified, we will not become despondent. “Even as he is, we also are in this world”, 1 John 4: 17. It is a wonderful matter that the Lord Jesus operates in such a way to encourage our hearts.
Now finally I just want to touch on Revelation 3. I would rather have read as to Philadelphia but I have been constrained to read as to Laodicea. The public state of things at the end of the dispensation is Laodicean, but the features that mark Laodicea can so easily mark us individually. We have to be very careful; we can go on with a form of things, know all the ministry, know all the answers, but the Lord is not encouraged to come in; He is outside of it. We might say, ‘Well, you will get Laodicean conditions at the end’, and speak of the awfulness of it, how it is nauseous to Him, and write them off, but what does He say? He does not write them off. The time will be when He spues them out of His mouth, when He sits on His own throne, but at the moment the day of grace is running its course and He is always in keeping with that. He says, “I counsel thee”. Oh, the Lord’s word of counsel! It is a word to the individual that he might become an overcomer. Who would listen to the Lord’s word of counsel tonight? He says, “buy of me”. That takes us back to what we had at the very beginning, a personal transaction with the Lord. Each one of us must have these transactions with the Lord. He says, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold purified by fire … and white garments … and eye-salve”. You think of the grace of it, eye-salve to soothe the eyes so that you can see properly, see things clearly. I think it is a reference to the operations of the blessed Spirit, our renewing links with the Spirit so that we may see things clearly, and that we become hot in our affections towards Christ.
Then He says, “I rebuke and discipline as many as I love”. We might have said that the condition of Laodicea is hopeless; there is nothing you can do about it. The Lord Jesus still has persons there, and He says, “I love”; He loves His own. This is a word to His own who are perhaps growing cold in their affections. He says, “I rebuke and discipline as many as I love”. What grace! There is no one, dear brethren, like the Lord Jesus. At this point at the end of the dispensation there is Philadelphia and Laodicea; both will run on to the end. Right up to the very end He is still counselling, but more than that He is knocking. Have you experienced the Lord’s knock? He is knocking in a meeting like this, seeking to arouse you. You remember the one in the Song of Songs who had put off her garment. She could not be bothered to open the door when the lover was knocking, (SofS 5: 3). Do not be like that! Answer that knock! “Behold, I stand at the door and am knocking; if any one hear my voice”. Have you heard His voice? What a voice of love that is! He is seeking entry into your circumstances. He says, “I will come in unto him and sup with him”. The Lord Jesus will come into your own circumstances - nothing is left out - and He will sup with you if you open the door; but then far greater “he with me”. That leads you back to the assembly as having part with Him. He has only one object, the assembly, and if you are going to sup with Him, it is in the line of being brought back into the full joy of assembly relations. You can understand therefore why the Lord in His personal dealings with His own, regardless of how far they may have gone, is still knocking. He is seeking entry, and He is seeking you to come back into the full joy of assembly life - “he with me”. It is only the Lord Jesus who could do that; there is no-one like Him.
I trust that in what I have said that the Lord Jesus has been magnified in each one of our affections. Very soon He is going to sit down on His own throne, and He speaks of it in verse 21 to the overcomer: “He that overcomes, to him will I give to sit with me in my throne; as I also have overcome”. I understand there is only one reference in the gospels to the Lord overcoming and that is in John 16: 33. He speaks there about having tribulations in the world, but we should “be of good courage: I have overcome the world”. The features of the world have come in and are marking Laodicea. We need to be aware of that and be roused out of sleep, becoming overcomers, so that we are brought back into the full enjoyment of assembly life.
May it be so for His Name’s sake!
25th August 2007