‘DEATH HAD TO BOW’

John 11: 43, 44

Luke 23: 39-49

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18

Luke 2: 6, 7

NRC  I thought where we were this morning we got a real deep sense and impression as to the power that the Lord had over death, going into it and then coming out of it in power as well.  I was just affected by that.  We sang hymn 152, which is a comforting hymn:

         Thou, Lord to death’s domain

                  Didst go alone.

         Death had on Thee no claim,

                  Thou sinless One!

         He who had death’s dread power

         Met Thee in that dark hour:

         Vanquished by Thee his power

                  By Thee alone.

         But Thou hast burst the grave,

                     Risen art Thou;

         Death could not Thee enslave,

                  Death had to bow!

Death is a very powerful matter, something we will all have to meet if the Lord does not come before that time.  We see the power of death; we have seen it in recent days and the sorrow it brings; but there is a real sense of comfort in knowing, dear brethren, that the Lord has gone into that place, and He has gone into that place in power, and He has not only gone into it in power but He has been raised in power as well, and He lives for evermore.

         I suggest this that I might receive help, but I thought we got a sense in John 11 as to Lazarus that we see the Lord’s power when He was here as Man on this earth.  There was a sense of power that He had over death as Man here.  In Luke 23, although it does not speak directly of His power, I thought about the way that the malefactor spoke to Him, “Remember me, Lord, when thou comest in thy kingdom”; even at what man thought would have been His weakest point, He was able to say to him, “To-day shall thou be with me in paradise”.  The Lord knew the power that was hin Him.  In Thessalonians there is the power in which He will come again.  It is a great thing for believers to have that hope in our hearts of knowing that the Lord will come again, and He will come again in power.  In Luke 2, I had the impression that He is the all-powerful One and yet the greatness and glorious thought of His manhood is that He came here in a simple form as a Babe, “wrapped … in swaddling-clothes”, and, “there was no room for them in the inn”.  That brings out the glory of His manhood and the perfection of Himself.  But I am suggesting this that I might get help more than anyone here.  I thought we had a good time this morning even though it was just the two brothers present, but we got a sense of His power, did we not?

DHM  Yes, I think that is right. I am really glad you brought this forward because there is something attractive about the way the Lord Jesus dealt with the whole matter of death.  What you have referred to in Lazarus shows He had power there like no other man, but laying down His life and entering into the domain of death is very attractive.  It shows how distinctive He was in His manhood and how powerful He was in that sense as well.  Yet at His incoming we see there was no room for Him, and that was the One who was going to be the Saviour, the One who was going to deal with death.  The fact that He has broken the power of death is something to encourage us.   We have had a lot of sorrow, and have at the moment amongst us, with brethren being taken, and that is the Lord’s will, and we have to accept that, but it is good to know the Lord has been into death and dealt with death in power.

NRC  I got a sense of that this morning, that line that I have quoted:

                  Death had to bow!

I was impressed with the face of the Lord Jesus before death.  What could death do?  It could only bow to Him, the greatness of His being, the greatness of His manhood; everything that encompasses the Lord is seen in power going into death, and men would have seen Him in His weakness there on the tree, but He did not go into death in weakness; He went there in power.  That is a thought to cheer our hearts in relation to the greatness of Christ and the power which He holds.

DHM  Remember that death had no claim on the Lord Jesus!  He entered that area, that domain that men hold in fear and dread and, as you say,

         Death had on Thee no claim

                  Death had to bow!

JTB  The first scripture is very comforting.  It has often been suggested that if He had not said, “Lazarus”, everyone who was dead would have come out, such was His power, but it was selective resurrection, and Lazarus was the subject of this great act of power.  “And the dead came forth …”. 

         What ailed thee, thou sea, that thou fleddest?

             thou Jordan, that thou turnedst back?…

                               Ps 114: 5

The Lord Jesus is “marked out Son of God in power … by resurrection of the dead”, Rom 1: 4.

NRC  He had that power before He even came into this scene.  He was the all-powerful One.  What you have said in terms of marking out Lazarus is good.  It says before that, “They say to him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept”, v 34, 35.  Think of the affection the Lord has for His own!  In some ways He would have had you and me and all of His own in His mind when He went into death, that is the individual aspect of it.  He went in and annulled death in its entirety, but He would have had us all in His mind, would He not?

JTB  You quoted your first hymn this morning.  We had one where the third verse began,

         Borne in thy heart through death’s dark tide

                              (Hymn 347).

We were on His heart; He bore us there.  Death was there in all its awfulness, but we were on His heart, in His affections.

NRC  My impression was that we can take comfort from it.  Death is a very sorrowful thing and it affects us all in different ways, loved ones that have come and gone, but what comfort there is for the believer in knowing that the all-powerful One has gone into that place, and I think what is more wonderful than that is that not only has He gone into it, but He has come out of it as well and He lives for evermore.

DCB  Does the fact that Jesus wept earlier show the effect of death upon His spirit as taking on this?  It was not a simple act of power; it was a matter of His divine feelings in relation to what had come in.

NRC  I think it is good to bring that out; I was thinking that as well.  To the Lord, ‘death was death’ (JND vol 7, p169), was it not?  It was a very real thing.  “His sweat became as great drops of blood”, Luke 22: 44.  There was such a real aspect in relation to the Lord knowing what He would have to go into, but yet it did not deter Him from that either.  Does that not bring out the affection that He had not only for Lazarus but for all of His own, the fact that He knew what He was going into and yet, under the Father’s will, He went that way and He went that way for us all?  I felt this morning after the emblems returned to the table, that we have the response to Him because of that, because He has gone into death and He has come out of it, come out of it triumphantly.  So we were able to respond to Him, would you say? 

DCB  So one of the interesting things here is what the Lord does not do.  He gives it to others to “Loose him and let him go”.  The power is there to raise from the dead and, of course, the Lord has power for all things, but He is bringing the person who is raised into a circle where others will affectionately set him free.  There is something of that which we experience as we come together, and what follows the Supper, that there is a loosing so that we can have our part in a response to the love that has been shown towards us.

NRC  All the children of Israel had to cross over the Jordan, did they not?  So I suppose we all must go through death with Christ, and the other side of that was the land flowing with milk and honey.  There is much to work out, but the result is a desire from divine Persons that there is a response to them, a response because that One has gone into death and come out of it.

DCB  We had the reference at meetings yesterday, ”If ye have died”, Col 2: 20.  We are not asked the question whether we have; we are not told to die or anything like that; but the believer is looked at that in that way: “If ye have died with Christ from the elements of the world”.  It is to affect our life that we have died, that we are presented in that way in scripture.

TWL  I was thinking about this whole matter of the power that Christ had over death.  The power of death was not broken when He came out of it; the power of death was broken when He went into it.  He always had power over death; He always had the glory of God in mind, which was what was seen in the raising of Lazarus, but His power over death was proved when He went into it having power over it.  It was not that it was broken when He came out of it.  Is that right?

NRC  That was my reason for starting off in this particular section: “And having said, this he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth”.  And immediately it says, “And the dead came forth”; so before He even entered into death, power over death itself brought Lazarus forth at the command of the all-powerful One.

TWL  We referred to:

         What ailed thee, thou sea, that thou fleddest?

               thou Jordan, that thou turnedst back? 

The people of Israel went over on dry ground because the ark had gone there before.  Speaking carefully, the saints who are “asleep through Jesus” did not have the same to deal with as the Lord did when He went there; it is important to remember that.  We go over on dry ground.  The way through death has been prepared.  That is His power. 

NRC  The sting of death has been taken away forever, has it not, due to the completed and finished work of Christ?  I think we can take great comfort in knowing that.  For believers who will fall asleep in Jesus before the Lord comes again, the sting of death has been taken away because a glorious Man in power has gone into death and He has annulled it completely.  But for the Lord, ‘death was death’.  He had to go into it and He had to annul its power, but He was victorious over the grave.  That hymn that we sung this morning refers to it:

                  Death had to bow!

THB  Could you say some more about the power of death being done away with when the Lord went into it, rather than in His coming out?  It says in Mark’s gospel that the Lord “uttered a loud cry”, chap 15: 37.  He went into death in power.  In one sense the matter of atonement had been dealt with, but the witness to us is His rising.  I am just asking for help.

TWL  It is important to understand that the Lord was never obedient to death.  He became “obedient even unto death”, Phil 2: 8.  That was, He moved into that position.  At no point in time did death have power over Him in the sense of control.  He went into death.  “I lay down my life that I may take it again  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself”, John 10: 17, 18.  That is what He did going into it; the reference in John 11 is important, and the Psalm bears it out.  It is said that “When the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of Jehovah … rest in the waters of the Jordan” (Josh 3: 13); that is the Lord going into death.  That is when the Jordan left, not when the ark came up out the other side.  It is important to see that; so we go through on dry ground.  For actual death believers may go through it as those who are “asleep through Jesus”, and Christ has gone before.

b  Ephesians 4 helps, “But that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended into the lower parts of the earth?”, v 9.  It was His own act; He went into death Himself.  I like the scripture in Job 38,

         Hast thou entered as far as the springs

             of the sea? and hast thou walked

             in the recesses of the deep?”, v 16. 

The Lord Jesus explored, speaking reverently, covered all death’s domain, and then,

         Have the gates of death been revealed

            unto thee? and hast thou seen the
            gates of the shadow of death?”, v 17. 

He saw the gates but went through them in His own power and His own strength.  It is fine just to absorb our souls and affections in the glory of that.

NRC  I like the verse in Jonah that says,

         The weeds were wrapped about my head. 

         I went down to the bottoms of the mountain”,

                           chap 2: v 5, 6. 

He went there Himself, did He not?

DHM  It is good to see it was the Lord’s own act.  What the world saw was the Lord Jesus nailed to the cross, what men had done to Him, but what we are talking about here is not that.  He went that way Himself.  No other man could deliver up his spirit, lay down his life, like this.  It is the distinctiveness of the work and the perfection of His manhood that we see in that that is so attractive.  We see the two sides, the public side that the world sees, and then this side, almost a private side, something very affecting, just as His resurrection was not for the world; it was for His own.

NRC  That was my thought in relation to Luke 23, especially in relation to one of the malefactors: “Dost thou too not fear God, thou that are under the same judgment? and we indeed justly, for we receive the just recompense of what we have done; but this man has done nothing amiss.  And he said to Jesus, Remember me, Lord, when thou comest in thy kingdom”.  I get the impression that that man saw the power that was there in that Man and he knew that He was coming back again in His kingdom.  How did he know that He was coming back in His kingdom?  I do not know, and it has always been a mystery to me to try and understand that as to how that man knew.  He must have had some impression in relation to it, but the power of Jesus comes forth, and Jesus says to him, “Verily I say to thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in paradise”.  How could a man who is not in power make such a statement?

DHM  Exactly.  It is a very attractive scripture, often used in the gospel, but God had been working with this man; it must have been so.  Again, what the world would see would be criminals being crucified for what they justly deserved to die for, but God had been working with this man so much that he could identify that the Man that was hanging there was different from any other man.  He saw something there that maybe no other man saw, but he saw something because the work of God had begun in his soul.

DCB  It is remarkable that the Lord “cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth”, and then He “cried with a loud voice” on the cross.  The scriptures use exactly the same term, “cried with a loud voice”.  The power, in that sense, was not diminished.  On the other side, He was “crucified in weakness” (2 Cor 13: 4), and again He tasted “death for everything” (Heb 2: 9), suggesting the reality of it to Him.  As you said, to Him ‘death was death’; the tasting of it would suggest what it was as to the bitterness of it, so that bitterness should be removed for the believer.

NRC  That passage we have read in John 11 in relation to Lazarus is very interesting.  I have often thought that you cannot imagine what the Lord must have felt when He saw death coming in with Lazarus, his friend; and yet He commanded him to come out with His voice, knowing that He was about to go into death Himself.  We cannot come fully into the feelings of the Lord, but I read in Luke 2 because I think it emphasises the glory of His manhood, the greatness of Him as Man here in this scene, that not only did He come into the scene as Man, but He died as well as Man, and He tasted death for us all; it was real to Him.

DCB  So what we have at Gethsemane would give us His feelings in the face of knowing He was going to suffer the divine judgment, and also the cup of death.

DHM  That shows that for the Lord Jesus it was a real matter, and He felt it.  He had real feelings in relation to the death of Lazarus, and what you have just said emphasises that.  It was something He felt and felt strongly in relation to.

DCB  We get some thought of His feelings in the psalms, most especially in Psalm 22; what it meant to Him to face that, and the cry, and then the triumph, “Yea, from the horns of the buffaloes hast thou answered me”, v 21.

TWL  Would it be right to think of this in Luke 23, when He cried with a loud voice and said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit”, that it was His power in love and subjection?  It is the energy in which He delivered up His spirit, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit”.  The power of the Lord was not just in power He had over death but over the circumstances that surrounded His committal in relation to the will of His Father.  All of those things involved His power.  Would that be right?

NRC  He had the power to do so; He had the power to lay down His life and He had the power to take it again.  Everything that the Lord did was done in power, but He was seen in grace and mercy as well.  We preach Him as the Saviour Jesus, the One who has gone into death and come out again, so we can take comfort from that, can we not?  It is a wonderful comfort for those who are sorrowing at present to know that there is One that has taken the sting of death away, that He has made that journey possible for us all to go through death and meet Him on the other side. 

TWL  And such is the importance of Luke’s gospel when He says to them, “Handle me and see” - that is the reality of a Man - “for a spirit has not flesh and bones as ye see me having” (chap 24: 39) is the reality of His manhood.  It does not say that in the other gospels, but  it does here: “for a spirit has not flesh and bones as ye see me having”.  When we bury the bodies of the saints, they are not as to their bodies fully in the purposes of God, but we commit their body to the Lord for resurrection’s day.  So we read in 1 Thessalonians,  “the dead in Christ shall rise”, that is, from the place of their burial.  It is not their spirit and their soul; it is the body.  It shall rise. 

NRC  Yes, and it is a wonderful comfort to know.  I always take great comfort when there is a burial meeting in relation to a brother or sister that there is a victory involved in it.  We do not euologise anybody in relation to who they are as a person.  We bring Christ into it because He is the One that has gone into death and He has come out of it so, although sorrowful in many ways, and I know that, it is also a great comfort to know that in death, from a believer’s point of view, there is a victory involved in it.

         These people here were gazing on the Lord.  It says, “And all those who knew him stood afar off, the women also who had followed him from Galilee, beholding these things”.  Before that it says, “And all the crowds who had come together to that sight, having seen the things that took place, returned, beating their breasts”.  What a sorrowful situation, but maybe the work of God would have gone within these persons themselves.

TWL  And I suppose that is another thing to think about too in relation to His power towards the saint who has died.  It says in John in relation to Lazarus, “Lazarus, our friend, is fallen asleep”, chap 11: 11.  That was the reality on the outside.  The reality on the inside for the saints who are gone is that they are “asleep through Jesus”, waiting to hear His voice again to raise them.  That is the power that is there with Him; so they are asleep through Him and they are going to wake through Him; but to the world they have died.  It is fine to think in all of this that His power is great enough so that they are conscious of what it is to be “asleep through Jesus” and “with the Lord”.  That is all part of His power, is it not? 

NRC  And it is a tremendous comfort to think that as well.  I take great comfort in reading this section in Thessalonians, “so also God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus”.  It is a very comforting thing.  It is a very comforting thing to know that someone that you have loved who has gone into death is now “asleep through Jesus”, and will be awakened again; so we can take comfort from that in knowing that those that have fallen asleep will be woken again and be with Him for evermore.

JTB  That is indeed a comfort.  I was thinking of Lazarus, when he came forth he was still bound with the trappings of death, you might say, but when the Lord came out of death,  we have “the linen cloths …and the handkerchief which was upon his head ... folded up in a distinct place by itself” (John 20: 6, 7); that is the aura of power.  Everything was in order when the Lord came out of the grave.  I just thought that when Lazarus came forth from the grave there was a demonstration, the Lord showing that He had exerted His power in bringing Lazarus forth, but, for Himself, He had the power to do it.  So there was something further, and, as his loved ones loosed him, I think every article of these graveclothes they took off would demonstrate too that the One who had brought Lazarus forth was the One who had supreme power over death.  I wondered if that was why the graveclothes were still on Lazarus, but not with the Lord Jesus Himself, for whom the power was absolute.

NRC  So the graveclothes would have been put on, but in resurrection the graveclothes are to be taken off.

JTB  Peter entered the grave of the Lord Jesus, and he saw “the linen cloths lying, and the handkerchief which was upon his head”.  As Mr James Taylor says, some hand had respectfully placed that cloth on the Lord Jesus’s head, but a divine power had taken it away (vol 49 p366).  It was a further exercise of His power that there was no longer a linen cloth on the head of Jesus when He came out of the grave.  Lazarus “came forth, bound feet and hands with graveclothes”, but not the Lord Jesus.  He came out in the supreme demonstration and expression of life.

DHM  Death was a finished matter when the Lord rose.  He had said to death, dealt with it, and there is a dignity attaches to it as well.  Lazarus died; when you come to Stephen, “he fell asleep”, Acts 7: 60.  That is how we view it now for the believer: he fell asleep through Jesus. 

NRC  Although we see the immense power that He had over death in relation to Lazarus, the Lord still had to go into it at that point.  When we come to Stephen, the Lord had been into death and He had been raised again; so Stephen “fell asleep”, but we see here in John 11 the power even before Jesus went into death, the power He had over it.  It is a wonderful blessing to know that those who have fallen asleep in Jesus are safe with Him.

         This scripture in Thessalonians is a real comfort to know.  My impression in relation to this was the power in which He will come again: “for the Lord himself, with an assembling shout, with archangel’s voice and with trump of God, shall descend from heaven; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we, the living who remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall be always with the Lord”.  I think the way that section finishes is very encouraging: “So encourage one another with these words”.  It is a real encouragement to think of that, that there are “those who have fallen asleep”, but we should be encouraged in relation to where they are at present.

DHM  What you have highlighted there again is very important.  We know the God of all encouragement, One who shows compassion.  He is One who sympathises, but more than that He would seek to encourage us.  We may say that at a time of death the world does not see that as any time for encouragement, but the God that we have come to know would seek to encourage us.  The Lord has “borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isa 53: 4), but more than that would seek to encourage us; so this is a great encouragement and a hope for the believer.

NRC  It is a wonderful word to use.  You know yourself what it is like, and what great encouragement there is in knowing that to the believer there is hope.  We live in a world where man strives towards trying to grasp it, but hope is seen in a Man.  It is not in anything in this world or the systems that make up this world.  The hope in a believer’s heart is far greater than anything this world can ever entertain.  It is seen in a Man that has come out of death and is living on high.

JTB  Is it not a great comfort that in 2 Timothy 1, that epistle that really predicates the breakdown of the church, it starts off, “but has been made manifest now by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has annulled death” - what power is in annulling death! - “and brought to light life and incorruptibility by the glad tidings”, chap 1: 10.  What a theme for the glad tidings that death has been, annulled!

NRC  That is very good and encouraging and it goes on, “and brought to light life and incorruptibility by the glad tidings”; so it goes back to hope, the hope in a Man through the glad tidings, the grace and mercy that has been shed abroad to all of our hearts.  Not only has He annulled death, but He has brought us into divine things, and we can experience eternal things now, through the glad tidings; so that was really my thought as to being encouraged and to recognise the power in which we know that Man for ourselves.

DCB  So in 1 Thessalonians 4: 14, “For if we believe that Jesus has died and has risen again”; and everything then flows forward from that.  Is there the suggestion that there is a power demonstrated in the resurrection of Christ?  Now, it is not yet demonstrated as it will be in the rapture, but it is being demonstrated, and we know that power; we have faith in the One who has risen from the dead and therefore we have confidence that everything in the rest of the chapter will take place.

NRC  I was thinking as you were speaking as to that hymn that says,

                  By faith we see

         Jesus with highest honour crowned 

                       (Hymn 20);

So we have to believe.  The Lord Jesus has shed His precious blood, and everything has been made available so that we can come into the gain of these things, which is a test for us: “For if we believe that Jesus has died and has risen again, so also God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus”.  At first we have to come to a realisation in our own hearts that Christ has died for us, and not only has died but has risen again so that we can come into the gain of these things. 

SCL  Do you think then verse 18 ties in with those that removed the graveclothes from Lazarus?  It says Lazarus’s hands and feet were bound and his face bound round with a handkerchief.  Those who removed the graveclothes would give Lazarus a sense of liberty that has been established in the power of the Lord as well as what He has overcome in death.  It is one thing to be conscious that the Lord has saved us from death, but there is an encouragement there as to the liberty that He has established as well, do you think?

NRC  Yes, I do.  There must have been a great encouragement to those who were round about to see Lazarus come forth, but I need help in it, especially in relation to the end of verse 44: “Jesus says to them, Loose him and let him go”.  There was a test there for those who were with Him, Mary and Martha.  It was a big test for Mary and Martha in relation to what the Lord was saying, was it not?

JTB  They doubted, did they not?  “if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11: 21), but the Lord in His ways allowed delay to come to the spot.  Even when He arrived in the vicinity there was almost some discord, was there not?  But then, what a triumph it must have been in their hearts when they found that the brother whom they loved was raised again.  As they unbound them, every article of those graveclothes that they took off must have thrilled their hearts that he was being restored in life, one that had actually been in the tomb for four days, and stinking.  If you had had that experience, speaking soberly, how must you have felt?  It really is quite a thrilling scripture that someone should actually be raised from the grave by the power of this blessed One whom we love and adore, and are grateful to for His all-sufficient sacrifice, that He actually annulled death, went into death.NRC   “So encourage one another with these words”: we cannot come into or even understand the Lord’s timings and how He allows certain things, but we can take encouragement in it, can we not, that His timing is perfect, and it is seen in evidence as you have brought out here?  Mary and Martha perhaps would have preferred that Lazarus did not go into death, and the Lord would have been there sooner, but everything worked out, and in all things Christ’s ways and wonderful actions are perfect in every way.  Does that help?

SCL  I wondered in some ways if it ties into the initial thought of salvation within a person, but then in the breaking of bread there is a sense of movement that is also granted, which has also been established through the Lord’s power and that carries us through a scene marked by death.  But in one sense we are not necessarily affected by that: we are occupied with the Man who is in glory.

NRC  The Supper is something we should take more encouragement from.  We move in a scene which is away from death into a new and living sphere, a sphere which He occupies, and that is a wonderful thing. 

I did not want to say much in relation to Luke’s gospel but I was impressed that we have been occupied with the power of Christ in relation to death, but we have such a different situation here in relation to the incoming of Christ, and I wondered whether it brings out the glory of His manhood.  Not only did He go into death in power; He was raised in power by the Father as well; but He came into the scene to be a Babe wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and there was no room for Him in the inn.  He was laid in a manger, such a small area, and this was the Lord of glory, which magnifies the greatness of Him in Himself, do you think?

DCB  Yes; another of the references in the hymn we began with was to the Lord’s suffering love.  Now, God’s love has been towards mankind from the beginning, and there was demonstration of that in creation, but it required a Man for it to be suffering love, and here He has come in, and the very moment He appears in the scene there is no room for Him.  He is suffering in that way in reproach from the very moment of His entrance to this scene; yet He is able to take things up, as the next few verses show, “a Saviour … who is Christ the Lord”, v 11.  Everything is going to be accomplished in this One who has come in in this suffering, loving pathway.

NRC  He could have come in in power.  He had the right to do so, but He came in in a suffering way.  Is one reason for that that our affections towards Him would be magnified because of that?  If He had come in in power, it would have been for the world to see, but He came in in such a way that the world did not even look upon Him.  There was no room for Him in the inn; so our affections for Him would be greater because of that.  Is that right to say?

DCB  You see the excellence of what does surround that incoming with Mary and with Joseph and with the shepherds.  The world has no room for Him, but there are those who essentially are cast out themselves by the world who find a place where He is cared for.  It is very attractive that He was wrapped in swaddling-clothes.  He came into a scene where He could not do it Himself, not detracting from the fact that He always remained who He was, but He has come into a scene where He was dependent on persons wrapping Him up, and then when it comes to His death, it is the same.  He came to a point where someone has to intervene to care for His body again.

TWL  He came into the scene knowing He was going to die, and had the power to effect what was to be for God.  All of that was is related to His death, and related to His power.  Would that be right?

NRC  What has been said brings out the fact of what we said earlier that to Him ‘death was death’.  There was nothing that was taken away from it.  For the all-powerful One, although He had the power over it, it was still death to Him.  We ended our time this morning with hymn 20; the last lines are:

                  Nought is concealed,

         O God, of all Thy wondrous plan,

         Divine perfection in a Man!

Everything that was brought into this scene in relation to the incoming of the Lord was perfect in every way before God.  He lived a life in complete perfection; He lives now for evermore in perfection as well.

JTB  I commend it to young brethren to read Mr Darby’s remarks that have been referred to, speaking of what the Lord suffered in anticipation of the bearing of sin, and of death, JND vol 7 p169.  ‘And for Him was death.  Man’s utter weakness, Satan’s supreme power’.  That was the power of death anticipated by the Lord Jesus; and he goes on to say ‘without one ray of light even from God’, which refers to the forsaking.  That was included in His sufferings, of course, and death was another aspect of them, but it is very affecting just to think of it all, “For Him, death was death.  Man’s utter weakness, Satan’s extreme power, and God’s just vengeance, and alone, without one sympathy, forsaken of those whom He had cherished, the rest His enemies, Messiah delivered to Gentiles and cast down, the judge washing his hands of condemning innocence, the priests interceding against the guiltless instead of for the guilty - all dark, without one ray of light even from God’.

NRC  At the beginning of John’s gospel it says, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light appears in darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not”, chap 1: 5.  Does that not really just underline how dark death was for Christ?

Edinburgh 

19th February 2023

 

List of initials

(all Edinburgh):

D C Brown; J T Brown; T H Bailey;  N R Cumming; T W Lock; S C Lock;

D H Marshall